Evolving Archives Initiative


The Evolving Archives (EVA) Initiative, led by Joanne Kaczmarek and Ellen Swain, is testing new approaches to archives in the digital age, with a particular focus on self-generated oral histories.

The major goals of the EVA Initiative are twofold:

  1. Rethink how archives collect and provide access to relevant materials, in light of the increasing use of social media tools among the campus community and alumni.
  2. Develop new ways of collecting and soliciting personal experiences and memories related to the University in the form of user-submitted photographs, informal oral histories and social media outputs like blog posts, tweets, or Facebook status updates.

In order to achieve these goals, we work with individuals who are either currently or formerly members of the campus community to collect their memories. We also work with campus units interested in developing similar projects to document their own histories.

The EVA Initiative promotes a collaborative, distributed model for managing digital archival holdings across the institution, working with other departments and initiatives like the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ Lincoln Hall Project Storyography and WILL-UniHigh to capitalize on shifting trends in library and university technology profiles. We advise units in the creation of their own projects with the intention of transferring content to the Archives when they no longer need regular access to the materials. Early involvement in this process will ensure units have the information and assistance they need to make these files accessible to researchers far into the future.

Interested in Participating?

For Campus Units: check out our Toolkit.

For Individuals: check out our Submission Facts.

  • Search Collections

  • Location

    Horticulture Field Laboratory
    Archives Research Center
    1707 S. Orchard St.
    Urbana, IL 61801

  • Hours

    M,T,TH,F: 8:30am-12pm
    and 1-5pm
    W: 10am-12pm and 1-5pm

  • Contact Us

    Email: Ellen Swain at eswain@illinois.edu
    Phone: (217) 333-7841

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