What is a community archive?
Definition of a community archive used on this site
The definition of ‘community archive’ is the cause of some debate. Broadly speaking, people think of projects as community archives either because:
- The subject-matter of the collection is a community of people. The classic example is a group of people who live in the same location, but there are ‘communities of interest’ as well, such as people who worked in a certain profession.
- The process of creating the collection has involved the community. Typically, this means that volunteers have played a key role, sometimes alongside professional archivists.
The definition of community archive on this website
Community Archives is a contributory site. Anyone can add an archive to our directory, though of course entries are checked before publication. In the spirit of this, we take a broad approach to the definition of ‘community archive’. This means that if an organisation or project thinks it is appropriate to describe itself as a community archive, we’ll normally include it on the site. If this approach starts causing problems, we may have to modify our policy, but for now the door is open.
The only caveat is that to satisfy the requirement of being an archive, the organisation should have a collection of some sort. This collection should include primary source material such as photos, documents, oral histories etc. (rather than just articles or essays about those source materials). The collection could be either physical or digital – or both.
What’s your view?
What do you mean by a community archive? Add your views via the Add a comment link at the bottom of this page.