n.a member of the general public who aids an archival organization by performing functions such as descriptionFerriero 2010Similar to how many scientific functions are not appropriate activities for citizen scientists, many of our traditional archival roles may not be appropriate for citizen archivists. We will work to find suitable opportunities for public projects that will add value to our work. In addition to helping us accomplish sizable tasks, engaging the public as citizen archivists can also help us achieve important public education goals. Through citizen archivist projects, we can increase public knowledge of our work as well as inspire future generations of archivists.Zastrow and Mosher 2010, 122Another awareness is the trend toward a less formal, more fluid definition of what an archivist is, how one enters the field, and what the job entails. The phrase “citizen archivist” may make some cringe, but more involvement by non-professionals in “our” field is a reality of the twenty-first century.Gilliland 2014a, 143While the contributions to archival description of social tagging receive wide attention, other forms of digital contributions to archives by the public have also developed. Examples include “citizen archivists,” who work directly with archival description organizations or on their own using social media to contribute new content, digital transcriptions of nondigital records, and commentary on items found in the archives; citizen digitizers who voluntarily assist with mass digitization efforts in archives; and initiatives such as StoryCorps that recruit members of the public to digitally record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives.Cox 2015, 8Much of the emphasis on education will be on equipping citizen archivists and digital curators, who will assume responsibility for the maintenance of their own digital personal and family records. . . . This will not be isolated to preparing individuals to be volunteers in archival and cultural repositories, as the term “citizen archivist” has sometimes been used, but will stress the maintenance of digitally born records that will most likely not come into established archives but instead into trusted digital or virtual repositories that may not be run by archivist or their descendants.Poole 2015, 407Possibilities for future research on historians, archivists, and information-seeking include digital history, personal archiving, Web 2.0, democratization and public history, crowdsourcing and citizen archivists, digital curation, activism and social justice, diversity and demographics, and education and training. These overlapping issues will profoundly affect both the writing of history in the future and the trajectory of the historical and archival professions.Cunningham 2019, 658Technological disruption is radically transforming most, if not all, professions, including the archival profession. Witness such phenomena as artificial intelligence, the gig economy, and the explosion in and democratization of the means, volume, and speed of information creation, transmission, storage, and use. Already, machines or technologically empowered citizen archivists are carrying out much of what we used to regard as our bread-and-butter work.
Citizen archivists may have specialized topical knowledge in a particular area, and their work can often be done outside an archival repository through the use of technology.