Is any archives working with writers to preserve their social media content?

I’m posting this great question on behalf of Kirsty Lee, a student in the master’s program at the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at the University of Dundee.

Does anyone know of an archives, special collection department or other repository which is actively engaged with a working writer to capture and preserve his or her social media presence?

And if not an author, anyone know of any examples of archives working with individual people, rather than organizations, to proactively preserve their social media content?

Please pass this question along to your colleagues. I’m sure we’d all be interested in learning about efforts of this kind.



Guest Post: CurateGear 2014

You never know what a tweet will lead to … one from Tanya Zanish-Belcher about her experience at CurateGear led to this great guest post by Tanya and two of her colleagues. I’m pleased to be able to share this overview with you, and I know that all three authors would love to answer any questions you may have. If you know of other resources that might be of interest to other archivists, please share them in the comments.

Continue reading “Guest Post: CurateGear 2014”

“Now is what matters”: My first official appearance as an “agent provocateur” at the Canadian Archives Summit

I was very honored to have been invited to present as one a group of “Agents Provocateurs” at the Canadian Archives Summit last week. It was an exciting line-up of speakers, as you can see from the program. My remarks, along with those of the other presenters, will be made available by the conference organizers, but I wanted to post them here as well. And I wanted to give some context for them. (I believe “context” may be my word for 2014.)

When I was invited to speak, I was assigned my topic (“The Role of Archives in a Digital Society”) and give a strict time limit of seven minutes. In coming up with my remarks I tried to write something genuinely “provocative” around that theme that could be effectively delivered in seven minutes. My task as I saw it was to give people something that would get them thinking and talking. Here’s what I said:

Continue reading ““Now is what matters”: My first official appearance as an “agent provocateur” at the Canadian Archives Summit”

“collecting visual examples of digital preservation challenges, failed renderings, encoding damage, corrupt data, and visual evidence documenting #FAILs of any stripe”

I saw a link to this via NDIIPP on Facebook and thought it was brilliant.

A Flickr Group: The Atlas of Digital Damages:

Prompted by a blog post by Barbara Sierman, this space is a staging area for collecting visual examples of digital preservation challenges, failed renderings, encoding damage, corrupt data, and visual evidence documenting #FAILs of any stripe.

You can contribute just an image. If you want to tell the story behind the image, that’s even better. If you’d like to share the original file (or set of files), so that tool developers can learn from digital damage and test out their code with it, we’ll be eternally in your debt. Contribute the files


“They don’t call it technology; they call it life.”

Social media and digital technology is no longer news; it’s part of the way we live our lives, how we communicate, how business is conducted. Kids use technology to learn in school, to get their entertainment, to compete in the world. They don’t call it technology; they call it life. Saying “I don’t get it, so I will just skip this part of a global revolution” is like saying “I don’t know how to drive a car so I’ll keep riding my horse and buggy to work.” Technology is not something we can choose to ignore.

If this critique of the Today show, posted in an Op-Ed by Andrea Smith on, applies to to any organization or professional you know, try to make 2013 a year of change for them.

How You Can Help Launch a Digital Preservation Q&A Site

I’ve been asked to pass along this information to help get more archivists involved in this effort to launch a digital preservation Q&A site.

If you want to learn more, please read this informative blog post from Trevor Owens:

The proposal itself is here:

It’s a great idea, so I hope if you have what they are looking for that you’ll participate and help get this off the ground.

My Version of Trendswatch 2012: The Archives Edition

I just quickly looked over the inaugural issue of Trendswatch, a new annual report from the American Association of Museums’s Center for the Future of Museums.

The inaugural issue of TrendsWatch—TrendsWatch 2012: Museums and the Pulse of the Future—highlights seven trends that CFM’s staff and advisors believe are highly significant to museums and their communities, based on scanning and analysis over the past year:

  • Crowdsourcing
  • Threats to Nonprofit Status
  • Mobile, distributive experiences
  • New forms of funding
  • Creative Aging
  • Augmented reality
  • Shifts in Education

For each trend, the report provides a summary, examples of how the trend is playing out in the world, comments on the trend’s significance to society and to museums, dozens of links to relevant news and research and suggestions for ways that museums might respond.

