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The Geographies of Community Heritage and Digital Archives in Rural Scotland

Beel, David and Wallace, C and Webster, G and Nguyen, H (2015) The Geographies of Community Heritage and Digital Archives in Rural Scotland. Scottish Geographical Journal, 131 (3-4). pp. 201-211. ISSN 0036-9225

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Abstract

The CURIOS (Cultural Repositories and Information Systems) project has been working with community heritage groups to co-produce sustainable solutions for the production of heritage archives in digital form. This process has produced an opportunity for fascinating geographical research into the ways in which community heritage groups produce history from their own perspective. This paper will therefore begin to open up these ongoing processes to consider, through case study examples, the ways in which the production of digital archives alters the geography of community heritage production. A number of community heritage groups have been converting their ‘analogue’ collections into ‘digital’ forms and the paper will argue how this significantly alters the positionality of the archive. This will be shown by detailing the ways in which the processes of collection and preservation, conducted by community volunteers, take place. The paper will then move to consider the ways in which this historical material, representative of place, is presented back to a wider audience. In doing this, it will discuss the rationales and processes involved in these practices and how this relates to broader themes of research within geography. Whether for historical research or for theoretical positioning, geographers have, on a number of levels, engaged with archives. Yet, the digital archive has seen little attention especially in terms of thinking through the ways in which digital mediums alter perceptions of space and place.

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