Our first event for the AoDL meetup group will be held on 16th February from 6.30pm - 8pm at the Photographers’ Gallery offices, 9 William Road, NW1 3ER on the topic of ‘Open Archiving’.
From its first public emergence in the early 1990s, the internet has had a dramatic influence on notions of archiving. The ability to digitise, tag and categorise offline content and collections, and make these available online, ensured that archives enjoyed top billing whenever and wherever the internet was discussed. Fifteen years on, and the promise of those early days has materialised in surprising ways. Not only have analogue archives been digitised and opened up, but the relationship between archivist and user has been blurred. Fans - always already obsessive archivists; collecting publications, programs and ephemera using personalised systems - now find themselves connecting online, assuming the role of distributed archivists, caretakers of a kind. Documentation of art forms is likewise being effected: where once an audience member would have been thrown out for taking a photograph of a production, now they can video, geo-locate, copy/paste, audio record and distribute material to their very own audience. IPR issues notwithstanding, cultural institutions are finding ways to embrace this engagement with their ‘cultural assets’.
One of the longest established, most socially cherished archival forms is the library. This too has been subject to intense pressure as local councils and nation states respond to the opportunities, threats and new user expectations introduced by the net. New, user-centred forms of engagement - like UnLibraries or LibraryThing, through which networks of book lovers share, discuss and collectively categorise their collections - offer means by which libraries might be bolstered or, indeed, undone - as governments search for ways to cut public expenditure and harness self-organisation.
During past AoDL events, we have explored these ongoing tensions, looking at new hybrid libraries, which seek to support and expand upon the characteristics of existing institutions (of silence, shared work, concentration and research) to create archival forms more in keeping with day to day experience of the net. In this session we hope to continue the conversation, looking at a variety of collaborative, distributed engagement with collections and asking whether the category of ‘born-digital content’ makes a radically different set of demands.
If you would like to come along and take part in the meetup group then please RSVP below. If you have any further questions about this meetup group or the Art of Digital London programme then please contact [masked] for more information.
OpenMute co-organise the AoDL meetup group in partnership with the Photographers' Gallery.