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Linking to the past: an analysis of community digital heritage initiatives.

Tait, Elizabeth and MacLeod, Marsaili and Beel, David E and Wallace, Claire and Mellish, Chris and Taylor, Stuart (2013) Linking to the past: an analysis of community digital heritage initiatives. Aslib Proceedings, 65 (6). pp. 564-580. ISSN 0001-253X

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Abstract

Purpose Community initiatives to collate and manage different kinds of cultural forms and resources are a popular way for local people to engage with the heritage of their area. These initiatives are often heavily dependent, however, upon short-term funding and long-term efforts of a few dedicated individuals. This paper aims to explore how community digital archives offer scope to widen participation in cultural activities and to investigate the sustainability of these initiatives. Design/methodology/approach A case study approach was taken of Hebridean Connections, which is a community managed, online historical resource. This paper is primarily based on interview data with key stakeholders, all of whom are based in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Findings Participation in Hebridean Connections was reported in positive terms by respondents and many cited that it was a good way to reconnect with diasporic populations and that they believed that this would encourage tourism. It was also reported that the system of linked records added value to the collections as previously undiscovered connections could be made that would not be possible without the electronic resource. Originality/value Few studies have been undertaken examining community digital archives. The multidisciplinary nature of the study also brings together different perspectives on the area of enquiry.

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