Archive-lensing of fan franchise histories: Chronicle, guide, catalyst




Fan archives, Film and television studies, Historiography, Wikis


Archives of fan knowledge for pop-culture franchises serve as important historical repositories of knowledge that are created, curated, and maintained by passionate fans. The archive—both historically and in the contemporary form of the fan wiki—serves as an important motivation in terms of creating further fan knowledge and nostalgically returning to knowledge that has already been historicized. Fan archives serve as important narrative and cultural-history touchstones. We investigate Star Trek's wiki, Memory Alpha; the Battlestar Galactica wiki; and the Xena: Warrior Princess AUSXIP archive as examples of current and historical archives. Collectively, they articulate the concept of archive-lensing, whereby three distinct modes of fan franchise archive engagement can be seen: the archive as chronicle, providing new information; the archive as guide, orienting new and old fans to franchise content; and the archive as catalyst, stoking a return—nostalgic or otherwise—to a franchise that has been dormant.