Posted by Elizabeth Knight, Consulting Archivist

This week, I have some questions to be pondered.

  • What do you think of the idea of your archives as a primary research lab? A place where undergraduates use primary source materials for original research, emeritus faculty work with the students and librarians collaborate with faculty on assignment development? Academic libraries have made great strides in becoming more user-oriented and now archives are doing the same.
  • Or how about a From the Archives column in your school newspaper which features a reprint of an article from that newspaper 25, 50 or 75 years ago?
  • Wouldn’t it be great to have a GPS-driven photo/caption tour of your campus for mobile devices?
  • Shouldn’t students play a greater role in documenting recent history and building the archives?
  • Why not provide alumni opportunities (reunions, alumni chapter events, remotely) to identify people in older photographs?
  • Would your archives like to host a photo contest? Your institution’s whole community could pick the winners, which of course, would become part of the archives.

I would love you hear your ideas for re-thinking today’s academic archives. The potential is there and the possibilities are endless. I can’t even begin to imagine the ideas our students could come up with.