Media in Transition: April 24 – 26, at MIT. This looks to be excellent. The theme is “Stone and papyrus, storage and transition,” and touches on new media, digital archives, communications, social networks, mobile media, memory, history and more. Excerpt from the conference description:

What challenges confront librarians and archivists who must supervise the migration of print culture to digital formats and who must also find ways to preserve and catalogue the vast and increasing range of words and images generated by new technologies? How are shifts in distribution and circulation affecting the stories we tell, the art we produce, the social structures and policies we construct?”

Here, a few abstracts from the many scheduled papers/sessions:

Archiving Women, Minorities, and Indigenous Peoples in the Digital Era, Amalia Levi
Digitizing can mean greater visibility and usability for material hitherto relegated to obscure stacks or to the knowledge, good will and not-always-so-impartial judgment of referral librarians and archivists. It would seem that digitization has brought about the emancipation of the record from the spatial, temporal, and human elements. But are digital humanities today truly liberated from the tyranny of cultural politics? This paper will examine the ways we archivists involve minority, ethnic, and native peoples in literacy, especially digital literacy. What is the meaning of the digital divide for minorities and their representation in archives? What do “hot topics” such as copyright law, digital curation, social networks, e-scholarship have to do with people whose permission was neither asked when their heritage was pillaged or taken away through unethical ways, nor consulted when they were “exhibited” in museums and archives?

Case Study: Burkina Faso Newsreels, Andrea McCarty
Several years ago, Patrice Napon, an archivist in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, rescued hundreds of 16mm newsreels from a dumpster in the parking lot of a local television station. The TV station had updated its technology to video, and in its coverage of current events, it no longer had a use for these newsreels. Napon realized the value of this film without even examining or viewing it. The reels contain footage shot by local film crews just after Burkina Faso declared independence from the French in the 1960s; they feature images of urban life, rural life, local events and national and regional political leaders. Commissioned by the new government, the footage bears witness to the events and daily life just after independence. It also represents the efforts of the nation to document its own government and citizenry, and to put its own people behind the camera after decades of colonial rule. Part propaganda, part documentary and part industrial film, these newsreels represent some of the only moving images from this time period in Burkina Faso’s history. This collection is in dire need of preservation, but no money exists for such a project. The possibility of saving the remainder of the collection is uncertain.

Web 2.0, Social Networking Technologies and Human Rights Organizations, Hector Postigo
This paper will present preliminary findings from a National Science Foundation funded study on social networking/web 2.0 architectures and their use by social movement/human rights advocacy organizations. The article presents the case of the Digital Universe Foundation, a non-for-profit organization that is building social network architectures to bring together human rights organizations under a common portal system. The portal system (called the Human Rights Portal) brings together activist networks, professional advocacy organizations and experts to form user communities that coordinate activism at all levels of a movement, connecting local grass roots initiatives with global advocacy. This initiative has the potential to change the dynamics that have historically existed between the media and social movements in a number of ways, not the least of which is that it places the power of issue framing squarely in the hands of movement actors.

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