Archiving isn’t just about the old stuff, it is also about the now. You can archive as you go by being involved in the creation stage.
Here are some ideas to get you started!
Set up Activist Archivist Backpacks
Supporters can capture and gather videos, interviews, images, stories, stickers, posters, etc at protests or particular movement moments. Items to put in the backpack may include:
- Notepad and pen
- Camera and/or smartphone
- Microphone and recording equipment
- Thumb drive or hard drive (to copy digital files between devices)
- Tip sheets
- Thank you cards for people you may interview
- Business cards or explanatory fliers for new contacts
- Consent forms
- Scanner (or use a smartphone scanner app)
- Weather proof zip lock bags and/or document wallets
- Rain jacket
This idea came from a project: Backpack-Sized Archiving Kit Empowers Community Historians to Record Local Narratives.
Hold an Archivist Hackathon or Editathon
- Invite people to remix and adapt your group/organisation’s resources into something new.
- Create a space, online or in person, for people to play, innovate and problem-solve with your archives to make new content such as the Interference Archive do.
- Create educational materials such as Amnesty’s resources for schools.
- Rewrite history! Fill in the gaps in Wikipedia by holding an event such as this Feminist Edit-a-thon held a few years ago. Here are Tips for Planning a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon,
- Gather audio to create new podcasts or audio for a radio show such as 3CR’s radio show on the last 40 years of blockading songs.
- Remix old footage and create a new video such as with 350.org video archives who make their videos available to use.
- Use sound archives to make a sound trail such as A Walking Tour of Unemployed Resistance in Brunswick.
- Capture the story of the campaign in a book such as James Price Point: The story of a movement or write a book in 5 days using a platform such as Booksprints.
Crowdsource your archives
Set up an online archive and invite the community to tell their own stories. Examples include the US Occupy movement and Ferguson Uprising. This has been done using opensource, free software such as Omeka. See Crowdsource your archives: Community-based approaches to archives.
Images, images and images…
- Have images uploaded from different people and groups to a central place using a platform such as Flickr. 350.org and Lock the Gate Alliance do this well.
- Grab images that capture your movement such as batch downloading creative commons photos off Flickr using Bulkr.
- There are many generous photographers such as Julian Meehan and John Englart (Takver) who have captured movement moments, posted them on Flickr, and made them available under Creative Commons licences.
Grab it before it’s gone: Social media archiving
With the ephemeral nature of social media and media platforms, such as YouTube, you may want to think about archiving your social media and videos now. See Tips and tools for archiving video and social media.
Collaborate and find a partner
You don’t always have to do everything on your own! A good question to ask is – What’s already out there? Is there a chance to add to or become part of a library, centre, collection, or website that’s already established? There are many not for profits and collections that have partnered with institutions such as libraries, universities and archives to create and/or look after their archives. For example:
- Aboriginal History Archive – Victoria University
- The Australian Conservation Foundation archives – National Library of Australia
- Total Environment Centre NSW archives – State Library of NSW
- Occupy Vancouver special collection – Simon Fraser University
- Amnesty International archives – Columbia University
Utilise Legal Deposit in Australia
In Australia, there are libraries that will take care of your resources both hard copy and online. This system is called Legal Deposit which is a legal requirement for Australian publishers (this includes not for profits) to forward a copy of your publication(s) to the National Library of Australia and your state library. Most people don’t know this and there are no legal deposit police lurking in the corner. The process of legal deposit is easy – one can do it online or send in hard copies.
- To get started visit this website on legal deposit from the National Library of Australia about how and what to send.
- Electronic resources: Set up a National Edeposit Account and start depositing your e-resources.
- Hard copies: Start collating your hard copy publications, ephemera such as stickers, posters, brochures, etc. into a box and when it is full send if off the National Library of Australia and your state library.
- Set up a staff/volunteer role to be in charge of legal deposit.
Have any good ideas to add? What do you do? Send us your practices and ideas so we can share them.