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Archives

How Do You Preserve History On The Moon? : NPR

Historic preservationists are hoping that the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing this summer will persuade the United Nations to do something to protect Neil Armstrong's footprints in the lunar dust. Some of his boot marks are still up there, after all, along with other precious artifacts from humanity's first steps on another world. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left behind tools and science equipment, a plaque that read, "We came in peace for all mankind," and the U.S. flag, which has likely been bleached white by five decades of harsh ultraviolet light.
From How Do You Preserve History On The Moon? : NPR
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Archivist who skipped work for a decade without anyone noticing spent his free time running a male brothel and drawing erotic comics.

He was paid a 50,000 euro ($80,000) salary as an archives director in Valencia’s provincial government, would show up to the office every morning at 7:30am to clock in using the fingerprint scanner before heading home, only returning to the office at 3:30pm to clock out. He kept up the routine for 10 years before colleagues began to raise suspicions. After Spanish newspaper El Mundo broke the story 18 months ago, he was finally sacked, despite his insistence that he had done nothing wrong. “I have only done what they have asked me to do,” he told the paper in January.
From Spanish public servant who skipped work for a decade gets nine-year ban
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CBC is destroying its broadcast archives after they’re digitized

But internationally accepted standards and best practices of audiovisual preservation call for retention of originals, due to the unknown characteristics of digitization, such as long-term stability and vulnerability to electromagnetic interference, the foundation said. It also questioned why Radio-Canada was preserving its master recordings after making digital copies but CBC had opted to rely only on digital copies. “Such inequitable treatment of cultural treasures is not acceptable,” said Wilkinson.
From CBC is destroying its broadcast archives after they’re digitized | The Star
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What To Do With Memorial Tributes To Victims of Gun Violence

Dallas is among the cities where archivists are curating shrines that surfaced after tragedies. The question: How to preserve a part of history? Story from The New York Times.

The archive is not about what happened that night, but about “the outpouring of love from the citizens — from the world — that happened afterward,” said Jo Giudice, the director of Dallas’s public library system. Tributes surged into Dallas soon after a gunman opened fire during a protest last summer. Five officers — Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa — were killed; the gunman died during a standoff.

The Lost Picture Show: Hollywood Archivists Can’t Outpace Obsolescence

These days, nearly all of the films from all of the major studios are shot and edited digitally. Like Lubezki, filmmakers have switched to digital because it allows a far greater range of special effects, filming conditions, and editing techniques. Directors no longer have to wait for film stock to be chemically processed in order to view it, and digital can substantially bring down costs compared with traditional film. Distribution of films is likewise entirely digital, feeding not only the digital cinema projectors in movie theaters but also the streaming video services run by the likes of Netflix and Hulu. The industry’s embrace of digital has been astonishingly rapid.
From The Lost Picture Show: Hollywood Archivists Can’t Outpace Obsolescence - IEEE Spectrum

Radioactive, yes, Radioactive Archives

You guessed it, the notebooks of Marie Curie.

Via Open Culture, here's a report on the papers and other belongings of the discoverer of polonium and radium, Marie Curie who worked in her future husband Pierre's lab. (I love that movie).

Her notebooks, her clothing, her furniture, pretty much everything surviving from her Parisian suburban house, is radioactive, and will be for 1,500 years or more.

If you want to look at her manuscripts, you have to sign a liability waiver at France’s Bibliotheque Nationale, and then you can access the notes that are sealed in a lead-lined box.

A Miniature Working Model of the National Archives Vault

Via Atlas Obscura, a reminder of the existence of a model of the National Archives Vault and the time President Nixon visited it.

Lou Reed's Archive Aquired by NYPL

From The New Yorker. The Collection comprises around three hundred linear feet of paper records, electronic records, and photographs; some thirty-six hundred audio recordings; and some thirteen hundred video recordings.

If You Discover Something in an Archive, It's Not Really a Discovery

From the Atlantic an article about how new "discoveries" in archives, including the National Archives, are not really discoveries at all.

The Future of the Past: Modernizing the New York Times Archive

While our original goal was to modernize our digital archive, the migration project has led to opportunities for future projects to engage our readers in our treasure trove of historical news data.
From The Future of the Past: Modernizing the New York Times Archive - The New York Times
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Archiving a Website for Ten Thousand Years

Hi.co, a website that allows its users to post “moments” with a photo and annotation, plans a similar trip to the distant future. The operators, Craig Mod (who has also previously written for The Atlantic) and Chris Palmieri, announced today that the site will freeze service in September 2016. However, all posts present in the site’s database at that time will be microprinted onto a two-by-two-inch nickel plate. The entire site—2,000,000 words and 14,000 photos—should fit on a single disk. Several copies will be made and distributed across the globe; the Library of Congress has already been secured as a repository. The plates have a lifespan as long as 10,000 years, and they may be viewed with a 1,000-power optical microscope.
From Archiving a Website for Ten Thousand Years - The Atlantic
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New York Public Library Invites a Deep Digital Dive

Most items in the public-domain release have already been visible at the library’s digital collections portal. The difference is that the highest-quality files will now be available for free and immediate download, along with the programming interfaces, known as APIs, that allow developers to use them more easily.

