The comprehensive works of influential Urdu writer, social critic and political activist Sajjad Zaheer are now broadly accessible for scholarship and study thanks to a partnership between The University of Texas at Austin and Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD), with endorsement from the Indian writer’s estate.
“But now the survival of archives as we know them is uncertain. Whether we know it or not, we all rely on a patchwork of chronically underfunded public and private institutions that hold the world’s histories and cultural heritages in trust for all of us and make them accessible….
It was only a matter of time before the market figured out a way to manufacture and sell digital scarcity, and the marketplace for cultural objects has moved well past the archival ecosystem. Artists, gamers, entertainers, athletes, and executives now sell NFTs, tokenized digital objects whose authenticity is said to be assured by the reverse traceability of blockchain transactions. The combination of Covid-19 isolation and cryptocurrency profits created a powerful incentive for digital-positive collectors to compete for these NFTs, and some creators are raking in Ethereum….
Nothing could be a greater cultural and ethical shock to archives than NFTs. Prevailing archival ethics generally dictate that all users are treated equally, and that archival materials aren’t exposed or sold only to high bidders. And once archives select materials for retention, they consider themselves in most cases ethically bound to do so permanently….
As poor a fit with archival DNA as tokenizing archive collections as NFTs may be, the possibility of leveraging digital scarcity by selling NFTs while retaining physical materials is a hefty temptation. The archival world is a world of inadequate budgets and financial constraint, filled with underpaid workers and massive, poorly resourced projects like digital preservation, and the challenging task of digitizing analog materials. Will archives be tempted by the potential upside of NFTs and tokenize digital representations of their crown jewels (or the rights to these assets)? This would worsen an already bad situation…
One working solution is for cultural and historical institutions like archives to run their own trusted registries of digital objects. But this is expensive, and it creates further incentives for archives to monetize their holdings and become less accessible to noncommercial users, like genealogists, the group that uses archives more than anyone else. …”
To make all content across the Science family of journals more integrated, discoverable, and visually compelling for the reader, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals, will move its full suite of online content to Atypon’s online publishing platform, Literatum, in the summer of 2021.
“Recognizing We Here’s contribution to the library and archives community through the centering of Black and Indigenous folks and People of Color (BIPOC), SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has provided a $20,000 grant toward their publication up//root.
up//root: a we here publication, launched in 2020, is a publishing collective that exists to center the works, knowledge, and experiences of BIPOC within the context of the library and archives community. up//root is currently online and open access with goals of publishing in print in the future. …”
“On June 19, the reading rooms of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ARAN) reopened after months of inactivity. The archive’s director, Alexander Rabotkevich, told Meduza about the reopening.
“I am pleased to inform you that, beginning today, the reading rooms of the RAN archives in Moscow and St. Petersburg are open once again,” he said. “Our employees’ salaries have been paid in full, and all debts […] whose payment was necessary for the organization’s accounts to operate have been paid.” According to Rabotkevich, the debts that brought the archive’s operations to a stop amounted to 4.3 million rubles ($68,000). A subsidy from Russia’s Education Ministry helped the archive pay up….”
“A few years ago, SAA’s Publications Board started creating samplers. These are introductions to topics and SAA publications, whether to read on your own or used in a classroom. Two recent announcements about these samplers: they are now all open access and there’s a new one on social justice.
Archival Advocacy: Archivists must continually explain who they are, what they do, and why archives are important to society. The selected chapters in this sampler offer different approaches and techniques from three books which align with the core goal of advocating for archives.
Law and Ethics: All archivists will face legal or ethical concerns throughout their careers. In many cases, we are caught unaware, and pressure is escalated by time crunches or demanding patrons. The chapter from the three books represented here aim to equip archivists to handle these sorts of dilemmas as they arise, by presenting practical information drawn from real-life experiences of archivists.
Social Justice: As repositories of the objects that make up the historical record, archives have the potential to shape and define our collective understanding of the past. The selected chapters in this sampler consider personal and collective memory as well as examples of political influence over the historical record.”
