Holiday Break! Happy Holidays!

23 December 2008

Before Archives*Open closes its access doors for the next few days (I'm giving the elves a break to help a certain someone just north of here), I want to take this opportunity to thank the archivists, records managers, content analysts, librarians, and other information professionals who visited Archives*Open, from those arriving from Arcan-L and the SAA listserv to those arriving from Twitter and Google searchers and blogosphere world of mouth.

I feel encouraged with the positive response, feedback and comments, and the amount of traffic the blog has received in only two weeks since launching (430+ visitors) is astonishing.

Let 2009 be a year of growth for professionals interested in Web 2.0, Archives 2.0 and access to archival materials.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


Call for Content

18 December 2008

There is an urgent need for content!

Archives*Open is looking for content, and you can help!

Here's what we are looking for:
  1. Your archives projects that are using Web 2.0 technology. What technologically innovative project will you be working on in the New Year? What are you launching in the New Year? Let us know. Leave a comment or send an email to with the following information: Your name or the name of your institution, name of your project, and a URL. Archives*Open will share it with its readers.

  2. Your opinions, positive or negative, about technology and archives, particularly the Web 2.0 technologies and social media technologies that are transforming other sectors and industries. What do think about starting a blog? Could a wiki be in your future? Do you have ideas how archivists could use podcasting and videocasting (audio and video) in their outreach activities. Or, do you think all this Web 2.0 is a bunch of techno-babble nonsense?Just leave a comment or send an email to
The technologies and tools associated with Web 2.0 are vast; but applied properly, we feel, they can transform and provide a new level of interaction and access to archival materials, which is what Archives*Open hopes to chronicle in collaboration with its readers.

Kate over at ArchivesNext has dedicated several thoughtful blog posts to Web 2.0 (or more specifically and more accurately to Archives 2.0).

In one post, for example, she lists several archival Web 2.0 projects. A very good read and an excellent primer.

Finally, Kate wrote a profound remark on Archives 2.0, which I hope, if you have not already read it, will hopefully stir your thoughts and inspire you further.

If the archival profession is to successfully make the transition out of the 20th century, it will need to recognize that what gives an archives value is how it is used. In the last century, an archives may have derived status from the materials it preserved; in this century, it will derive value from the materials it provides access to–and that access will have to be online.

Thank you for visiting Archives*Open and/or subscribing to Archives*Open's feed and for making Archives*Open part of your daily or weekly reading--and become part of the community by submitting your stories, your projects, and your opinions.


Around the Web - December 17, 2008

This week on Around the Web, Elizabeth Lomas, a researcher from the School of Computing, Engineering and Information Sciences at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom, emailed Archives*Open some interesting information about a UK based records management project that is seeking international participants, who will eventually be connected virtually, "to look at RM and wider information issues to maximise information potential for computer mediated communications, which includes email but also lots of other technologies such as Web 2.0 ones."

This is Ms. Lomas' full description of the project:
Call for virtual co-researchers

I am putting out a call for international co-researchers to take part in a co-operative action research inquiry aimed at critically evaluating how to maximise organisation's information potential for communications created through computer mediated technologies (email, Facebook, wikis - any system with dialogue potential), taking into account the impact of the individual.

The research will commence in February 2009 and will be undertaken through virtual discussions and online collaboration using a closed site set up on the web. Each participant has the power to influence the direction of the research.

The research is a UK Northumbria University records management project, although the work is looking at wider information issues in order to evaluate the research aim. There are currently 50 UK participants engaged in the research, consisting of archivists, designers, knowledge managers, psychologists, records managers and communication enthusiasts. The groups will ultimately join up virtually.

If you would like further information then please contact me.

What is of particular interest to Archives*Open is the fact that this project is seeking to build on the expertise of those in different fields of study and to have them collaborate, ultimately, in a virtual environment. Essentially, a community of researchers with different backgrounds collaborating virtually towards a common goal. I am interested in learning more about Ms. Lomas' plans to implement a virtual collaborative environment, such as the kinds of web-based tools or services.  

Since so much of what we do on the Web ultimately finds an international audience, there is merit and much wisdom is seeking collaboration internationally. We certainly have so much to share amongst ourselves.

Around the Web is a community-driven series of blog posts. It endeavours to serve as a platform where archivists and other information professionals submit information about archival projects that are using Web 2.0, or, alternatively, where archivists and other information professionals submit opinions, comments on Web 2.0 in an archives environment. Let's generate some useful discussion threads. Please send Archives*Open your stories and opinions.


Collaborative Effort Revives The British Colonist

12 December 2008

From Arcan-L, posted on December 12, 2008, by Lara J. Wilson of the University of Victoria Libraries (British Columbia, Canada), a press release announcing the launch of The British Colonist, a new digitized resource:

Old News Pages Offer New Insights

UVic and the Times Colonist make it easier to search BC’s past online

There are no more trips to the library, squinting at years of microfiche, for those who are interested in BC’s history. Thanks to a partnership between the University of Victoria and the Victoria Times Colonist, the world can now search through historic editions of the newspaper online.

