UMass Boston launches online roadmap for planning participatory archiving events

The Joseph P. Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston is pleased to announce the availability of RoPA, the Roadmap for Participatory Archiving, at ropa.umb.edu. Supported in part by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), RoPA is an online resource designed to guide libraries and cultural organizations through the process of collaborating with community members to plan engaging and inclusive participatory archiving events and to create digital collections. 

RoPA homepage screen shot

Screenshot of the newly-launched RoPA website

RoPA is a response to an increasing interest in public digitization events, which are part of the emerging phenomenon of participatory archiving. At these events—commonly called “scanning days” or “digitization days”—individuals connected with a theme, topic, event, or community come together to share personal and family photographs and stories, which are copied and added to a digital collection. More and more, librarians and museum curators recognize the potential for these types of projects to break down hierarchies and enrich local, regional, and national histories. By playing an active role in selecting and describing what should be preserved in an archival collection, community members can transform our collective understanding of the past. Through participatory archiving, these groups come together to build a more inclusive archival record.

“We created RoPA to answer calls from colleagues around the country for guidance on how to undertake participatory archiving projects in their own communities,” explains Carolyn Goldstein, the coordinator of the Healey Library’s Mass. Memories Road Show program. The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide, event-based participatory archiving program pioneered by UMass Boston that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. For this program, archivists and public historians in the Healey Library at UMass Boston work in partnership with local planning teams and volunteers to organize free public events where individuals bring photographs to be copied and included in a digital archive. Since its launch in 2004, the Mass. Memories Road Show has digitized more than 12,000 photographs and stories from across the Commonwealth, creating an educational resource of primary sources for future generations. “RoPA is an opportunity to enhance the impact of our Massachusetts-based program,” adds Goldstein.

The development of RoPA was led by IMLS grant Co-Principal Investigators Goldstein and Andrew Elder, together with Sarah Collins, who served as Project Manager. They worked closely with a Core Team of leaders in the participatory archiving field to inform development and best practices on all aspects of the resource. RoPA’s Core Team included: Kathy Bolduc Amoroso, Maine Historical Society; Anne Karle-Zenith, Metropolitan New York Library Council; Yesenia Lopez, Newark Public Library; Veronica Martzahl, formerly of Massachusetts Archives and now La Mesa History Center; Danny Pucci, Boston Public Library; Joanne Riley, Interim Dean of University Libraries at UMass Boston; and Michele A. L. Villagran, San Jose State University

“I was thrilled when I was asked to work on the RoPA project team with several professionals from libraries and cultural institutions across the country. The collaboration and the sharing of ideas and knowledge helped strengthen the final project deliverable which will be an excellent guide for institutions and organizations as they collect and document personal and local stories and histories for future generations to enjoy or use for research,” notes Kathy Amoroso of the Maine Historical Society.

RoPA is aimed at libraries and cultural organizations of all kinds and sizes, offering a series of modules covering the important aspects of planning a participatory archiving event, including community partnerships and outreach, event logistics, metadata and archival description, and the preservation of digital materials. 

“To understand clearly what our colleagues throughout the country needed to know, our first step was to conduct a nationwide survey to capture the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of libraries and other cultural organizations,” Project Manager Sarah Collins explains. Libraries, cultural heritage organizations, and government agencies from more than thirty states responded to the UMass Boston survey.

“The survey results revealed that different users had different needs for an online resource of this type,” said Collins. Therefore, the team designed RoPA to be an accessible and adaptable resource that would guide both specialized professionals and novice volunteers through all of the steps of the participatory archiving process. While some users might already have experience with certain aspects of the work, they might need help with other dimensions. RoPA is organized by module to allow users to find the guidance they need and connect it to their own expertise and experience.

“We hope that RoPA will strengthen collaborations between libraries and their communities, and enable them to together build unique archival collections that document historically marginalized perspectives,” said Andrew Elder, Interim University Archivist and Curator of Special Collections. “Ultimately, we anticipate that RoPA will help connect people around the country who are doing this important participatory archiving work so they can learn from and support each other.”

For questions and more information, email ropa@umb.edu

RoPA logo in orange, blue, and greenIMLS logo

University Archives and Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston was established in 1981 as a repository to collect archival material in subject areas of interest to the university, as well as the records of the university itself. The mission and history of UMass Boston guide the collection policies of University Archives and Special Collections, with the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service reflected in the records of and related to urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, war and social consequence, and local history related to neighboring communities. To learn more, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.