“The British Museum was founded in 1753 by an act of Parliament and is the embodiment of Enlightenment idealism. In a revolutionary move, it was from its inception designed to be the collection of every citizen of the world, not a royal possession and not controlled by the state. Over the succeeding 260 plus years it has gathered and exhibited things from all over the globe – antiquities, coins, sculptures, drawings – and made them freely available to anyone who was able to come and see them. Millions have visited and learned, and have been inspired by what they saw. Today the Museum is probably the most comprehensive survey of the material culture of humanity in existence. The world today has changed; the way we access information has been revolutionised by digital technology. We live in a world where sharing knowledge has become easier, we can do extraordinary things with technology which enables us to give the Enlightenment ideal on which the Museum was founded a new reality. It is now possible to make our collection accessible, explorable and enjoyable not just for those who physically visit, but to everybody with a computer or a mobile device. Our partnership with Google allows us to further our own – extraordinary – mission: to be a Museum of and for the World, making the knowledge and culture of the whole of humanity open and available to all. But this isn’t just about putting the collection ‘online’. Through our partnership with Google, we hope to give people new ways to experience and enjoy the Museum, new ways to learn, new ways to share and new ways to teach. Thousands of objects from the Museum’s collection will be available to view through the Google Cultural Institute site and through a special microsite ‘The Museum of the World’ which will allow users to explore and make connections between the world’s cultures. One of the Museum’s most important Chinese scrolls, the 6th-century Admonitions Scroll has been captured in super high-resolution to give you a closer and more intimate view than could be achieved with the naked eye. We’ve captured the whole Museum via Street View, meaning that if you can’t get to the Museum in person, you can do a virtual walking tour of every permanent gallery, and all its outdoor buildings. And virtual exhibits allow you to see Celtic objects from across UK museums brought together in a unique tour, or a thematic exhibition detailing Egypt’s history after the pharaohs. None of this is to deny the power of seeing an object in the flesh in a gallery, nothing will replace that experience, but it does allow a far greater public access to the Museum and its unparalleled collection …”
“After a month of intense conversations and negotiations, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) will bring the ‘Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act’ up for mark-up on Wednesday, July 29th. The language that will be considered is an amended version of FASTR, officially known as the ‘Johnson-Carper Substitute Amendment,’ which was officially filed by the HSGAC leadership late on Friday afternoon, per committee rules. There are two major changes from the original bill language to be particularly aware of. Specifically, the amendment Replaces the six month embargo period with ‘no later than 12 months, but preferably sooner’ as anticipated; and Provides a mechanism for stakeholders to petition federal agencies to ‘adjust’ the embargo period if the12 months does not serve ‘the public, industries, and the scientific community.’ We understand that these modifications were made in order accomplish a number of things: Satisfy the requirement of a number of Members of HSGAC that the language more closely track that of the OSTP Directive; Meet the preference of the major U.S. higher education associations for a maximum 12 month embargo; Ensure that, for the first time, a number of scientific societies will drop their opposition for the bill; and Ensure that any petition process an agency may enable is focused on serving the interests of the public and the scientific community …”
“Impact is multi-dimensional, the routes by which impact occur are different across disciplines and sectors, and impact changes over time. Jane Tinkler argues that if institutions like HEFCE specify a narrow set of impact metrics, more harm than good would come to universities forced to limit their understanding of how research is making a difference. But qualitative and quantitative indicators continue to be an incredible source of learning for how impact works in each of our disciplines, locations or sectors.”
“Open access for monographs and book chapters is a relatively new area of publishing, and there are many ways of approaching it. With this in mind, a recent publication from the Wellcome Trust aims to provide some guidance for publishers to consider when developing policies and processes for open access books. The Wellcome Trust recognises that implementation around publishing monographs and book chapters open access is in flux, and invites publishers to email Cecy Marden at firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions for further guidance that would be useful to include in this document. ‘Open Access Monographs and Book Chapters: A practical guide for publishers’ is available to download as a pdf from the Wellcome Trust website.”