Chaos and conception in the opened archive

Kathryn La Barre, Courtney Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This essay discusses implementation of a community-based participatory research project with the goal to reactivate a dormant community archive. The openED project is the focus of this case study as it provides insight into everyday documentation practices through an assessment and inventory of the archival holdings of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) in Illinois. Established in 2000, the UCIMC is a grassroots collective of citizen journalists, artists, and community organizers. As an early hub in the nascent and global Indymedia network, this collective represents an antiglobalist and anticorporate agenda through magnifying community voices of underrepresented and marginalized groups. The UCIMC archive reflects this agenda, as it is a community-created collection of physical and digital materials representing the everyday documentation of the organization. From protest signs to radio and news articles, the core collection of member-created and member-collected material exists to support the activist mission of Indymedia. From the outset, the openED project faced a number of daunting challenges, both in locating the archival material and as the UCIMC entered a period of severe financial crisis in early 2019. This article is a reflection on lessons learned and strategies applied to create accessible and collaborative everyday documentation at the UCIMC community archive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-671
Number of pages26
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Chaos and conception in the opened archive'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this