Alongside this year’s Digital Preservation 2014 meeting, I am excited to announce that we will also be playing host to a CURATEcamp unconference focused on exploring the collecting, preserving and providing access to records of digital culture. For those unfamiliar with unconferences, the key idea is that the participants define the agenda and that there are no spectators, everyone who comes should plan on actively participating in and helping to lead discussions. Everybody who participates should come ready to work.
This year’s camp is co-hosted by the Catholic University of America’s Department of Library and Information Sciences and will take place at the Catholic University of America, Columbus Law School in Washington, DC, July 24th, 9:00 am- 4:00 pm.
Focus on Digital Culture
The particular topic for this year’s camp is digital culture. The web is a cultural platform. Across the web, a wide range of existing communities interact and express a diverse array of online communities have developed their own cultures. Unlike many other media, the participatory nature of the web has enabled a proliferation of the expression of these diverse cultures. As scholars increasingly turn to study this vernacular web, cultural heritage organizations responsible for collecting and preserving folklife and folklore need to develop plans and programs to collect and preserve records of these cultures and communities.
This unconference is co-unchaired by myself, Amanda Brennan and Trevor Blank. Amanda Brennan is an internet librarian who specializes in researching the history of memes and other viral content throughout the web. She is currently on the Content & Community team at Tumblr where she explores and evaluates trends throughout the network. Folklorist Trevor J. Blank is an assistant professor of communication at the State University of New York, where he researches the hybridization of folk culture in the digital age with a particular focus on emergent narrative genres and vernacular expression.
Venue: The Catholic University of America, Columbus Law School, 3600 John McCormick Rd. N.E., Washington, DC.
When: July 24th, 9:00 am- 4:00 pm.
Register: You can register for the meeting here. Note that the CURATEcamp is limited to the first 100 registrants.
This one day unconference will focus on exploring ideas and approaches to collecting and preserving digital culture both on and off the world wide web. Sessions might focus on, but are not limited to, the following potential issues:
- Collecting and preserving memes and image macros.
- Models for acquiring, preserving and exhibiting.
- Methods and techniques for crawling web forums, including ethnography, and ethical considerations.
- Issues related to selecting, i.e., identifying what is and what is not pertinent for preservation and analysis.
- Potential partnerships with artists, art collectives, virtual communities, folk-moderated websites and services, etc.
- Potential partnerships with internet researchers collecting materials for their own research.
- Models for partnerships between researchers and institutions to interpret and share digital culture collections.
- Issues in collecting and preserving fanfiction and other transformative works.
- Issues in storing and retrieving large data sets and multimedia in researcher- & user-friendly ways.
- Discussions of preservation formats, materials as records, as web archives, as data sets.
- Negotiating the researcher and preservationists’ role as both cultural consumer and objective collector and curator, or, eliminating institutional/curator bias.
- Accurately and dutifully portraying emic data, nuanced cultural artifices, and expressive scenes.
- Issues in rights and permissions for collectively authored content, including subsequent attribution.
- Vernacular curatorship of expressive material and institutional efforts to document and exhibit such work.
- The limits and possible new opportunities afforded by digital technologies in both preserving cultural data and making it meaningfully available for public consumption.
- What is lost and gained in the course of preserving and curating digital culture, and how it favorably compares or contrasts with existing models of preservation and curation implemented with corporeal subjects.
If you do register, please consider posting and sharing ideas about what you would like to discuss/focus on in sessions in the comments. Feel free to expand on/comment on any of the topics listed below or to share ideas for other topics all together.
If the focus of the upcoming CURATECamp is of interest, you might also be enjoy several Signal interviews that have touched on the topics mentioned:
- Born Digital Folklore and the Vernacular Web: An Interview with Robert Glenn Howard
- “Digital Culture is Mass Culture”: An interview with Digital Conservator Dragan Espenschied
- Sharing, Theft, and Creativity: deviantART’s Share Wars and How an Online Arts Community Thinks About Their Work
I am really looking forward to discussing how the unit of information is evolving in the new web age. Archivists and Librarians still think of a “Document” paradigm, for example Text (PDF, Word), Images (JPEG, TIFF), Audio (MP3 etc), AV (MP4, AVI, etc). These are the atomic units of information worthy of preservation. But how will this change as the web becomes the dominant publishing platform? And how will we preserve it?
A couple of years ago we won an award for Innovation which was presented by the Queen in the UK. I tried to explain what Digital Preservation was all about and she had that familiar glazed look in her eyes. All of a sudden the coin dropped and she asked “so, what do you archive now, is it Facebook, Twitter or hacked voicemails?”. If an 85 year old monarch can get it why can’t we.
I’m particularly interested in the documentation of the backchannels of campus life as they exist in public, online settings, as well as the practical, ethical and potential legal considerations of collecting those materials as an agent of an institution of higher education.
Session Proposal: What’s the difference between preservation and access, and why does it matter?
This is a bit more meta than the suggested topics, but lets run with it. It comes from a couple conversations I have had with people at #digpres14, and from a general tension I see about what to store and how to store it.
So. Anyone want to nail down some distinctions / differentiators between what’s preservation, and what’s collecting to make immediately available? What info needs to be gathered on one or the other side of the line (if there is a line)? What methodologies should be on the web that weren’t available to the brothers Grimm? If J. Grimm were here, at this unconference, knowing the available technologies, what would he say we should be gathering and how and why?
If someone wants to cos/role play Grimm, bonus points!