Archives and Manuscripts Week 10

This week for class we discussed the roles of outreach and advocacy in archives. First it is important to understand what those two terms mean and how they apply to archives. Outreach is education and research based and attempts to provide a service to the community; advocacy, on the other hand, engages with the public to gain support usually in the terms of funds. Timothy Ericson stressed in his article that outreach must be part of an archivist’s daily work and not just a bunch of separate short-term activities. This is important because outreach is often seen as a secondary importance to the preservation side of archives but without it, the public will not know of and use the archives. Thus, outreach must be a central part of the archivist’s job in order to ensure the use of the collections and its relevance to the public. The class discussion reflected Ericson’s argument and added that in order for outreach to be effective, an archive needs to have a clear mission statement and strategic plan in order to identify which groups the archive serves and how to best reach them. Indeed, in the modern tech-based age, many archives are relying on social media to try to reach the public; however, they need to make sure the content is reaching a wider audience in order to make the investment worthwhile. Thus archivists need to be always aware of their role in outreach to the public and need to ensure that it reaches the targeted groups in an effective and meaningful way. Indeed, outreach serves as an improtant tool in the archivist’s resposnibility to collect, preseve, and share because without the public to use the material, the archives is not fulfulling its fucntion.

 

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