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2 Easy Ways to Make Your Project More Complicated than It Has to Be: Part 2

2. Be immediately over-productive. When approaching the materials housed upstairs in the Rylander Theatre, the lack of physical organization and preservation measures inspired me to dive deeply into the ins and outs of archival practices and specifically what it takes to create even the simplest accessible physical archive. I thought that, without physical organization, it would be impossible to digitize and organize the materials online (notice how I already forgot that I would be proposing their digitization, not actually doing it). 

So there I was for a solid two weeks figuring out what I needed to do to get the physical organization up to snuff before thinking about digitization. I also found myself thinking ahead to when the materials were physically organized, and which online platform I would use to house them digitally (once again, it’s only a proposal, take a breath). Soon enough I had trial accounts for Omeka and WordPress and spent a week’s worth of evenings demanding from myself that I learn how to navigate both programs sufficiently so that I can choose the best one for the proposal. The irony emerged when a GC Digital Fellow came to our class and walked us through various platforms and their pros and cons, and set the matter straight for me in the course of an hour or so.

After a couple months of doing a whole lot of work with very little progress toward any single goal, my one-on-one meetings with our professors helped me to narrow down the vision of my final project. Eventually, I found an application for a digitization subgranting program through the Digital Library of Georgia that matched the needs of the Rylander perfectly. Discovering this subgranting program also allowed me to adopt its application parameters for completing my own proposal, which cut out a lot of peripheral work that seemed important at first, but was not actually necessary for the completion of this project. Going forward, these complementary tasks that didn’t make the cut for my final project can serve as a to-do list for myself this summer or a reference sheet for staff at the Rylander on the occasion that they have an intern or staff member looking to build up the archive in the future. For the next project, instead of frantically attempting to cover all the bases at once, I’ll be sure to take a considerable amount of time to create reasonable, achievable goals that save me time further down the line.

On My Final Project

At time of writing, my project is known as Exalted (subject to change, even at this stage, simply due to a concern I had about a certain copyright), and it’s meant to serve as a collection of oral histories from transgender and non-binary artists and creators. Its website will, by necessity, require updating each time I complete an interview, and to keep the site from being dormant and inert, I will need to continue to conduct interviews regularly. It’s a format that’s been done many times before, such as with the Archive of Lesbian Oral Testimony. But it’s the combination of the two key aspects of the project – the content and the website, along with their respective nature – that I’m hoping will perpetuate its existence.

An interesting aspect of my final project is the fact that it’s neither the first time I’ve created a website, nor the first time that I’ve performed interviews to obtain oral testimony, but it’s the first time I’ve been involved with either on any sort of meaningful level or scale, and the first time I’ve combined them. While I was still in college, I began a personal project where I interviewed vendors from a local farmer’s market in my hometown, but it was very disorganized and informal, and the fact of the matter is that if memory serves, it’s very possible that only one interview ever reached the point of being even remotely presentable. Before that, during my high school career, I made a website using Weebly that was meant to serve as a sort of a personal website, but it’s been lost to the ages. Even when I still had access to the site, I never bothered to update or add anything new to it.

Something that gives me (possibly unrealistic) hope for the project’s future and success is the project I did my flash presentation on, Rhizcomics. On the project website, Jason Helms discusses the fact that comics exist at the intersection between image and writing. To be sure, comics are certainly a significant part of the art world, and are largely responsible for the excessive boom in popularity of superhero-themed media in the mainstream. While many people won’t look at Exalted and remark “oh, this project exists firmly at the intersection of oral testimony and digital presentation,” the same way people don’t regularly remark on comics as some grand entity that exists between prose and painting, I like to believe there’s some degree of upward mobility for the project.

On Crowdsourcing Traumatic History

Out of all the readings we’ve covered as a class this semester, Kristi Girdharry’s Crowdsourcing Traumatic History: Understanding the Historial Archive has stuck with me the strongest. The title alone is even hard to forget – the phrase “crowdsourcing traumatic history” is certainly intriguing in any context. That aside though, it served as a solid piece of inspiration for my own final project, although not so much in terms of format, but rather in the sense that the ideas present in it give my final project some grounding.

Informal crowdsourcing plays a massive role in a lot of projects I do, predominantly solo ones, and archiving collections of work or images from the web that I find interesting has been something of a hobby to me since I learned that content on the Internet can be deleted or otherwise become inaccessible. Girdharry writes that “scholars from the social sciences and humanities understand that archives have important scholarly and political functions,” or that collections of work serve purposes beyond simply existing. To me, the social function of archives is most interesting, but the fact stands that an archive or collection of anything can realistically have an application.

At NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, my area of concentration was something I called “Applied Narrative Studies” – that is, studying the ways in which narrative can be used. Girdharry’s article’s “Storytelling” section thus stuck out the most to me. She writes that “in [a] philosophical approach to historicizing a moment, subjectivity and its malleability are key,” and that “rather than relying on examples from the natural sciences to represent historical knowledge,” scholarly works and works of art such as literature could also be used as “important links to historical understanding.”