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Fall 2020 issue of New England Journal of Public Policy available on ScholarWorks

Cover of the Fall 2020 issue of the New England Journal of Public PolicyThe most recent issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy is now available on ScholarWorks, the open access repository for scholarship and research at UMass Boston.

Describing this issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy, founding editor Padraig O’Malley writes: “Other than ‘The Troubled Backstory of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment,’ articles in this issue of the journal have their origins in presentations at the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflicts conference at Oxford University, September 2019, which addressed themes arising from dual anniversaries—the 150th birthday anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the 140th birthday anniversary of Albert Einstein. The presentations covered a wide and disparate geographical spread—with authors from Singapore, Australia, Turkey, the United States, Syria, the United Kingdom, and Belgium, and articles covering Myanmar, Japan, Australia, Turkey and Syria and Europe.”

The New England Journal of Public Policy has been published since 1985 by the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. After folding in 2006 due to financial constraints, the New England Journal of Public Policy resumed publication in 2013 as an online open access journal. Full issues of the entire run of the New England Journal of Public Policy are available on ScholarWorks at UMass Boston, which is managed out of the Joseph P. Healey Library.

Apart from the editor’s note by O’Malley, who is also the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at UMass Boston, this issue includes:

To view the full issue, and to explore past issues of this publication, click here.


ScholarWorks is the University of Massachusetts Boston’s online open access institutional repository for scholarship and research. ScholarWorks serves as a publishing platform, a preservation service, and a showcase for the research and scholarly output of members of the UMass Boston community. ScholarWorks is a service of the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston.

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News from the Mass. Memories Road Show: Updates for 2020

Mass. Memories Road Show film stripAlong with so many other public history and cultural programs, the Mass. Memories Road Show was forced to pivot away from live events in response to the COVID-19 crisis this spring. Still, the team at UMass Boston has been hard at work behind the scenes to make collections available and to emerge with a stronger program as soon as we can get back on the road again.

Here are a few updates about our program and activities:

Photograph of videographer at Brockton Mass. Memories Road Show

Photograph of videographer and contributor at Brockton Mass. Memories Road Show

Collection update

Videos from the Brockton Mass. Memories Road Show and Plymouth Mass. Memories Road Show are available online now. The images and stories are in production and contributors will be notified when they are available, likely sometime this summer.

Call for Research Participants

University of North Texas student, Ana Roeschley, is conducting a dissertation study on participatory archive projects like the Mass. Memories Road Show. Her research is on the impact of projects like the Mass. Memories Road Show on individuals and communities that participate in these projects. She is recruiting past participants of the Road Show who are over the age of 18 to be interviewed about their experiences with the Road Show. Interviews will be conducted virtually via the Zoom platform and participants will receive a Starbucks or Dunkin’ gift card. Download a flyer.

For more information and to participate, contact Ana Roeschley by emailing ana.roeschley@unt.edu or calling 512-809-3662.

Events update

The Mass. Memories Road Show events in Bellingham and Malden have been postponed indefinitely, and will be rescheduled as soon as it is safe to do so, most likely sometime in 2021.

Although we can’t know when we will be able to resume public gatherings, the Mass. Memories Road Show continues to welcome applications on a rolling basis for 2021 and beyond. Interested communities can apply here.

Institute of Museum and Library Services grant update

With support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Mass. Memories Road Show team is developing a “roadmap” to guide libraries of all kinds and sizes through the process of organizing similar “participatory archiving” events and building digital collections on their own. We completed a survey of needs among libraries and cultural organizations throughout the United States, and plan to launch a test version of the roadmap later in 2020. Designed to be an interactive reference, the roadmap will lead users through a series of modules covering the important aspects of planning a participatory archiving event, including community outreach, metadata and archival description, and the preservation of digital materials.

Interested in learning more? Email sarah.collins@umb.edu.

New Mass. Memories Road Show website

Last fall, we launched a new website for the Mass. Memories Road Show program, which includes a video about the program. Visit the new website here, which features a variety of resources for local planning teams including volunteer training materials about each of the Road Show “stations” as well as sample publicity flyers and press releases.

Questions? Please contact Carolyn.Goldstein@umb.edu and visit blogs.umb.edu/archives for further updates.

Browse the Mass. Memories Road Show collection here.


The Mass. Memories Road Show is a statewide, event-based participatory archiving program that documents people, places, and events in Massachusetts history through family photographs and stories. In partnership with teams of local volunteers, we organize public events to scan family and community photographs and videotape “the stories behind the photos.” The images and videos are indexed and incorporated into an online educational database. Since its launch, the project has gathered more than 10,000 photographs and stories from across the state. It is supported in part by the Patricia C. Flaherty ’81 Endowed Fund at UMass Boston.

