The interactive archives: social media and outreach

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Sinclair, Joan Marguerite
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In recent years, archival attention has turned towards the ways in which new digital media can be used to enable greater access to archives. The information in an archives means very little if it is not accessible and used and the use of social media can address the longstanding archival problem: that archives have been difficult to use and thus perceived as inaccessible. By overcoming some of the limitations of traditional outreach, the 2.0 world holds new hope for expanding the number of users and uses of archives and thus increases the value of archives to society. This thesis will address the question of what social media means to archival outreach in three chapters. The first chapter will review the function of outreach in a Canadian context with a review of outreach activities at LAC and the Archives of Manitoba. The second chapter will examine the nature of web 2.0 tools as they apply to archival outreach. The final chapter will present the idea of using social media for outreach, using the Archives of Manitoba as an example institution. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the importance of outreach to the future of archives and a consideration of how social media as outreach tools can help archives remain relevant, accessible and visible to society. It is critical for archives to respond to and embrace this technology shift, which enables greater interaction between archives and their users, or find themselves increasingly marginalized and their role as information providing institutions threatened.
Archives, Outreach