Here are some questions that I see from time to time, as well as some questions that I imagine people might have when they stumble upon this blog.
This is called “Start an Archives,” but it’s not what I expected. What is this?
This is a blog about starting an archives from scratch, with an emphasis on collections that would otherwise not be collected. There are plenty of good resources for starting archival programs within colleges, universities, businesses and other organizations. The focus on this blog is for folks collecting what they love; collecting what would ordinarily fall between the cracks of collecting institutions. Love the protest community community in your area? Interested in keeping the play bills of the local theater groups? You get the idea.
Also, if you’re confused about the ‘s’ on the end, see this post here.
You don’t seem to write on this blog very often. What gives? Is this defunct?
Much of what is written here comes directly from work in community collections. Sometimes there’s not much to write. During those times I’d rather not write. Don’t worry, I have not problem admitting when something goes defunct.
What do you mean by community collections?
I use ‘community collection’ as a catch-all term for libraries, archives and other types of collections built and maintained by folks outside of established collecting institutions. The terminology is not precise, but I’ve grown suspicious of the term DIY in this context. I have an essay in the forthcoming Informed Agitation (Library Juice Press), that expands more fully on this. Keep an eye out for it later this year.
Why do you hate established collecting institutions?
I don’t. Generally I love them. I work at one of them (one of the best, in my opinion). The reason I write with an outside-the-institution emphasis is to help promote the idea that things we care about should be saved. Often the material in established collections come from individuals and groups that took the time to start to an archives.