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In the mid-2000s, archivists introduced a range of Web 2.0-based participatory features into digital archives to make them more accessible to patrons. Some archivists hoped the increased accessibility of digital archives would lead to the creation of virtual communities of users that would eventually participate in archival workflows, especially description. Archivists’ desire culminated in the idea of the archival commons, a network-crowd sourcing model highly dependent on intensive user participation. Users however, only minimally used digital archives’ participatory features during the mid-‘00s. Recent scholarship though, reveals that users have begun to increasingly use the participatory aspects of digital archives, suggesting archivists’ goal of establishing an archival commons based upon user-participation remains obtainable. This article explains why users underutilized digital archives’ participatory features during the mid-‘00s, analyzes the recent upswing in patrons’ use of such tools, and presents suggestions on how to increase users’ use of digital archives’ participatory features.



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