Archives connecting with the community

ALEFAIO, Opeta (2016) Archives connecting with the community. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session 96 - Asia and Oceania.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Archives connecting with the community

Archives should be about community. The value of archives lies not just in the ordered management of its resources, but especially in the use of those resources by the people. However, there are considerable obstacles undermining efforts to maximise archival use by the public, especially for resource poor archives in the Pacific. Harsh tropical conditions, natural disasters, low societal understanding of the role of archives, inadequate storage facilities, very low funding levels, lack of a career path leading to high staff turnover rates, and unavailability of capacity building opportunities are all issues confronting Pacific archivists and records managers. These concerns can and do force archivists to concentrate their efforts internally, on matters they feel they “can control.” But it is an archives ability to be outward facing, to engage with others which has the greatest potential to allow it to address its ongoing issues over time. If we do not build relationships and hunt for opportunities to demonstrate our value to the community then we will have a difficult time convincing them that we are worth investing in. This paper will examine how the National Archives of Fiji has attempted to utilize engagement to 1) find solutions to long term problems, 2) improve access to information by physically taking archival services to the community, 3) and utilise salvaged media and social media to connect with the community in powerful new ways.

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