Crucially — if wonkily — users will also have access to information from the library’s internal rights database, letting them know which items are free of what the library is carefully calling “known United States copyright restrictions.”

From New York Public Library Invites a Deep Digital Dive - The New York Times

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Rhizome Awarded $600,000 by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build Webrecorder

Rhizome is thrilled to announce today that The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the institution a two-year, $600,000 grant to underwrite the comprehensive technical development of Webrecorder, an innovative tool to archive the dynamic web. The grant is the largest Rhizome has ever received and arrives at the start of its 20th anniversary year in 2016.

The web once delivered documents, like HTML pages. Today, it delivers complex software customized for every user, like individualized social media feeds. Current digital preservation solutions were built for that earlier time and cannot adequately cope with what the web has become. Webrecorder, in contrast, is a human-centered archival tool to create high-fidelity, interactive, contextual archives of social media and other dynamic content, such as embedded video and complex javascript, addressing our present and future.

From Rhizome

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Will Future Historians Consider These Days The Digital Dark Ages?

We are awash in a sea of information, but how to historians sift through the mountain of data? In the future, computer programs will be unreadable, and therefore worthless, to historians.

From Will Future Historians Consider These Days The Digital Dark Ages? : NPR

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High Treason (1929), movie preservation success story

In 2005, Kevin Tripp, executive director and archivist for the Alaska Moving Image Preservation Association, responded to a caller in Washington State who had inherited a box of old motion picture films. The films included the sound version of the 1929 sf thriller High Treason, long thought lost. Tripp arranged for the nitrate film to be transferred to the Library of Congress for restoration. The British Film Institute premiered the restored version in 2014. On December 6th, the restored version will be shown at the Anchorage International Film Festival.

Some Thoughts On Digital Objects and ArchivesSpace

The digital object component records might also include extent information, more specific rights information, or...???

It's been exciting to think about the possibilities of ASpace's digital object record, but the fairly wide-open nature of the endeavor is also daunting, as there's no established best practices to fall back on.  What do you think?  How are (or would) you proceed?  We'd love to get your feedback and/or reactions!

From ArchivesSpace-Archivematica-DSpace Workflow Integration: Digital Objects and ArchivesSpace

How Chemistry Is Rescuing Our Audio History from Melting

Our cultural history is crumbling. Not because of bad education—though one might make that argument—but because of chemistry.

Between the late 60s and the late 80s, much of our culture—from the Nixon trials on television to unreleased music from famous artists like the Beatles—was recorded on magnetic tape, and this tape is starting to disintegrate. Some of the audio and visual data has already been safely adapted to digital storage, but the majority hasn’t—and it’s a problem of massive proportions.

From How Chemistry Is Rescuing Our Audio History from Melting - Facts So Romantic

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The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library

“The idea is that you’re not just conserving the image digitally—you can actually restore it digitally,” Seales explained, in his earnest, go-getter way. The potential struck him in 1995, when he was assisting Kevin Kiernan, an English professor, on a digital-imaging project involving the only extant copy of “Beowulf,” the medieval masterwork, which is in the British Library. The manuscript was damaged in a fire in 1731. The Kentucky team used a variety of techniques, including one called multispectral imaging, or MSI—developed by NASA for use in mapping mineral deposits during planetary flyovers—to make the letters stand out from the charred background. The basic principle is that different surfaces reflect light differently, especially in the infrared part of the spectrum. Inked letters will therefore reflect at different wavelengths from those of the parchment or vellum or papyrus they are written on.

From The Quest to Unlock an Ancient Library - The New Yorker

A digital portrait of Colonial life

Launched Monday, the website of the Colonial North American Project so far includes 150,000 images of diaries, journals, notebooks, and other rare documents from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Part of the University’s endeavor to digitize all its collections and make them available free of charge, the Colonial North American Project is unique because of its scale. According to a 2011 survey, the material is scattered through 12 repositories — from Houghton Library to the Harvard University Archives to Loeb Music Library.

From A digital portrait of Colonial life | Harvard Gazette

Digital Archive To Preserve History In Atlanta's Manuel's Tavern

In a few months' time, Atlanta's iconic watering hole and beloved neighborhood living room will close for renovation. A collaboration among three local academic institutions is underway to ensure that nearly 60 years of history hanging on the walls will be documented, annotated, and preserved for restoration after reopening. Read more at http://news.wabe.org/post/digital-archive-preserve-history-atlantas-manuels-tavern and visit the project blog at https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/unpackingmanuels/

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