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Za Ĩloveka gre 2021 / All about people 2021

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The Role of Archival Institutions During Troubled Times: The Case of Covid-19

This article studies the reaction of archival institutions during times of uncertainty. Do these phases inspire archives to transform themselves into active participants for social change, or they often end up as passive observers? The method used for this preliminary analysis builds around the initial literature about the topic and organisational observation. The paper focuses on Covid-19 and its impacts on archival institutions. Indications are that archival institutions reacted and are reacting differently during the pandemic. In some cases the archives took a break from the uninterrupted contact with the public to utilise the time and resources for the much needed housekeeping and stocktaking. Other archival institutions took the opportunity to interact more with the public and tap into new audiences. These new approaches of reaching out are very much dependent on technology. One can say that most institutions had to force themselves towards better use of technology to interact with the outer world. This might have presented a golden opportunity for archives. When compared with the other role players in in the information domain such as libraries and museums, archives might have been less competitive when it comes to the digital spaces they occupy. This research is still at a preliminary stage as the pandemic is still ongoing, but can pave the way to more in-depth analysis of the changing underlying attitudes and perspectives.

Charles Farrugia
Department of Library, Information and Archive Sciences, Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences, University of Malta


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