Poole, A. H. (2020). The information work of community archives: a systematic literature review. Journal of Documentation, 76(3), 657–687. https://doi-org.esearch.ut.edu/10.1108/JD-07-2019-0140
Purpose: This paper scrutinizes the scholarship on community archives' information work. Community archives and archiving projects represent unprecedentedly democratic venues for information work centering on essential documentary concepts such as custody, collection development and appraisal, processing, arrangement and description, organization, representation and naming, collaboration, resource generation and allocation, activism and social justice, preservation, reuse, and sustainability. Design/methodology/approach: Unearthed through databases searches, citation chaining, and browsing, sources examined include peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and book chapters published in the English language between 1985 and 2018. Findings: The literature on community archives' information work shows considerable geographical (six continents), topical, and (inter)disciplinary variety. This paper first explores scholars' efforts to define both community and community archives. Second, it unpacks the ways in which community archives include new stakeholders and new record types and formats even as they leverage alternative archival principles and practices. Third, it discusses community archives as political venues for empowerment, activism, and social justice work. Fourth, this paper delves into the benefits and challenges of partnerships and collaborations with mainstream institutions. Fifth, it documents the obstacles community archives face: not only tensions within and among communities, but also sustainability concerns. Finally, it sets forth six directions for future research. Originality/value: This paper is the first systematic review of the community archives literature.