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User Participation and Collaborative Creativity

Alexandra Eveleigh, University College London

My research looks at the impact of user participation and ‘collaborative creativity’ upon archival theory and practice, with a particular focus on users’ involvement in archival description and metadata creation/reuse. It is funded by a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council collaborative doctoral award, the partners being University College London and The National Archives.

My working research questions are:

  • Is user participation an evolution or revolution in archival practice & professionalism?
  • What contexts and circumstances encourage and motivate users to participate in archival description?
  • What impact do participatory methodologies have upon (a) the archive service (b) existing users (c) new users and broader society?

The objectives are essentially to distinguish between what works and what doesn’t, and why: to explore some of the realities behind the claims made regarding experts, crowds and volunteer communities, and seek to understand what moves to allow a multiplicity of voices to supplement or even supplant the authoritative professional voice might mean for notions of archival value and traditional communities of archive users.

If you have questions or comments on this talk, feel free to leave them below.

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