RoPA, the Roadmap for Participatory Archiving, guides libraries and cultural organizations through the process of collaborating with community members to plan engaging and inclusive participatory archiving events and to create digital collections.
RoPA is aimed at libraries of all kinds and sizes, offering a series of modules covering the important aspects of planning a participatory archiving event including community partnerships and outreach, event logistics, metadata and archival description, and the preservation of digital materials.
It is designed to be an accessible and adaptable resource to lead specialized professionals and novice volunteers through all of the steps involved. While some users might already have experience with certain aspects of the work, they might need help with other dimensions. RoPA is organized by module to allow users to find the guidance they need and connect that guidance to their own expertise and knowledge base toward the goal of producing engaging community events and building unique archival collections.
RoPA is inspired by the success of the Mass. Memories Road Show, a statewide, event-based participatory archiving program that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. Archivists and public historians in the University Archives and Special Collections department at Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collaborate with local planning teams and volunteers to organize free public events where individuals bring photographs to be copied and included in a digital archive at openarchives.umb.edu. Since its launch in 2004, the Mass. Memories Road Show has digitized more than 12,000 photographs and stories from across the state, creating an educational resource of primary sources for future generations. While the program is limited to Massachusetts, the call to hold participatory archiving events came from across the country. RoPA is an answer to those calls and requests.