Community Access to Archives Project
"At first I wanted to publish my material in a book since I was very concerned about protecting copyright and didn't feel at ease with the Internet for that reason. What brought me around to the idea of the website was the fact that a woman in Perth, Australia, had contacted me about my project on Old Hemsworth - she had once lived in the area - and I was excited by the prospect of making links with similarly-minded people", Audrey Reilly, Hemsworth and District Community Archive Group.
The Community Access to Archives Project (CAAP) was a one-year pilot project that ran from November 2003 to October 2004. It was led and funded by TNA, in partnership with West Yorkshire Archives Service, Hackney Archives Department, Commanet ('the community archives network'), the National Archives of Scotland, the National Council on Archives, the National Library of Wales, and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Building on the experience that our partners in West Yorkshire and Hackney were developing, CAAP investigated best practice in the area of community-archive relations, with a particular emphasis on online community archive projects.
The main outcome of the project has been a flexible Best Practice Model for community archive projects, supported by the CAAP Final Report and a range of accompanying outreach material. CAAP also addressed the issue of the sustainability of community-based projects by investigating potential funding streams for such work.
It is hoped that other local or national archive organisations, or organisations from other heritage sectors, will embrace the Best Practice Model as means of encouraging social inclusion, enabling archives to be taken to new audiences, and empowering potential archive users and archive professionals to work together to identify the resources users require, whether for family, community and local history, for lifelong learning, for educational projects or for other purposes.
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