n.activities and programs that promote use of archives, archival resources, and archival collectionsWilliams et al. 1977, 338Unlike the archival research center, which provides archival materials for scholarly research, the historical society uses local archives and records in a variety of concentrated outreach programs. Its collecting and conservation activities are balanced by equal commitments to research the collections and to impart knowledge of the community to the community through the intelligent use of the collections in the preparation of exhibitions, publications, lectures, tours, historical dramas, and other educational undertakings.Pederson 1978, 155By very broadly defining the term “outreach” to encompass all activities and programs promoting a greater awareness or use of archives, the committee hoped to challenge traditional thinking on the subject. An open-ended definition might lead archivists to look more closely at their own programs to rediscover those activities that serve to increase client awareness and appreciation of the work and collections of the archives.Ericson 1982, 160The key will be the individual center’s outreach—its ability to reach out into the community and promote use, provide information and develop an awareness of the importance of historical preservation.Tselos 1982, 35Defining outreach policies and priorities may be best understood when placed in the context of the possible goals and approaches of outreach programs. An archive may use outreach activities to disseminate information about its holdings to traditional user groups in order to increase user statistics, which are usually a key component of budget justifications. Or an archive may broaden the entire concept of the educational use of documents and of the community of users by taking materials from its stacks and placing them on public display in various ways.Dowler 1988, 80Outreach. The Committee on Goals and Priorities’s report states not only that “the use of archival records is the ultimate purpose” of the identification and administration of records of enduring value (goals I and II), but that “promoting use of these materials is a fundamental goal of the archival community.” Thus, according to CGAP and most other commentators, the justification for outreach is the very practical need for archivists to gain support for archival programs.Maher 1992, 315Beyond the essential step of adopting a positive attitude toward use, academic archivists also need to initiate contacts with, or reach out to, the many publics in the world outside the archives. The educational and promotional activities pursued to fulfill this key responsibility have been commonly grouped under the heading of outreach.Dearstyne 1993, 71Outreach—promoting use of these materials—is a fundamental goal of the archival community.Nicholls 2001, 63The working definition of outreach used during the research stated that: outreach activity is any activity that promotes the use and/or mission of the archive program to its wider community.Bourgoin 2004, 65Outreach activities such as public programs, exhibitions, and Web sites are all important ways to introduce audiences to the research topics, unique materials, and historical information available in an archives.Theimer 2014, viiThe term “outreach” can describe a broad range of activities. For me, it means carrying out activities designed to inform potential users about a repository’s collections and attract their interest in learning more about those collections.activities and programs that educate about and advocate for archives and archivistsGracy 1985, 17To increase our service to society, indeed, just to maintain it—just to survive in the highly competitive, fast-changing world of our times—we spend increasing portions of our day reminding our various publics how archival endeavor contributes to their lives. Promotion / marketing / outreach—call it what you will—this now is as essential an activity of archival enterprise as gathering, appraising, and so on through the litany, ever were. In an increasingly complex and financially uncertain world, we must continually sell our service. Without promotion / marketing / outreach, we jeopardize our existence, our opportunity to do those uniquely archival activities that alone used to constitute “archival work.”Grabowski 1992, 465By outreach we mean the matter of educating the public, and those whom we choose to call “resource allocators,” about the purpose and importance of what we, the custodians of Clio, do for a living.McDowall 1993, 355I would therefore heartily endorse efforts on the part of archivists to engage in outreach programs within their organizations. Archivists must learn to educate their clients to the value of their services.Chute 2000, 34Outreach can do many things. It can increase support for other archival needs, it can explain the need for the archives, and it can show the archivist how his or her program is perceived by the rest of the institution.Dingwall 2004, 20Education and outreach are activities that archivists must perform to increase public awareness about archives.Jimerson 2005a, 64It is time for a renewed focus on these concerns, in order to educate the public about the importance and power embedded in archival records. We need to renew our efforts at public outreach and increasing public understanding of archives and what we do.Haws 2011, 186Making the institutional archive relevant within the organization is an ongoing, daily task of outreach and advocacy.Roussain 2020, 102As “outreach initiatives” (read: education about what we do and why it matters) become increasingly common in archivists’ job descriptions, we need the skills necessary.
Outreach takes on many forms and has many terms and phrases associated with it: educational programming, public relations, marketing, publicity, promotion. At times it is equated with advocacy, but as noted by Kathleen Roe, “Not all outreach activities are specifically directed to accomplishing awareness or advocacy goals. Yet each provides an opportunity to incorporate, at a minimum, improving awareness of the value of archives.” [Advocacy and Awareness for Archivists (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2019), 12.]Examples of outreach include exhibits, publications, events, lecture series, social media, teaching and instruction, workshops, presentations, and tours.