[This post appeared originally on the collaborative blog hist.net.]
The Archives Wiki project is built on the MediaWiki platform and aims to leverage the collective knowledge and experience of historians and other archive users to create an important resource for anyone planning archival research. Registered and validated users can create entries on any library that they choose, or can elaborate current entries.
This latter feature is one that researchers will find especially useful, because it permits researchers to create up to the minute updates on what is (or isn’t) happening in a particular archive. Almost every researcher has had the experience of going to an archive, only to find that the collection he or she wants is being reindexed, or that the archive has closed for the week (or the month!) for renovations. If this project takes off, as I suspect it will (especially among younger researchers), then those planning a visit to a particular archive can know what is happening at their destination in something like real time. This alone makes the project worth participating in.
Already the site includes information on more than 100 archives, mostly in the United States. Sample entries in this newly created project include the American Library of Congress and the German Historical Association in Washington, D.C. Neither of these entries is anywhere close to complete and users of the site are encouraged to dive right in and add to, edit, or change these entries, or to create an entry on their own favorite archive.
This project is in its earliest stages and so it is difficult to assess how well it will work. But I certainly hope that scholars beyond the shores of North America will join in and add to the growing store of information in this project.