n. ~ The process of identifying and providing services to constituencies with needs relevant to the repository's mission, especially underserved groups, and tailoring services to meet those needs.
Outreach activities may include exhibits, workshops, publications, and educational programs.
(Personal communication, V Chapman Smith (7 June 2004)
) Effective outreach is more than an event or a series of activities.
It is the process of assessing and developing institutional capacity to meet the needs of under served audiences. This process may lead an institution to reframe its mission, vision and goals to the contemporary situation.
Successful outreach requires an environmental assessment of community (potential constituent) needs, potential partners and resources, and potential impact. This type of assessment will also help an institution develop an effective marketing plan and strategies for whatever programming is developed.
Why are you doing any programming or collecting? What's the benefit/value? Who are you trying to reach? How do you know they will come? Who will use the collection? What's your institution's brand or how are you perceived? How are you differentiated from others?
On the collections side, some institutions are reassessing the cataloguing of their collections based on their outreach. They are finding new stories documented in collections that align better with current community needs. Others have changed their acquisition priorities based on outreach.
(SAA, "Institutional Evaluation"
) The archives should identify its various constituencies in terms of its purpose, plan and implement methods to assess the needs of these groups in relation to the resources of the institution, and devise outreach programs that will fit their needs. These program may include workshops, conferences, training programs, courses, festivals, exhibits, publications, and similar activities, aimed at such groups as students, faculty members, scholars, administrators, researchers, donors, records creators, or the general community.