University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston was established in 1981 as a repository to collect archival material in subject areas of interest to the university, as well as the records of the university itself. The mission and history of UMass Boston guide the collection policies of University Archives & Special Collections, with the university’s urban mission and strong support of community service reflected in the records of and related to urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, war and social consequence, and local history related to neighboring communities. To learn more, visit blogs.umb.edu/archives.

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Special Issue of New England Journal of Public Policy explores Euro-Mediterranean migrations

Blue cover of New England Journal of Public PolicyThe most recent issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy is now available on ScholarWorks, the open access repository for scholarship and research at UMass Boston. The Special Issue on Migration is guest edited by Emanuela C. Del Re and explores issues of stability and sustainability in Euro-Mediterranean migrations.

In his editor’s note for this issue, New England Journal of Public Policy founder and editor Padraig O’Malley notes that “Emanuela del Re … has assembled contributions from prominent scholars, academics, and researchers from Europe, Africa, and the United States” to explore this issue’s theme.

The New England Journal of Public Policy has been published since 1985 by the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. After folding in 2006 due to financial constraints, the New England Journal of Public Policy resumed publication in 2013 as an online, open access journal. Full issues of the entire run of the New England Journal of Public Policy are available on ScholarWorks.

Apart from Del Re’s introduction and the editor’s note by O’Malley, who is also the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at UMass Boston, this issue includes:

To view the full issue, and to explore back issues of this publication, click here.


ScholarWorks is the University of Massachusetts Boston’s online, open access institutional repository for scholarship and research. ScholarWorks serves as a publishing platform, a preservation service, and a showcase for the research and scholarly output of members of the UMass Boston community. ScholarWorks is a service of the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston.

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Special Issue of New England Journal of Public Policy features select writings by Marcy Murninghan

Cover for Special 2018 Issue of the New England Journal of Public PolicyThe most recent issue of the New England Journal of Public Policy is now available on ScholarWorks, the open access repository for scholarship and research at UMass Boston. The Special Issue is titled “Wealth, Power, and the Public Interest: Building Equity Culture and Civic Stewardship” and features eleven articles written by Marcy Murninghan.

In his editor’s note for this issue, New England Journal of Public Policy founder and editor Padraig O’Malley writes about Murninghan’s work: “I have known Marcy Murninghan since the early 1980s when she worked for the late Robert Wood, once president of the Massachusetts University system, then superintendent of the Boston School System during the heyday of court-ordered desegregation. During this tumultuous period in Boston’s history, Murninghan played a significant role, tasked by Wood to plan and direct the structural organization of the department. Since then her career has taken many turns. She has churned out a plethora of reports and analyses for foundations, universities, the corporate world, and media monoliths. The result is a formidable body of work, from which the articles for this issue of the journal draws a tranche.”

And in her introduction to this issue, Murningham describes the articles selected for inclusion: “America faces a reckoning, a crucible of what Reinhold Niebuhr observed more than eighty years ago. Our democratic principles and traditions are imperiled by the power of financial oligarchs and unfettered money flows, which have contributed to massive inequality that, in turn, has given rise to political unrest and a sense of cultural unmooring. The articles presented here are both descriptive and normative, setting forth a complex social problem with seemingly bottomless proportions and then offering a design or set of remedial actions to alleviate them. Drawing on my professional experience going back to the mid-1970s, I wrote these pieces to generate new knowledge, new capabilities, and new vistas that open opportunities for growth and well-being—all the while knowing that no problems ever can be solved permanently and that sometimes solutions in one era become new problems in another.”

The New England Journal of Public Policy has been published since 1985 by the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. After folding in 2006 due to financial constraints, the New England Journal of Public Policy resumed publication in 2013 as an online, open access journal. Full issues of the entire run of the New England Journal of Public Policy are available on ScholarWorks.

Apart from Murninghan’s introduction and the editor’s note by O’Malley, who is also the John Joseph Moakley Distinguished Professor of Peace and Reconciliation at UMass Boston, the contents of this issue include:

To view the full issue, and to explore back issues of this publication, click here.


ScholarWorks is the University of Massachusetts Boston’s online, open access institutional repository for scholarship and research. ScholarWorks serves as a publishing platform, a preservation service, and a showcase for the research and scholarly output of members of the UMass Boston community. ScholarWorks is a service of the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston.

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