Community members often face a tension between preserving their archival items and not wanting to give the items to an archival institution. As digital technology has become more accessible, archival practitioners have promoted “history harvests” or “community scan days” as opportunities for archives and libraries to preserve digital copies of historical items while community members retain their original copies.
Download this worksheet to use as a template or a printable document:
What is a history harvest?
History harvests, in which members of the public bring in, scan, and describe their historical materials, help community history projects to:
- provide a back-up version of a historical record if something happens to the original
- give community members an opportunity to share their stories through their artifacts
- build trust with community members when archival practitioners aren’t asking to keep materials but instead to make a copy
During and after a history harvest event, practitioners need to apply careful description and digital file management techniques to ensure that the new files are appropriately named and preserved.
Use the above worksheet to help participants at your history harvest event share information about the historical items they are bringing from home to have digitized.