ARCOMEM: From Collect-All Archives to Community Memories – Leveraging the Wisdom of the Crowds for Intelligent Preservation


Arcomem is about memory institutions like archives, museums, and libraries in the age of the Social Web. Memory institutions are more important now than ever: as we face greater economic and environmental challenges we need our understanding of the past to help us navigate to a sustainable future. This is a core function of democracies, but this function faces stiff new challenges in face of the Social Web, and of the radical changes in information creation, communication and citizen involvement that currently characterise our information society (e.g., there are now more social network hits than Google searches). Social media are becoming more and more pervasive in all areas of life. In the UK, for example, it is now not unknown for a government minister to answer a parliamentary question using Twitter, and this material is both ephemeral and highly contextualised, making it increasingly difficult for a political archivist to decide what to preserve.

This new world challenges the relevance and power of our memory institutions. To answer these challenges, Arcomem’s aim is to:

To do this we will provide innovative tools for archivists to help exploit the new media and make our organisational memories richer and more relevant. We will do this in three ways:

  1. we will show how social media can help archivists select material for inclusion, providing content appraisal via the social web
  2. we will show how social media mining can enrich archives, moving towards structured preservation around semantic categories
  3. we will look at social, community and user-based archive creation methods


The Arcomem project (2011–2013) is sponsored by the European Union, within the 7th framework programme on digital libraries and digital presevation.


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