Linking to the past: an analysis of community digital heritage initiatives

Elizabeth Tait, Marsaili MacLeod, David Beel, Claire Wallace, Chris Mellish, Stuart Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – Community initiatives to collate and manage different kinds of cultural forms and resources are a popular way for local people to engage with the heritage of their area. These initiatives are often heavily dependent, however, upon short-term funding and long-term efforts of a few dedicated individuals. This paper aims to explore how community digital archives offer scope to widen participation in cultural activities and to investigate the sustainability of these initiatives.Design/methodology/approach – A case study approach was taken of Hebridean Connections, which is a community managed, online historical resource. This paper is primarily based on interview data with key stakeholders, all of whom are based in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.Findings – Participation in Hebridean Connections was reported in positive terms by respondents and many cited that it was a good way to reconnect with diasporic populations and that they believed that this would encourage tourism. It was also reported that the system of linked records added value to the collections as previously undiscovered connections could be made that would not be possible without the electronic resource.Originality/value – Few studies have been undertaken examining community digital archives. The multidisciplinary nature of the study also brings together different perspectives on the area of enquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-580
Number of pages17
JournalASLIB Proceedings
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2013


  • community identity
  • cultural heritage
  • digital archives
  • digital economy
  • qualitative research
  • Scotland
  • semantic linked open data


Dive into the research topics of 'Linking to the past: an analysis of community digital heritage initiatives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this