Message to Readers

19 January 2009

The following excerpt was taken from a blog post I published on The DIGITAL Archive, my other blog. It discusses the future of Archives*Open in light of recent changes in my professional life.

When I launched Archives*Open back in early December, I was inspired and energized and greatly encouraged by the positive feedback and comments.

Today, I still feel inspired and energized. But now, with a new job starting imminently, I wonder if I can honestly maintain energy levels.

I hate to see a bright idea dim.

So in an effort to keep things moving I am making Archives*Open more, well, open, leveraging tools, technologies and services that are freely available on the Web to push content to the blog - with some editorial assistance on my part.

For example, I have started using a Twitter service called Twitterfeed, which takes RSS feeds (title and description fields only) and tweets them to a Twitter account. Regarding the Archives*Open twitter feed (@archivesopen), I am creating search parameters that encompass archives, access and Web 2.0 and saving them as RSS feeds and then running them through Twitterfeed to the @archivesopen Twitter account.

I have done something similar with Delicious, the social bookmarking service. Every time I find a website that fits 'the Web 2.0/innovative access to archival materials' classification, I tag it with "archivesopen" (no quotation marks, natch) and in time the bookmark (short blurb and URL) will be tweeted.

You can join in as well.

If you have a Delicious account, you can tag websites with "archivesopen." Fingers crossed, the bookmark will be tweeted via the Archives*Open Twitter feed.

As I reaffirm here, I am still invigorated by both the concept and mission behind the blog as well as by the positive feedback and contributions received from readers. Giving Access to the Masses is still the goal.

By using current and emerging Web technologies to raise public awareness, educate, and provide improved and enhanced public access to archives and archival materials, I firmly believe we can inspire people, giving them the means to fully appreciate archives and even partake in the profession as "citizen archivists," as Rory Litwin writes in his book review of Richard J. Cox's latest book. And, perhaps, in so doing, even uplift our own spirits. Archives are not about old dusty long-forgotten things; they are stories that recount the past, frame our present, and possess our futures.

This is not the end of Archives*Open, but rather a re-structuring of forthcoming plans, including the amount of time I will dedicate to the blog. Thank you all for reading, following, and contributing to Archives*Open. Stay tuned. There's more to come.

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