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The Brooklyn Ink Reports on OWS “Anarchivists”

January 29, 2012 Uncategorized Comments Off

An article published shortly after Christmas in The Brooklyn Ink caused a bit of a furor in late December between the various groups archiving Occupy Wall Street. The headline casts the working group as “Anarchivists” (a term only one member uses) and sports a very odd MindNode¬†chart that appears to be intentionally cluttered and lacking in usefulness for no other reason than to convey disorder.

Activist Archivist adviser, Howard Besser, was interviewed by the author, Hiten Samtani, in November and found the results of their discussion bewildering. Below is from an email he sent to our group shortly after publication, posted by permission:

“I don’t know quite what to make of the article that appeared today on archiving of Occupy Wall Street. He (Samtani) did a very good job of articulating that archives themselves reflect the bias of the “winners”, those in power, those who are prominent. But until the last paragraph he didn’t even refer to the fact that people can read archives in ways that are counter to that dominant narrative. (Nor did he include my point that, as long as wide swaths of materials are collected, future researchers will be able to re-balance the bias of the archive, particularly in a digital world where one can create multiple finding aids with multiple viewpoints.) The obvious example from our world is that if an archive actually collected Orphan works, future generations find them and bring them to prominence.

I’m also a bit perturbed that he focused so much on my remarks bitching about the mistakes that the analog OWS archivists made in articulating their points to the General Assembly. I certainly said what he attributed to me, but I also put this into the context of a much more widespread issue (passionate people thinking that others will share their passion without having to articulate the reasons why they’re passionate). And these remarks only took up a few minutes of an hour+ interview, where I talked a lot about all the interesting OWS archiving sub-projects being undertaking both by MIAP-ers and others across the country.

He also missed the irony in the photo of myself that he asked me to send him. I was in front of a “Guy Fawkes” store in the UK, but he cropped that out. Finally, that diagram is certainly strange!”


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.


HuffPo reports on institutional interest in OWS

December 29, 2011 Uncategorized Comments Off

There has been a recent spate of mainstream articles regarding the interest of collecting institutions in Occupy Wall Street. This one, written by Christian Salazar and Randy Herschaft,  appeared on Christmas Eve in the Huffington Post and offers a rundown on the landscape:

“Much of the frenzied collection by institutions began in the early weeks of the protests. In part, they were seeking to collect and preserve as insurance against the possibility history might be lost ‚Äď not an unusual stance by archivists.

What appears to be different is the level of interest from mainstream institutions across a wide geographic spectrum and the new digital-only ventures that have sprung up to preserve the movement’s online history.”

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The Economist reports on Occupy Archive

December 20, 2011 Uncategorized Comments Off

The Economist spoke with Sharon Leon, director of the Center for the History of New Media, an ActArc collaborator, regarding the center’s Occupy Archive:

‚ÄúWhat we‚Äôre doing is preserving a post-print movement,‚ÄĚ Ms Leon says. She expects the site will be useful for future historians of social movements. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs hard to tell what scholarly output will be in the end, but we felt the Occupy protests were large enough to preserve them.‚ÄĚ

Full Link:


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 ‚ÄĒ 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.