Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Web 2.0 for Archives: Archival Wiki and Archives Carnival

I have been thinking lately that archivists (and probably users of archives as well) would benefit a great deal from embracing some of the Internet technologies often classified as "Web 2.0." Web 2.0 is something of a buzzword, but it does point to recent interesting Internet developments such as the rise of social networking websites (Facebook and MySpace; the potential of these remains largely unexplored in my view) and collaborative projects. Probably the best example of Internet collaboration so far is the famous Wikipedia (now has 1.8 million articles in English)

More specifically, I wonder about developing a Wiki for archives and archival uses, that registered users (perhaps limit membership to members of a professional association or have them host it?) could modify and update. In terms of content, this could go a number of ways. Some examples do come to mind. Recently, at SRA, we discovered the meaning of a term (MIP) that was some sort of Latin abbreviation for "woman with no children." As one can imagine, this sort of information is useful when answering family history questions. All kinds of other things could go into an archival wiki; preservation advice, experiments with digitization, and so forth... In fact, there may well be such a Wiki out on the Internet, but I have not been able to find it.

The other idea that I would like to see happen would be an archives carnival. I am most familiar with teaching carnivals and history carnivals, but there is no reason why it could not also be done with archival blogs. If you have are not familiar with this kinds of websites, they are aggregators of blog posts. Often, there is a commentary and a theme linking together a month's blog posts, which I have found to be quite interesting. Compared to university professors though, there are far fewer archival blogs out there, but hopefully this will change with time.

I don't know how many people are reading this, but I certainly invite comments and discussion about how archives might use these technologies. Has anybody out there already experimented with them?


Jeanne said...

You might be interested in exploring the recently launched unofficial wiki for the Chicago SAA conference.

Also, the Carnival of the Infosciences has been known to include archives related posts.

Jeanne of Spellbound Blog

Vincent said...

Recently The dutch archivist Erik van de Ven started a Ning community for digital archivists in Holland and Belgium:
It's mostly in Dutch I'm afraid, but you can always check out his blog (which has English translations):
Just to let you know that there are people out there who are trying to explore the web 2.0 possibilities in an archival context.

Shannon said...

Archivopedia is an archives wiki.

A general list of terms can be found here:

Entries about people can be found here:

Christian said...

@Vincent: Actually my name is Christian van der Ven.. but everything else you're telling them is the truth.. ;-)