The Future of Archives is Participatory: Archives as Platform, or A New Mission for Archives

Dominique Daniel's picture

Kate Theimer recently gave a talk about the changing mission of archives in an age of information abundance and of changing scholarly and public needs.

"I think we need to look beyond things like documenting society or collecting evidence, which are certainly good goals in themselves. But ...I think those are more passive goals. Why do we document society or collect evidence?

The new mission I propose for archives is that: Archives add value to people’s lives by increasing their understanding and appreciation of the past.

This mission is active, not passive, and most importantly, puts people, not materials, at the center....

Just as libraries in the U.S. have succeeded in becoming 'community problem solvers,' archives must become a natural place people go when the want to interact with history, create something, or even have some fun."

Source: Archives Next (April 4, 2014),