Participatory Archives: Theory and Practice

Facet. 2019. 240p. ed. by Edward Benoit III & Alexandra Eveleigh. ISBN 9781783303564. pap. $80.99. PRO MEDIA
Although participatory archiving (or the process by which those who aren’t archive professionals take part in archiving) has been occurring for quite some time, the manner in which archival professionals and users engage continually changes and evolves as technologies develop and grow. Benoit (Sch. of Lib. & Information Science, Louisiana State Univ.) and Eveleigh (Wellcome Collection) offer a well-written book that includes both North American and international contributors. “Participatory archives’ future will be determined in dialogue, conversation and engagement,” the editors note. They focus on four aspects of participatory archives (social tagging and commenting, transcription, crowdfunding and outreach, and archivist communities); each section includes a literature review, an analysis of theoretical challenges and benefits, and international case studies. Bibliographies at the end of each chapter and an extensive Notes section are definite pluses.
VERDICT This is a solid work for understanding the past, present, and future of participatory archives. Archivists and MLIS students and their professors will benefit from engaging in conversation about this topic and worthwhile read.

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