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Participatory Heritage



The internet as a platform for facilitating human organization without the need for organizations has, through social media, created new challenges for cultural heritage institutions. Challenges include but are not limited to: how to manage copyright, ownership, orphan works, open data access to heritage representations and artefacts, crowdsourcing, cultural heritage amateurs, information as a commodity or information as public domain, sustainable preservation, attitudes towards openness and much more.

Participatory Heritage uses a selection of international case studies to explore these issues and demonstrates that in order for personal and community-based documentation and artefacts to be preserved and included in social and collective histories, individuals and community groups need the technical and knowledge infrastructures of support that formal cultural institutions can provide. In other words, both groups need each other.

Divided into three core sections, this book explores:

  • Participants in the preservation of cultural heritage; exploring heritage institutions and organizations, community archives and group
  • Challenges; including discussion of giving voices to communities, social inequality, digital archives, data and online sharing
  • Solutions; discussing open access and APIs, digital postcards, the case for collaboration, digital storytelling and co-designing heritage practice.

Readership: This book will be useful reading for individuals working in cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, archives and historical societies. It will also be of interest to students taking library, archive and cultural heritage courses.

List of figures and tables


Introduction: what is participatory heritage

PART 1: Participants

1. A communal rock: sustaining a community archives in Flat Rock, Georgia – JoyEllen Freeman

2. The Bethel AME Church Archive: partners and participants - Andrea Copeland

3. Creating an authentic learning environment for school children: a case study of digital storytelling programs at the Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum - Janis Hanley

4. Viking re-enactment - Lars Konzack

5. Learning, loving and living at the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame - Sarah Baker

6. The contributions of family and local historians to British history online - Mia Ridge

7. Forgotten history on Wikipedia - Henriette Roued-Cunliffe

PART 2: Challenges

8. Custodianship and online sharing in Australian community archives - Courtney Ruge, Tom Denison, Steve Wright, Graham Willett, Joanne Evans

9. Who is the expert in participatory culture? - Lýsa Westberg Gabriel and Thessa Jensen

10. Social inequalities in the shaping of cultural heritage infrastructure - Noah Lenstra

11. No Gun Ri Digital Archive: challenges in archiving memory for a historically marginalized incident - Donghee Sinn

12. Giving voice to the community: digitizing Jeffco oral histories - Krystyna K. Matusiak, Padma Polepeddi, Allison Tyler, Catherine Newton and Julianne Rist

13. Issues with archiving community data - Lydia Spotts and Andrea Copeland

PART 3: Solutions

14. Ethiopian stories in an English landscape - Shawn Sobers

15. Having a lovely time: localized crowdsourcing to create a 1930s street view of Bristol from a digitized postcard collection - Nicholas Nourse, Peter Insole and Julian Warren

16. Digital ARChiving in Canadian Artist-Run Centres - Shannon Lucky

17. New approaches to the community recording and preservation of burial space - Gareth Beale, Nicole Smith and St Mary the Virgin Embsay with Eastby Churchyard survey team

18. A case for collaboration: solving practical problems in cultural heritage digitization projects - Craig Harkema and Joel Salt

19. Open heritage data and APIs - Henriette Roued-Cunliffe

Further Reading


Henriette Roued-Cunliffe DPhil is an Assistant Professor at the Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She teaches and researches heritage data and information, and in particular how DIY culture is engaging with cultural heritage online and often outside of institutions. Her website is:
Andrea Copeland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Indianapolis. Her research focus is public libraries and their relationship with communities, with a current emphasis on connecting the cultural outputs of individuals and community groups to a sustainable preservation infrastructure.

This is a book of interesting and useful lessons learned, where readers can benefit from what the authors suggest they could have done differently ...a valuable addition to the literature, and I hope it is widely used.

Information Management Magazine

As this highly selective summary demonstrates, there is much in this volume for readers with a variety of interests, although not every case study will be of relevance to all...Nonetheless, there is real value in reading the studies as a whole. It will be thought-provoking for most readers, whether around the boundaries of our professional self-definition, the need to listen to communities in developing our work with them, or our understanding of linkages across the spectrum of what may be defined as heritage practice.

Archives and Records (The National Archives)

If you work in a college or university library and have ever tried to partner with a community group or heritage organization or are contemplating doing same, you will probably be well served by looking into this slim volume.

College & Research Libraries (New York Historical Society Museum and Library)

'In Participatory Heritage, editors Henriette Roued-Cunliffe and Andrea Copeland have created a valuable resource for archivists and other cultural heritage professionals navigating the treacherous intersection between the institutionalized repository and the eager and well-intentioned amateurs gathering and disseminating focused historical content via storefronts, websites, or social media.'- Brady M. Banta, Archivist, Dean B. Ellis Library, Associate Director, Heritage Studies PhD Program, Arkansas State University, Archival Issues

Archival Issues

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