48. On Planetary in 2020: curatorial activism and open sourcing in service of digital preservation – Fresh and New

“Perhaps the most experimental aspect of Planetary’s acquisition was the fact that the museum released the source code online with an open license, allowing anyone to copy the code and modify it and adapt their copy to suit their interests. The intention of open-sourcing the code was to open the door to passionate fans of Planetary so they could aid in its long-term preservation and maintenance….

The longer term value of open sourcing the code, rather than inheriting the default closed source model (which is the case with almost all software acquisitions into museum collections) also lies in clarity that it provides for future generations….

During the acquisition process of Planetary, substantial work was done with Smithsonian’s General Counsel and the developers formerly Bloom LLC, to enable the open sourcing which has overall benefits for future preservation activities. The generosity of the developers and their efforts to prepare the source for release cannot be underestimated. By defaulting to open source at the time of acquisition means that future presertvation or presentation activities, emulation or other efforts cannot be stymied in the future by more conservative legal counsel, curators, or conservators at the museum….”

GitHub Archive Program: the journey of the world’s open source code to the Arctic – The GitHub Blog

“At GitHub Universe 2019, we introduced the GitHub Archive Program along with the GitHub Arctic Code Vault. Our mission is to preserve open source software for future generations by storing your code in an archive built to last a thousand years.

On February 2, 2020, we took a snapshot of all active public repositories on GitHub to archive in the vault. Over the last several months, our archive partners Piql, wrote 21TB of repository data to 186 reels of piqlFilm (digital photosensitive archival film). Our original plan was for our team to fly to Norway and personally escort the world’s open source code to the Arctic, but as the world continues to endure a global pandemic, we had to adjust our plans. We stayed in close contact with our partners, waiting for the time when it was safe for them to travel to Svalbard. We’re happy to report that the code was successfully deposited in the Arctic Code Vault on July 8, 2020. …”

Endangered Archives Programme |

“The Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) facilitates the digitisation of archives around the world that are in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration. Thanks to generous funding from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, we have provided grants to more than 400 projects in 90 countries worldwide, in over 100 languages and scripts.

Since 2004, the Programme has digitised over eight million images and 25,000 sound tracks. Archive types digitised so far include rare printed sources, manuscripts, visual materials, audio recordings. This continually expanding online collection is available freely through local archival partners, this website and it is discoverable via the British Library catalogue, for research, inspiration and enjoyment….”

Premier Religious School Donates Quarter of a Million Volumes to Internet Archive’s Open Library – Internet Archive Blogs

“Scholars will soon have online access to 250,000 research volumes from a premier theological school, thanks to a donation from the Claremont School of Theology to the Internet Archive. 

Strengths of the collection include Comparative Theology and Philosophy, Feminist Theology, and Afro-Carribean spirituality. In addition to the 250,000 volumes, the library is donating its Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection, the world’s largest collection of images of ancient religious (Jewish and Christian, biblical and extra-biblical) manuscripts, currently housed on microfilm. Half to three quarters of the collection contains images of manuscripts which are not currently available on the web from any provider. …

So the Board of Trustees authorized a donation to the Internet Archive so the 250,000 piece collection could be placed in the Internet Archive’s Open Library for controlled digital lending, and the Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection can be mobilized and made available online. The Internet Archive will find funding for the digitization and long-term preservation of the collections. …”

Premier Religious School Donates Quarter of a Million Volumes to Internet Archive’s Open Library – Internet Archive Blogs

“Scholars will soon have online access to 250,000 research volumes from a premier theological school, thanks to a donation from the Claremont School of Theology to the Internet Archive. 

Strengths of the collection include Comparative Theology and Philosophy, Feminist Theology, and Afro-Carribean spirituality. In addition to the 250,000 volumes, the library is donating its Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection, the world’s largest collection of images of ancient religious (Jewish and Christian, biblical and extra-biblical) manuscripts, currently housed on microfilm. Half to three quarters of the collection contains images of manuscripts which are not currently available on the web from any provider. …

So the Board of Trustees authorized a donation to the Internet Archive so the 250,000 piece collection could be placed in the Internet Archive’s Open Library for controlled digital lending, and the Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Collection can be mobilized and made available online. The Internet Archive will find funding for the digitization and long-term preservation of the collections. …”

Passenger Pigeon Manifesto – A call to GLAMs – Google Docs

“A call to public GLAM institutions to liberate our cultural heritage. Illustrated with the cautionary tales of extinct animals and our lack of access to what remains of them….

We are supposed to learn from history yet we don’t have access to it. Historical photographs of extinct animals are among the most important artefacts to teach and inform about human impact on nature. But where to look when one wants to see all that is left of these beings? Where can I access all the extant photos of the thylacine or the passenger pigeon?

Historical photos are kept by archives, libraries, museums. Preservation, which is the goal of cultural institutions, means ensuring not only the existence of but the access to historical material. It is the opposite of owning: it’s sustainable sharing. Similarly, conservation is not capturing and caging but providing the conditions and freedom to live.

In reality, most historical photos are not freely available to the public – despite being in public domain. We might be able to see thumbnails or medium size previews scattered in numerous online catalogs but most of the time we don’t get to see them in full quality and detail. In general, they are hidden, the memory of their existence slowly going extinct.

The knowledge and efforts of these institutions are crucial in tending our cultural landscape but they cannot become prisons to our history. Instead of claiming ownership, their task is to provide unrestricted access and free use.

In reality, most historical photos are not freely available to the public – despite being in public domain. We might be able to see thumbnails or medium size previews scattered in numerous online catalogs but most of the time we don’t get to see them in full quality and detail. In general, they are hidden, the memory of their existence slowly going extinct….”

Public Knowledge | The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

“Public Knowledge supports the creation and preservation of our cultural record—the vast and ever-growing historical archive that helps us explore and better understand our intertwined humanity. Our goal is to increase equitable access to deep knowledge—from scholarly texts to community collections—that helps  build an informed, culturally diverse, and civically engaged society.

We work with archives, presses, and a range of university, public, and other local, national, and global libraries that are foundational to knowledge production and distribution. We prioritize grantmaking that supports the innovative maintenance of technology, tools, and infrastructure for content related to our social justice orientation, expands digital inclusion, and focuses on the preservation of materials from historically underrepresented and underfunded cultures and populations.

In collaboration with our grantees and funding partners, we aspire to cultivate networked resources, services, and collections, and to ensure that more authentic, reflective, complex, and nuanced stories are revealed, preserved, and told.”

How Can You Help the Internet Archive? – Internet Archive Blogs

“With the Internet Archive in the news for the past couple of weeks being mentioned prominently, we’ve had thousands of people discuss us in social media, and contact us directly with strong concerns and worries.

Above all, many want, in some way, to “help” and have asked us what they can do, if anything.

While your donations during this time have been appreciated, there’s actually many things you can do beyond that, which will have a lasting effect….”