Archival Science

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 15–36 | Cite as

Participatory archive: towards decentralised curation, radical user orientation, and broader contextualisation of records management

  • Isto HuvilaEmail author
Original Paper


User perspective and user studies have received noticeably little practical attention in archives and archival science. The purpose of this article is to address the issues of communication and user participation in archival contexts. Two action research projects-based digital archives are discussed. The insights gained during the research and development work are used to formulate a new approach to a participatory archive. In spite of the historical nature of the archives discussed, the suggested ways of interacting with an archive are not specific to historical records. The fundamental characteristics of the proposed approach are decentralised curation, radical user orientation, and contextualisation of both records and the entire archival process.


Digital archives Participatory archives User studies User orientation Wikis 



The author would like to thank Terhi Kivistö and Dr. Kari Uotila for cooperation and two anonymous reviewers for their invaluable comments on the earlier version of this paper. The study was financed by the Kone Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information StudiesÅbo Akademi UniversityÅboFinland
  2. 2.Department of Cultural SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden

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