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Community archives in Poland

Magdalena Wiśniewska-Drewniak, Community archives in Poland - multiple case study: description of the research project, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika, Toruń 2016, ss. 18

"Community archives are historical archives (those which preserve their holdings eternally) created on a grass-roots level, commonly organized by foundations and associations, but also by private persons or informal groups. This type of archives significantly differs from other types, especially from state archives. Community archival projects are created “from below”, which means they have no institutional back-up (or at least they had none when they were created). It means that their existence is a result of citizen activity and passion to history and past, an effect of belief that some records or memories are worth preserving, even if state archives do not recognize so. Community archives almost always lack professional archival staff (with only few exceptions). Such archives collect their materials actively, by themselves. They gather mainly photographs and oral histories, but sometimes also traditional, paper records – but those latter are not very popular part of community archives’ holdings. Donors, who pass their materials to community archives are almost only private persons, and just sometimes other community projects or NGOs. What is very important for this study – community archives create their collections by themselves – not also by collecting them, but also by organizing and describing their archival materials in their own way, sometimes carefully planned and thought through, but rarely reflecting professional, scientific way of arrangement and description of archival collections."






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