Sustaining Community Archives
All over New Zealand there are collections of archives, representing the recorded memory of their communities. They play an important role in our heritage and cultural well-being but the quality of care they receive and their accessibility vary greatly, giving rise to concerns about the longevity of some. This research investigates the factors required for maintenance of community archives over the long-term and assesses how well a selection of New Zealand Archives display these factors. A methodological framework for assessing likely sustainability of Community Archives was developed, based on requirements for managing community (or local history) archives documented by United States archivists. Four different Community Archives in New Zealand were then studied and the findings compared. Results show that many of the factors required for maintenance are inter-related and inter-dependent but that, above all, organisational factors have a significant impact on the maintenance of the archival records and the evidential value they contain. Different organisational structures and governance characteristics, and their consequent impact on other factors, indicate that, by addressing these aspects of Community Archives, their sustainability could be greatly enhanced. The study could, therefore, provide guidance for archivists and policy makers in future decision-making relating to Community Archives.