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Assynt Archive now run by the Assynt Crofters’ Trust

The Assynt Community Digital Archive started life in 2009 as a sub-project of a larger project run by the Assynt Community Association. Over the years, the Community Association has morphed into a different body with different priorities, and the Archive became a less easy fit. For several years now, no archival work has been possible on the system, but it was possible to maintain an instance of the archive to ensure the data remained safe.

A while ago, the Assynt Crofters' Trust (ACT). a key local land owner, with an amazing history of driving change not just in Assynt, but in the entire Scottish land ownership debate, has been pondering additional services to the community. Although the ACT is not a community body as such, but "has enabled the ordinary people who live and work on the land to have some control over their own economic future", it is aware of its place in the wider community of Assynt as well as the crofters who constitute the Trust. So when the ACT articulated a desire to maintain some form of Archive, at the very time that the Assynt Archive was seeking a new home, it was just a matter of sorting out the formalities and ensuring that the newly revamped Archive would meet the Trust's requirements.

With a small grant from the Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape partnership, a new network and workstations more suitable for the new environment within the Assynt Crofters' Trust office was set up. The work was brought in under budget and well within expected timescales.

Crucially, and in keeping with the "Prime Directive" of community archives, no data was lost in all the uncertainty and change, and the system is readily recognisable as the same it was under the old auspices.

The volunteer archivists who worked on the are looking forward to a time when the current health emergency allows for a new programme of work on the Archive. The work to publicise the new location of the Archive and its future is already under way.

On a financial and technical point, this web site, in 2015, noted the rise of the little Raspberry Pi singe board computer, and pondered what place this enabling little device had for community archives. Several revisions of the Raspberry Pi have been released since then, and it is worth noting that the entire new network, server and workstations has been built using Raspberry Pis. As a result, the full hardware costs of this installation have a mere 15% of the hardware costs of the original Archive network in 2009. This is a real-life example of how appropriate use of this technology, as the 2013 article suggested, smashes a barrier to entry for community digital archives.