I did the Internet Archive “tour” Weds morning – nothing to tour really, as befits a digital archive; a colleague said, “they have a building?” – but presentations and Q&A in the Presidio office about the Books program, NASA Images project, and Archive-it, a subscription service allowing customized website crawling/archiving for organizations. A few things I learned:

•They have archived about 1 million Youtube videos to date;
•Metadata – its presence, absence or sufficiency – is often a determinant as to what gets digitized;
•IA is more open than in the past to archiving restricted materials, recognizing that a complete open access policy excludes too much important material;
•That in the long-term vision of IA is the integration its various collections, eg the ability to search and retrieve content across boundaries of format.

A film archivist asked me earlier this week how much of SAA addressed issues relating to moving images or multimedia collections. Since this is only my second SAA conference I don’t have enough of a perspective; but my guess is that yes, inevitably reflecting the world in which we live, there is increasing recognition of the world as diversely multimedia, documentally-speaking. As a library school student 20 years ago I entered a world which was totally bibliocentric. As one commenter noted at the Global Issues Forum, we continue to overwhelmingly privilege literacy and text-based forms of documentation and record-keeping.

Mark Greene’s presidential address on Friday urged SAA to adopt a set of stated core values (as ALA has done), and he proposed ten, which he named and elaborated on. These included professionalism, activism, collectivity, selection, preservation, democracy, service, diversity, use/access, and history. He also urged archivists to claim and exercise power – that word again! – and ended with his own “elevator speech” about what an archivist is, which I thought was quite eloquent. (And which I will quote here when I can do so with accuracy.)

My hotel room has a view of the bay, the Coit tower, and Alcatraz, but at the moment all is obscured by a wall of fog. It will all burn off in a few hours, although it has cooled down considerably since yesterday. I will miss this view, and the quality of the light here.


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