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Why Archive?

October 19, 2012 Resources No Comments

We are proud to announce that the WHY ARCHIVE? card has gone live. This project was begun with the help of the Internet Archive’s Rick Prelinger, who also wrote the initial text. Designed and edited by the Activist Archivists and members of the OWS Archive working group, the card spells out the importance of groups taking responsibility for the record of their activity in simple terms. Enlisting the help of communities in the process of saving their own history is vitally important, and it is hoped that this can act as an aid to making that case. These are meant to be general guidelines, and we urge prospective users to edit the content as they see fit in order to be of best use for their particular situation. While we do not require any sort of attribution, we would love to receive feedback on the ways in which the card is helping to make the argument for the importance of archiving on the community level. Click HERE to download your own copy.



ACCOUNTABILITY: Archives collect evidence that can hold those in power accountable.

ACCESSIBILITY: Archives make the rich record of our movements accessible. We can use them to ensure transparency, generate discussion, and enable direct action.

SELF-DETERMINATION: We define our own movements. We need to create and maintain our own historical record.

EDUCATION:  Today’s videos, flyers, webpages, and signs are material for tomorrow’s skill-shares, classes, and mobilizations.

CONTINUITY:  Just as past movements inspire us, new activists will learn from the experiences we document.


Preservation Week 2012: ActArc Presentation Video Clips

July 1, 2012 Resources No Comments

In April, Activist Archivists participated in the American Library Association’s Preservation Week by hosting a presentation on archiving Occupy Wall Street. Many of you expressed regret that you were unable to attend, but fear not! Four of the six presentations are available at Archive.Org for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to share and share alike.

Also check out the Library of Congress blog on Preservation Week, ActArcs get a shoutout! http://blogs.loc.gov/digitalpreservation/2012/05/librarians-helping-their-communities-with-personal-digital-archiving/

“Why Archive?” / Activist Archivists (Preservation Week 2012) – Kelly Haydon

Kelly introduces the evening by presenting the “Why Archive” video, which will be available for distribution in a few weeks.  She also gives a brief talk on some of the lessons learned from working with Occupy Wall Street activists.


Embedded Technical Metadata (Preservation Week 2012) – Rufus de Rham

Technical Metadata expert, Rufus gives an overview of his research on what happens to embedded technical metadata when a video is uploaded to Youtube, Vimeo and Internet Archive.


7 Tips to Ensure You Video is Usable in the Long Term (Preservation Week 2012) – Yvonne Ng

Yvonne, archivist for Witness.Org, explains ActArcs guidelines for creating a video record that lasts.


Collecting OWS Media (Preservation Week 2012) – Dan Erdman and Marie Lascu

Dan and Marie present on the challenges institutions have had responsibly collecting OWS video.


The Digital Dilemma 2

January 29, 2012 Resources Comments Off

The Science and Technology Council of the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scientists published their second report on the issues that face filmmakers in the digital age, “The Digital Dilemma 2″.

A good overview of the report can be found in a recent report by Variety:

Preserving movies is an ongoing issue for the entire industry, but a new report from the Acad warns that movies shot or finished digitally face a lifespan so short they can be lost even before they get distribution. Worse, indie and docu filmmakers, whose work is most vulnerable to this risk, seem oblivious to the danger.

Click here to request a free download of The Digital Dilemma 2.


Creative Commons Licensing

January 22, 2012 Resources Comments Off

From Creative Commons Mission Statement: “The idea of universal access to research, education, and culture is made possible by the Internet, but our legal and social systems don’t always allow that idea to be realized. Copyright was created long before the emergence of the Internet, and can make it hard to legally perform actions we take for granted on the network: copy, paste, edit source, and post to the Web. The default setting of copyright law requires all of these actions to have explicit permission, granted in advance, whether you’re an artist, teacher, scientist, librarian, policymaker, or just a regular user. To achieve the vision of universal access, someone needed to provide a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws. ”



7 Tips to Ensure Your Video Is Usable in the Long Term

December 3, 2011 Projects, Resources No Comments

In collaboration with Witness, Activist Archivists have compiled a set of tips for video activists can take to ensure their work will be discoverable over time.

Tips for Making Your Videos Discoverable and Usable in the Long Term

 1. Collect details while filming. Turn on date, time, and location capturing features on your camera, or film a piece of paper with this information written on it. Record noteworthy pieces of information like street signs, clocks, badge numbers, or state them verbally on camera. Record names and consents on camera or in a separate document, if safe to do so.

2. Keep your original raw footage, unaltered. If your video might have legal evidentiary value, keep your original raw footage, even after it has been uploaded. Organize your offloaded material (e.g. by date and/or creator), but do not delete or alter the original filenames or directory structure. Make a backup on a separate medium. Keep this material secure.

3. Make your video discoverable. If safe to do so, upload copies of your video or share as a torrent. The key is to make your video findable by others. Make your titles descriptive (e.g. name of event, date, location). Tag your video with OWS, OccupyWallStreet, and other keywords — search for videos like yours to see what tags others are already using.

 4. Contextualize it. Your uploaded video is more useful if people know what it’s about. Use description fields to describe what happened before, during and after the event depicted. Include names, dates, and specific locations. Add a URL for a relevant website leading to further information.

5. Make it verifiable. Enhance the verifiability of your video. Tag and describe your video (points 3 & 4 above) so that it can be easily compared with other documentation of the same event. Consider upload sites that allow you to upload/share untranscoded files (e.g. torrents, Internet Archive), or that allow you to be contacted (e.g.Vimeo).

6. Allow others to collect and archive. Share your uploaded videos using a Creative Commons license. Archives around the world are scraping videos from upload sites for safekeeping, but usually only ones they can legally collect. Consider depositing your original raw footage with a trustworthy archive. If your video has evidentiary value, a trusted archive can help maintain a reliable chain of custody.

7. Or archive it yourself. There are many benefits to working with an established archive, but if you want to do it yourself: 1) Save the original footage or the highest quality output, 2) Document the footage/videos with descriptive information, 3) Organize your videos by date or source, 4) Make back up copies on quality hard drives, stored in separate locations, 5) Check your saved files at least once a year. See the Library of Congress’s Personal Archiving site for more information.