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Three Approaches to Community-based Archiving, by Amber Billey


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Powerpoint from March 17, 2011 M-LEAD Symposium at Brooklyn Museum LIbrary: "From Intern to Professional: Pratt M-LEAD Alumni Present." For more information on the Project M-LEAD internship program, see:

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Three Approaches to Community-based Archiving, by Amber Billey

  1. 1. Three Approaches to Community-based Archiving Amber Billey Pratt M-LEAD Alumni March 17, 2011
  2. 2. What I will be talking about today... <ul><ul><li>NOT about metadata! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>instead... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why is there a need for community-based archiving? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is community based archiving? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How the professional archivist can be involved? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Physical  processing and presentation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Digital  organization and access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creative  Fundraising (Archivist as Activist) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why is there a need for community-based archiving? <ul><ul><li>How do we know what to archive?  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do we know what to save or who will be important for future study?  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The collections of under-documented and under-funded communities are at risk. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The professional archivist can have significant impact to ensure the awareness and preservation of these unique collections. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What is community-based archiving? <ul><li>When communities to take it upon themselves to collect, organize, advocate, and provide access to their own histories. </li></ul><ul><li>Some successful examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lesbian Herstory Archive (Brooklyn, NY) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coney Island History Project (Brooklyn, NY) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leather Archive (Chicago, IL) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Surfing Heritage Foundation (San Clemente, CA) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>etc... </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. How can the professional archivist be involved? <ul><ul><li>Three Approaches: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Physical  processing and presentation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Digital  organization and access </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creative Fundraising (Archivist as Activist) </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Physical processing and presentation <ul><li>Case Study: Booklyn Artist Alliance Decade Archive Project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Founded in 1999 Booklyn is an artist-run, non-profit 501 (c) (3), consensus-governed, artist and bookmakers organization headquartered in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Booklyn's mission is to promote artist books as an art form and an educational resource, to provide the general public and educational institutions with services and programming involving contemporary artist books, and to assist artists in exhibiting, distributing and publishing artist books. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Physical processing and presentation <ul><li>Case Study: Booklyn Artist Alliance Decade Archive Project </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Process apx. 25 boxes of 10 years of institutional records, art works, books, photographs, and ephemera  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Team of 4 local professional archivists (hi Sarah G!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Divided work and volunteered our time once a week </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Created an DACS-based finding aid and presented booklyn with 3 bound copies and PDF file of the documentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Booklyn sent copies of the documentation to interested institutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Library of Congress is very interested in purchasing the archive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Our processing work and documentation helped sell </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 10. Digital organization and access <ul><li>Case Study: Drag King Digital Library  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drag kings are individuals who perform masculinity.  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You can think of them as the &quot;opposite of drag queens&quot; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performers all over the world with decades of documentation without a permanent/stable repository  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Many images and video on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a need to a central repository that is community owned and operated to preserve and provide access to their history  </li></ul></ul>
  9. 11. Digital organization and access <ul><li>Case Study: Drag King Digital Library   </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Goal is to collocate the physically dispersed collections into a central digital place.  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Running on open-source software (CollectiveAccess) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Images and video are donated by the DK community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Records are cataloged non-professionals around the country who receive minimal training on cataloging and Dublin Core standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The diversity of the content will be defined by its community. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12.
  11. 13. Creative Fundraising:  &quot;Archivist as Activist&quot; <ul><li>Case Study: Que(e)ry Party  </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Que(e)ry’s goals are: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to provide a safe and fun social space and to encourage community among queer information professionals and their friends; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to raise financial support and awareness for hidden queer library, archival and/or museum collections; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to celebrate the contributions of queer people to the cultural record and to the information professions; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to demystify and dispel stereotypes about libraries and librarians; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to highlight information policy issues affecting the queer community, such as censorship, discrimination, obscenity, or privacy. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Team of four librarians/archivists organize the parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We have raised over $5000 after only 2 events </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. Next party is this Friday - March 18, 2011 &quot;You don't have to be a queer librarian, you just have to dance with one!&quot;
  13. 15. Final thoughts <ul><ul><li>Is this the best approach for preserving the histories of under-represented populations?  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Should we leave it to big institutions like museums and universities?  </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It's hard to know, but at least these communities are preparing their histories and making them visible.   </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Through physical, digital, and creative means - professional archivists can provide guidance and support to their communities.  </li></ul></ul>
  14. 16. Thanks! <ul><li>Any questions?  </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>