Conference Proceeding: Using Community-Based Archives for Diversifying the Historical Record

Many of the material that document the lives of Jewish communities in the US and abroad are not found in academic libraries or mainstream archival repositories, but in community, synagogue and personal archives. These community-based archives have often little to no inventories or finding aids and are curated with severely restricted budgets and staff. The result is that they remain invisible and their full potential is not taken advantage of. Simple steps, both analogue as well as digital, can aid Jewish community-based archives increase their visibility, diversify the historical record, and enhance programming, education, outreach and fundraising. In this workshop, we will explore practical ways to showcase and use your institution’s or community’s archival collections. The workshop will consist of two parts:

A. Archival outreach and digital tools
Learn of various methods to promote and facilitate the use of your community archival collections. You will also learn of digital tools, available for free or low cost, that can help you use collections in different ways. Such tools can vary in complexity from ones that require no or very little technical skills to more advanced digital sophistication.

B. Build your own exhibit
Do you want to start showing your institution’s collection online? Participants will be introduced to Omeka, a free tool that allows individuals and institutions to put in place a content management system for their collections, build different exhibits and display them on the web. You will have the chance to try out the tool and build a small exhibit. Requirements: Wi-fi enabled laptop. Bring your own digitized items or use the ones provided. Feel free to contact the workshop instructor for any clarifications (

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