Yesterday’s big story was clearly the Library of Congress’ announcement that they will be preserving “Every public tweet, ever, since Twitter’s inception in March 2006 . . . That’s a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions.” The reaction from the archivists on Twitter was mixed, but I think it’s a great move on LOC’s part. You may not agree with their appraisal decision, but they believe it fits within their available resources and mission and certainly the collection has tremendous research potential. Providing access will present challenges but I’m confident those challenges will be met by highly-qualified people who believe in sharing their results and process with the rest of the archival community.
In other news:
- Someone on Twitter (@samaramc, actually) recently posted a link to an old post on Tim Sherratt’s blog about what people are doing with the data released by the National Archives of Australia. The post is worth revisiting, especially in light of the recent interest in tapping the creativity of online collaborators here in the U.S. Also note that I’ll be announcing the Best Archives on the Web awards soon and expect to have a new category to recognized efforts like this, so if you’re doing some hacking I’ll hope you’ll nominate yourself.
- Speaking of which there is an excellent post by Harriet Deacon over on The Archival Platform blog: Involving archive users in digitising archival collections (note that link seems a little wonky–may have to try it more than once). It’s lengthy and detailed, and concludes, “What are we waiting for?” I was happy to see she referenced a post I’d written on this topic as part of my response to NARA’s call for ideas about how they could become more interactive and collaborative. If you have other sources that discuss projects that use the public to digitize archival records, please post them in the comments. I think this is a prime area for the utilization of volunteers in all kind of archives, large and small.
- Our colleagues at Archives New Zealand are calling for participation (via a wiki) in reviewing their Digital Continuity Glossary (Feedback wanted on Digital Continuity Glossary. As they observe: “Discussion of digital continuity issues is hampered by the use of inconsistent language and terminology. Digital ‘stuff’ is variously referred to in different contexts as records, information, documents, content, data, assets, etc. At the same time, an effective collective response to digital continuity needs to draw on expertise and experience from all sectors and disciplines.” So, they’re crowdsourcing their glossary. Please take a look and add your thoughts (we all know RPM will do so!).
- An interesting post from the Collections Australia Network (CAN) about Repatriation and collections online.
- NARA has released their Open Government Plan, highlighting four specific areas as part of their “flagship initiative.” Among those areas is a (long-overdue) re-design of the archives.gov website. You can contribute to this effort by participating in an online ” card sort”–see their blog for details. (Just noticed the last day for this is April 16, so you’ll need to hurry.) I was also delighted to see that among the other elements of the flagship initiative are developing a social media strategy (my Christmas wish is answered!) and “[approaching] digitization strategically as well as transparently with the ultimate goal of providing greater access to our holdings online.”
- The Library of Congress has supplied another great resource for everyone to use, “Why Digital Preservation is Important for Everyone,” shown here on the L’Archivista blog. As she observes: “It’s an accessible non-technical introduction for people who aren’t familiar with the challenges of preserving digital materials, and a great resource and model for those of us who must cultivate support for digital preservation. A full transcript is available.”
- I just saw this on Twitter a minute ago and haven’t had time to check it out, but it seems to follow some of our recent themes. It’s a post from the East London Theater Archive’s blog, sharing a presentation they just gave at JISC. Part of their description of their project:
To meet this concern we are about to launch a new version of ELTA which will incorporate a forum where the community can collaborate to help others learn more. Our new website will allow people to log in and make comments, make notes on items, and help us enhance our metadata by providing more detail to our material (in a similar way to GalaxyZoo). They will also be able to help each other with questions and so on. Most importantly they will have the opportunity to curate collections and cluster material together, so we will be able to see how our users/ collaborators use and organise archival material.
That certainly looks like a project worth keeping an eye on!