This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an Article published in the Journal of Archival Organization 11:1-2 (2013): 1-22, available online at:


Interest in user created metadata has increased in recent years. In 2009-2010 the RLG Partner Social Metadata Working Group examined the social metadata practices of libraries, archives, and museums worldwide. They found that more than half of studied institutions improve metadata with user created description. This article presents the results of a survey conducted in January-February 2013 on the social metadata practices of North American archival and special collections repositories. To what extent are archives allowing users to provide descriptive metadata using Web 2.0 technologies? Is user generated content integrated into finding aids, catalog records, or other authoritative metadata record? How do archives solicit such user engagement? Are archivists satisfied with the level of interaction their digitized content receives? This article reviews case studies on archival Web 2.0 initiatives, and compares the findings of the Working Group’s reports with the 2013 survey regarding user created descriptive metadata.