As initially conceived, the Journal Archive Project possessed three aims: to (1) make relevant information in leading anthropology journals available to a world-wide audience, (2) reinforce analytical skills that undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology needed in their courses, and (3) allow students to participate in a public anthropology initiative that, for many, involved their first publications.
As readers can see by perusing the journals listed above, the Project involved publishing on the internet understandable summaries of articles in the discipline’s leading journals. The summaries were produced by undergraduate and graduate students throughout Canada and the United States. Each article often had two distinct summaries written by two different students at two different institutions so readers could gain a “bifocal” view of that article’s concerns. Readers could compare and contrast different summaries of an article to gain a deeper sense of both the article’s themes and relevance.
The “target” audiences for these summaries were: (a) people outside the discipline – such as journalists and general readers – who were curious as to how anthropological research entwined with their own interests as well as (b) anthropologists interested in the writings of fellow anthropologists through time. Since the summaries were searchable, anyone can read what had been written on a particular topic over the history of the discipline.
The Project started in 2002. While it basically ended in 2006 – as the Center turned to the Community Action Project – some teachers persisted with it up through 2010. In respect to mobilizing anthropology students, the Project was quite successful. Hundreds of students participated in the Project. (The webmaster was frequently queried by students as to the best format for listing their Journal Archive publications on resumes and CVs.) Also, the skills developed in working with a range of teachers and students proved helpful in establishing the Center’s Community Action Project. However, the Journal Archive Project was less successful in making rarely read anthropological articles available to a world-wide audience. True a host of people from a range of countries visited this portion of the Center’s website. (In its best month, there were 60,000 page views). But, with the explosion of websites offering similar material, including the American Anthropological Association’s own “AnthroSource”, the Project became less significant as a readily accessible source of anthropological information. Readers could easily search for anthropological related material at a host of sites. While in 2002 it might be argued that the Project was offering a special service to readers, by 2006 it was clear this was no longer the case.