Download a copy of the report here

Needless to say the report is worth reading. But naturally my mind jumped immediately to what kind of list an equivalent group would makes for archives. I think the results would be somewhat different, don’t you? Since I don’t have the resources to assemble such a panel of experts, I just came up with a list of my own:   Continue reading “My Version of Trendswatch 2012: The Archives Edition”

Video available from Emory University: “Salman Rushdie Discusses Creativity and Digital Scholarship with Erika Farr ” (and also his archives)

Last Friday I learned on Twitter that Salman Rushdie was about to speak at Emory about the donation of his personal papers to the university archives. And due to the energetic livetweeting of Roger Whitson (@rogerwhitson) and Brian Croxall (@briancroxall) I was able to see that Mr. Rushdie had some very interesting things to say about his archives. Well, as promised the video is now posted on YouTube, and it’s worth a watch: Salman Rushdie Discusses Creativity and Digital Scholarship with Erika Farr. Here’s the description from YouTube:

University Distinguished Professor Salman Rushdie and Erika Farr, digital archives coordinator in the Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) discuss how computers and other technology affect Rushdie’s writing and creative process. This builds on previous conversations and addresses new developments such as Rushdie’s acquisition of an iPhone and the ways in which mobile computing has an impact on his work. In addition, given Rushdie’s work on his memoir and his use of his paper and digital archives in MARBL, the discussion turns to the ways in which archival science and archival access changes the way he uses his own archives.

It’s about an hour long, and as I was watching it I took some notes on the parts of the discussion that might be of interest to archivists. I did my best to make my quotations accurate but it’s possible there may be some minor errors and of course I am only attempting to quickly summarize or characterize a much more complicated dialogue. If you have time, watch the video. If you don’t, here are some of my personal highlights:

Continue reading “Video available from Emory University: “Salman Rushdie Discusses Creativity and Digital Scholarship with Erika Farr ” (and also his archives)”

Reflections on “Archiving Social Media”

Last Friday I attended the “Archiving Social Media” meeting, organized by the University of Mary Washington (UMW) and the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University. I won’t attempt to summarize the content of the discussions–you can read the notes from the breakout sessions for yourself, linked in the comments section on the page for each theme. You can also read over the tweets–#asome. A white paper summarizing the results of the meeting is also in the works. (Note that the meeting was kept deliberately small to encourage conversations and that until the last day or two was an “invitation only” affair.)

Rather, I’d like to share some observations and questions for my audience of archivist readers. Continue reading “Reflections on “Archiving Social Media””

“Anthologize” tool released by “One Week, One Tool” program

I’m scrambling like mad to finish up several things before leaving for SAA and so don’t have time to do justice to the release of the Anthologize tool. Essentially, it’s a tool that lets you turn a blog into a book. While it might sound at first to be just a tool for vain bloggers to self-publish, it has far greater potential for archivists than that, both for encouraging professional discussion and for the long-term preservation of blog content. On their “About” page, they suggest the following applications for libraries, archives, and museums:

* Publish research or processing activity on a blog and create the exhibition book from blog posts.
* Pull together blog posts across institutional divisions to create a topically coherent publication.
* Edit the proceedings of a professional workshop or conference to share expertise with new audiences.
* Anthologize a behind-the-scenes blog to offer as a gift to donors.
* Collect and preserve online publications.
* Document social media outreach programs.

Anthologize is the product of the One Week, One Tool program, run by George Mason’s Center for History and New Media and supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The process by which Anthologize was developed is itself interesting and might serve as a model for the rapid development of tools for archives.

Here are some links to more information, please feel free to suggest others in the comments, and I look forward to hearing more about how archives are implementing Anthologize:

Introducing Anthologize,” Dan Cohen’s Digital Humanities Blog

Digital Campus podcast, Episode 58 – Anthologize LIVE

Hello Anthologize,” Edwired

Lessons from One Week | One Tool: Part 1, Project Management,” Found History blog [this is a three part series of excellent posts about the process]

Digital Humanists Unveil New Blog-to-Book Tool, Chronicle of Higher Education