4 Replies to “Intentional preservation and participatory archiving”

  1. Nice post! I like how you helped tease out what is so important about the preservation intent statements. If we could really get the field to adopt this as an approach, then we would provide future users of collections with a lot more rich information to figure out what exactly they are looking at and why it looks like it does. In this sense, the preservation intent statements are much like scope and content notes, information on appraisal decisions and information on provenance that goes in a finding aid. (Maureen Callahan gave a nice talk a few years back on some of these points in archival practice https://icantiemyownshoes.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/the-value-of-archival-description-considered/ ).

    I also completely agree about the potential power for participatory archiving in major national libraries. On that line, things like AFC’s Folklife Halloween project https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2014/10/share-your-photos-of-halloween/ I think the Storycorp.me acquisition from AFC illustrates a similar participatory approach. In this case, where LC acquires a participatory project enmass instead of running a participatory project. http://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2015/12/acquiring-at-digital-scale-harvesting-the-storycorps-me-collection/?loclr=blogsig

  2. Hi Carlyn,

    I like that you brought up the usefulness of statements of preservation intent and also hope that more large institutions will take advantage of such statements. I also agree with Trevor that the actual statements of intent would be super helpful in their own right for people in the future to understand the choices that we made when deciding to preserve certain items.

    Something separate that struck me when looking at that screenshot of the New York Times is how, or even can we, preserve the interrelatedness of news articles featured on websites. Of course it’s easy to pull up individual articles and understand the message they are attempting to convey. But in a digital age, I’m curious if archivists are thinking about the placement of stories on a website and whether or not that matters. We can look at an actual newspaper from the 1940s and see major headlines, what articles are above the fold, and what articles were featured next to each other. You could get a snapshot of what the news outlets deemed important for that day. But today, the New York Times and other news homepages are in a constant state of flux with new stories being uploaded by the minute, and older stories being removed. Of course there are web harvesting sites like the Wayback Machine, but that might only take a snapshot of a website once a day. If we don’t preserve how and where articles were featured on a website, are we losing vast amounts of context and only left with the content?

    1. On the question of the front pages of newspaper sites, just a quick note that there is a super cool project that is focused on exactly this issue. Ben Walsh, a really great data journalism guy from the LA Times, created this site called Past Pages (http://www.pastpages.org/) an “archive captures the shifting homepages of major media sites” it get’s all of those front pages on an hourly basis. No doubt this kind of thing would be super useful for exactly the reasons you’ve identified.

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