The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

Community Repositories

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This week the last group presentation surrounds the topic “Community Repositories” the two readings the group have assigned give two examples how community repositories emerge, develop and are maintained.

Local history begins with a community, the community maybe changing and the older generation find they want to preserve the history for themselves and the next generation. Other reasons may include the inhabitants of a particular area has changes due to War or Immigration so that the community that is now there want to preserve what was there. It is these interests along with a collaborations that generate a whole new world or stories.

Every library has a history and holds more pieces of history that one thinks, the connections a library has to government publications, makes it easier for people to allocate different stories about places, people or events. So to use your library as the core information hub one can generate a massive online narrative about a distinctive area.

The reading today cover Newham in London, and has been an area of vast change over the last 150 years. The content in which to generate a story was to incorporate photos, stories, anecdotes, audio, and video. This seems to be a heavy task in tying these many formats into one big storyline. This is where tagging appears, taxonomy as it is properly know has now  developed with the ever ability to “tag” a picture or a document or video, with as you view it your own knowledge. So, if I am watching something from the website that I know of, I can add to it under the heading that the makers have created. It is this open cataloging way that enables people from all over the world to contribute to these histories.

Local history rooms are being transferred into an online format, my local history room in Waterford was always a hot spot, even as a kid I remember going into the small room and reading the old newspapers and looking at the old books, it was a rare and wonderful thing, the smell of musty old books and the big oak desk and large chairs was for me growing up another world to immerse myself into. Now the library has changed, that room is now a big open space with a few old books locked away for preservation, the microfilm for the newspapers is still in demand, however the librarian that runs the service has a lot of genealogy question come her way, she does use the online service like but she will most of the time use her indexes to map the area or street where this person lived. I was so amazed at what I learned, I also took part in a project while I was doing my internship on a local historian, here I documented all the newspapers clipping he had about a particular part of Waterford. It was a wonderful experience, and a potential one to put online. But if this was undertaken would that mean that the librarian who loves this local studies room be no longer needed. Will it be a case of people searching for stories long ago with the aid of a piece of software? Where is the fun in that! I will keep my local studies room thank you!


Author: siobhanmac

Loves Libraries, Books, and Sunshine!

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