arHive; The collective archive.

About this idea

This project will make archive and library collections more accessible to students, researchers and the wider public. To achieve this we will produce an app, called arHive: the collective archive. This mobile and tablet app will help users take standardised high quality scans of documents. Using camera technology compatible with modern smart phones, this app will allow users to take high quality editable and enlargeable research images for future study. This practise of photo taking, is already occurring all over the UK, and the rest of the world, in libraries and archives. This app is designed, firstly, to support this process and, secondly, to tie this wealth of digital content directly to the institutions online presence. Scans are automatically uploaded to a cloud based content sharing platform. This crowdsources digitising the collections, allowing users to search and share pages and books. arHive is designed to provide feedback to the institution, giving vital metrics and real-time meta-data to the institution to inform their further projects. Institutions would be consulted as to copyright issues, as they would on general digitising projects. Not only will perfect scanned pages be available to the user and to all, they will be paginated, catalogued and taggable following industry standard archive and library systems. This creates a cross referenced taxonomic and folksonomic search system.

The cloud system will provide a built-in knowledge sharing platform, where students, researchers, academics and non-traditional library users can share information. They can enter into dialogues, question, contribute and build layers of interpretation. Alongside and on top of the scans these annotations can be entered privately with comments toggled on or off, but also publically to encourage the sharing of ideas and information, all tied to the document. Successful cultural heritage crowdsourcing projects require a sense of shared ownership and pride. To achieve this arHive will require user ID and a collaborative user rating system. The openness, the ease of access, the emphasis on shared community knowledge and shared interests, can create a space where users can contribute their research photographs to a living library. This creates not just a library of digitised documents but the work and thoughts of the people behind them; a collective archive.