The website,, is officially launched today. It contains issues of the British Colonist, which is one of the oldest daily newspapers in Western Canada, and one of the best records of colonial BC. Every page of every issue between the first one, on December 11, 1858, and the end of June 1910 is now online—a total of 100,544 pages.

Wilson explains that this resource "will be a boon to many researchers (genealogists, students, educators, historians) seeking information and insight into this period of European settlement and establishment of the province."

With over 100 000 pages to search, I certainly agree.

However, nothing of this magnitude is done successfully without partnerships: Several institutions collaborated to make this resource a reality, including the UVic Libraries & Special Collections, the Victoria Times-Colonist, and the Irving K. Barber Centre of the University of British Columbia.


More on Flickr...From the Library of Congress

11 December 2008

The Library of Congress has been busy with Flickr, uploading digitized photographs and allowing users to participate in commenting, tagging, and even in some cases identifying photographs. A report was released evaluating the project and making future recommendations. 

From the Library of Congress' Blog:
Only nine months into the Library of Congress’ pilot project placing Library photos on the Web site Flickr, the photos have drawn more than 10 million views, 7,166 comments and more than 67,000 tags, according to a new report from the project team overseeing the lively project.

“The popularity and impact of the pilot have been remarkable,” said Michelle Springer, project manager for digital initiatives in the Office of Strategic Initiatives, who said total views reached 10 million in October. The site is averaging 500,000 views a month, she said, adding that Flickr members have marked 79 percent of the photos as “favorites.”

The report recommends that the Library of Congress continue to participate in The Commons and explore other Web 2.0 communities.

The pilot launched early this year.

You can read the full story on the Library of Congress' Blog.


Archives*Open is on Twitter

If you use Twitter, there is a new 'person' to follow:

Follow Archives*Open and receive tweets (updates) whenever a new blog post is published. Also, once you follow Archives*Open, feel free to send tweets about your current archival projects, archives-related news and tips, or your feedback.

Happy Twittering!


Around the Web - December 11, 2008

This is the inaugural Around the Web weekly blog post, where I highlight Web 2.0 archival projects that the community of Archives*Open readers have submitted. Feel free to do the same by adding a comment (with your name or the name of your institution, project name, and URL) or sending the same information via email to

Overall, the response to Archives*Open has been very positive.

Thank you all for your feedback.

Around the Web - December 11, 2008
Flickr, one of the most popular photo management and photo sharing websites, which was bought by Yahoo! a few years ago, is a great place to showcase your photos without the headache of building the technical infrastructure yourself.

Besides being a really easy to use service (there is a free and a paid version), Flickr enables users to add notes to pictures (identify people in pictures), tag pictures with metadata (folksonomy), and comment. Build communities and connect with others who share in your photographic interests.


University of Manitoba Demystifies the Archives

09 December 2008

From Arcan-L, the Canadian archival listserv, Shelly Sweeney of the University of Manitoba Archives and Special Collections writes:

We are thrilled to announce (okay, we are always thrilled to announce) that we have produced a 4+ minute video on how to use University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.  For viewing, please see: 

Reaction from student focus groups has been very positive.  I should point out two things: the first is that there is an error in the video.  No need to tell us, we’re aware of it and are trying to decide whether it’s worth it to try and correct it.  (See if you can spot it.)  The second is that no archives were harmed in the making of this video.
The explosion of online video, as evidenced by the popularity of such websites as YouTube and Viddler, clearly shows the power and impact of video on society. As per the Archives, in order to reach (and teach) a generation that is highly visual in its communication habits, the use of video to demystify the archives is a brilliant idea. Kudos to the University of Manitoba.

UPDATE 22/12/2008: In case you are wondering what was the error in the video, Shelley Sweeney recently revealed the gaffe:
So while the lack of gloves might be considered an error, the one we were thinking of is that one of the researchers places three photographs on the photocopier just as the voiceover is saying you may use a camera without a flash!


Welcome to Archives*Open

03 December 2008

The paint is still drying and the chrome still needs a bit more polishing, but I am nonetheless ready to launch Archives*Open, a blog about archives, access, community, and the web, where we serve as a platform for archivists and other professionals in the field to announce their Web 2.0 archival projects.

This makes this blog not only a promotional platform, but also a source of inspiration for others thinking about embarking on technologically innovative, educational and fun projects that promote community access to archival material and effectively bring the community closer to archival material in a digital environment.

If your archives is launching:

  • An interactive website
  • An online gallery
  • A blog
  • A micro-blogging account such as those found on Twitter
  • A wiki
  • A podcast
  • A mashup
  • A virtual place in Second Life
  • An online community on a social networking website such as Facebook
  • ...or any other cool, innovative use of technology...
Leave a comment with your name (personal or corporate), project title, and a URL.

Or, contact me:

Spread the word: Archives*Open is open.


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