The concept of wicked problems can be used as a frame for enriching archivists' understanding of the societal challenges they are confronting in their work. This article explores the core tenets and intellectual history of the concept, looking at the origins of the term; its uses in design, planning, and various policy domains; and recent critiques of the concept. Using examples of archival engagements with the challenges of policing in underserved communities, refugees, child welfare, and climate change, this article examines the role of records and recordkeeping systems in wicked problems and how archivists have used community engagement as a core tenet of how to approach these societal challenges. These engagements also illustrate how grappling with wicked problems can change the practices, theories, and self-awareness of the profession itself.

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