In the main group, I recently posted the announcement for the conference Computers in Libraries 2008. One of the themes to be covered is taking advantage of user-generated content. Together, with the whole notion of Web & Library 2.0, it suggests much closer cooperation between archives and their users.

Specifically, it suggests that some of the work we do can be done by users. Perhaps an extreme example is interns: In my division where I work, unprocessed collections are not allowed to be handled by the public. A user approached me about using one such collection, and I suggested that if he had the time, he could process it. Being a doctoral student, he took up my gauntlet and now has almost finished processing the collection: a win-win situation for us, and him.

On a more local basis, we've had processed collections where users were so "obsessed" with the contents that they created more detailed finding aids than what we had available. After asking permission, we have been able to incorporate their finding aids into ours.

I'm wondering if anyone else has thoughts or experiences to share concerning harnessing the potential energy of users.

I'd love to hear if anyone has any ideas, stories, or opinions they'd like to share concerning the possibility of using user-generated content.

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I have an interesting viewpoint on this.

I have been researching for a short book for a while now. The topic is a U.S. Army officer from before the Civil War. I located some of his papers in the LSU special collections. I had to do a DACS compatible finding aid and mark it up in EAD for a course assignment. I got the old finding aid of this collection at LSU and changed it dramatically, based on the fact that I am the only researcher I know of on this person and probably know more about him than any person alive since his children or grandchildren. It was a pleasure to add to it, but it was only an academic project. Without having published the book yet, I cannot "prove" I am an expert on this guy. But it is interesting to note that the finding aid biography expanded from two paragraphs to over twenty because of my editing.

Just a fast response to your query.

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