Week 2.2 – Digital Archives and Digitizing Sources

Preserving, curating, and aggregating data are three of the main practices of archiving.  Preserving data is taking care of the data.  Making it last as long as possible. Some one who curates data is the keeper, or guardian of the data.  They will find ways to share it with the public, while making sure that it does not get damaged.  They are in charge of obtaining, presenting and preserving it while it is still wanted.  While aggregating data is the collecting and figuring out what data to use.  The main challenges of all three of thee practices is funds and interest in the subject matter. If there are no funds it is difficult to do anything with  any data already collected and hard to go about getting more.  While interest is why people look for and collect data in the first place, if there is not interest it is either going to be thrown out or put in a box some where and forgotten about.

I believe that copyright is one of the big tensions present in digital archiving.  Who can access the data, who has to pay to see the data, waiting for the copyright to expire for people to be able to access something easily.  Google Books is a good example they have been able to put a huge amount of books online, but they have many others that they have not been able to put up or make search able because they are copyrighted and I find that usually these are the books that people most want to see.

I think that digitally preserving and documenting my family history would be an interesting but tedious and slightly difficult undertaking.  For one thing it would be very difficult to figure out who to include, just those one one side of the family, all of the people who are related to those who are related by marriage, just the immediate family of those who I consider family, only those with the same last name, or everyone who has even the slightest familial connection.  I think that sharing all of the family history would be interesting, but I know that there are parts of peoples lives that they do not want out in public view so I think that, of the people who are alive sharing just what they feel comfortable with, as well as anything they could remember about any that are dead.     I think that I would organize it both chronologically and by category, and that pictures and oral histories would be the main focus where possible. I would make the collection easily contribute-able as hearing stories from people who knew someone but are not related is a good way to gain perspective, and I know that my grandparents have a lot of stories that they like to share about other people that they met and how the other touched their lives.

Knowing that archivists’ time and preservation resources aren’t unlimited, I know that they have to determine which materials or websites should be preserved.  However, I find my self in the mindset of a hoarder and saying that they should find a way to preserve everything they can get their hands on.  Alas, I am more practical than that and find my self swaying more towards the political and cultural materials and websites, the ones that are well written and readable(not filled with spelling and grammar issues and not in texting spelling).

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