We have become familiar with participatory culture through social networking sites like Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, which allow anyone with internet access to connect to communities and publish personal content ranging from short Twitter updates to albums full of photographs.
While archives generally work behind the scenes organizing and preserving historical documents, records, and photographs for future generations, the hippest archives are seeking to embrace participatory culture to create social archives which include anyone with an interest in helping to collect and preserve history.
We are excited to invite you to share your story, create communities that interest you, upload images, and curate your own collections with content from DPL's Digital Collections mixed with your own.
The Denver Public Library’s mission is to connect people with information, ideas and experiences to provide enjoyment, enrich lives and strengthen our community.
The Creating Your Community project was developed to engage the community to share and connect with their history in new ways using technology, partnerships and outreach programming. It is important now more than ever to capture the stories and images that have shaped our Western heritage and safeguard our history for future generations.
In 2008, the Denver Public Library was awarded a National Leadership grant by the Institute of Library and Museum Services (IMLS) for the project Creating Communities: Digitizing Denver’s Historic Neighborhoods. DPL gathered information on Denver neighborhoods from official records of the City and County of Denver and a wide variety of partner institutions. These materials were digitized and brought together in a centralized digital repository. By creating the unique partnership of the public library, municipal government, educational institutions and historical societies, this project demonstrated how these diverse groups could create a rich historical information database that is easily accessible by the community.
In 2010, DPL received funding from the IMLS to expand the first project into a participatory archive. Creating Your Community: Empowering Individuals and Safeguarding Communal Heritage Through Digital Community Archiving (CYC) builds on the Creating Communities concept by expanding the partner base to the greater Denver metropolitan area. The intended model is based on the concept of Participatory Archives, which enable users to share and connect with their history.
As a showcase of community generated materials, CYC provides an exciting new venue for content. With audience participation and contributions, relinquishing top down control will democratize the content the users and the community contribute. Rather than the partners being the main content providers, the community at large will be the content experts.