Other classes I’ve taken have covered this as well, as well as the history of these sorts of philosophies. However, her idea that “to memorialize something means to create an object that serves as a focus for the memory of an event or person(s) in a more static fashion” is one that has remained fixed in my mind. Without historicization (something I became intimately familiar with at Gallatin), context, perhaps some form of metadata too, an archive loses not only integrity, but meaning as well.

On Rhizcomics

(Do note, “electracy” and “différance” are written as intended.)

Rhizcomics by Jason Helms describes itself as “unusual” and the main page on its website mentions that it can be read orders other than the “‘right’” one, in a manner similar to the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari that concerned rhizomes, such as A Thousand Plateaus. On the surface, a part of its purpose is to discuss aspects of rhizomatics, critical theory, and literary analysis in a distinct and, well, “unusual” format. But while that does cover a decent chunk of its apparent purpose, there’s certainly more to it that is quite a bit less easy to understand.

Notably, the foreword (by Gregory UImer) is rather confounding even for readers familiar with rhizomatics: it is written in a somewhat meandering manner, and it remarks on and references a number of terms that are only tangentially related to that subject matter. Ulmer also semi-regularly self-references, and writes passages that could be described as unapologetically rhizomatic. The key term one must familiarize oneself with somewhat before understanding the project at its core and its purpose is “electracy” – a passage at the end of the foreword reads “consider what is at stake in our world today, registered in the basic fact that the anthropocene coincides with electracy.”

“Electracy” is a term that combines “electricity” and “trace,” specifically Derrida’s idea of “trace.” It also takes inspiration from Derrida’s related idea of “différance,” which refers to dissonance or differences specifically in terms of meaning. With this in mind, “electracy” could be viewed as an idea of an “electric trace” or “electric path,” specifically perhaps, an electric path of derivation, or the path that electricity took. The “electricity” referenced by “electracy” is described as “the energy of digital civilization.”

However, “electracy,” similar to the Derridian “trace,” is not really strictly definable. In fact, the previous explanation of it doesn’t encapsulate its use in the forward well at all. Ulmer uses the phrase “literacy to electracy” several times throughout the forward, which on its own should give a vague idea of its use. Almost rhizomatically, it picks up aspects of not only “electricity” and “trace,” but also “literacy.” As a result, the term shares some meaning with ideas of, for instance, digital literacy.

Before moving on, some food for thought – similar to how rhizomatics can show a web of connections between even remotely related elements, what one could call “electracics” or “electranics” could show specifically a web of connections via electricity or a path through electrical or digital elements. The reason I dwell on this is that it reminds me of the work of Stephen Ramsey, specifically Reading Machines: Towards and Algorithmic Criticism. This connection is grounded in Ramsey’s discussion of rhizomatics and Delezuian ideas and how they play into literary criticism and critical theory in the digital age.

Due to its partial derivation from Derridian deconstruction, not even this entirely covers what “electracy” is and could be. But in any case, Rhizcomics is certainly an “electrac” text.  Ulmer writes that “in order to pursue the questions encountered in [Derrida’s] research he had learned how to draw.” After establishing that the anthropocene is intrinsically tied to “electracy,” he writes that “prayer and engineering do not suffice” and that “we desire effective change but are not able,” perhaps, to bring about that change. He ambiguously resolves this cited problem with a single word “draw.” The ambiguity of this is that he, possibly in reference to Derridian binary pairs, explicitly compares the act of drawing in terms of art and in terms of firearms. In brief, at least part of the purpose of Rhizcomics is to exist as a consciously “electrary” (think “literary”) piece with drawn elements.

In the page titled Some Context, Helms discusses the work of a number of creators, including, Jody Shipka and Susan Delagrange to establish just that – context. However, he writes that “new media also rely on interplays of image and text, though none so explicitly and obviously as comics do.” This is far more straightforward and less ambiguous than parts of Ulmer’s discussion of “drawing.” The implication seems to be that the answer to the question “why a comic” is that comics are the most explicitly and obvious reliant on the rhizomatic connections between images and texts.

More information can be found on the page titled Defining Rhizcomics. A “rhizcomic” (the term, not the title) is an interesting case because comics exist at the intersection of image and text, which in a sense, could be seen as a rhizomatic node. Strangely though, Helms claims the term’s creation was a “goof,” and that the rhizome would seem to be a “preposterous introduction to comics.” In any case, he discusses the way in which aspects and elements of a comic, such as characters, are intrinsically rhizomatic and connect to the text, the images in the text, and even other texts and canons. Thus, another aspect of the purpose of Rhizcomics is a piece of writing that was intentionally created with this in mind.

Despite the sheer amount of explanation the project needs to fully establish its context and purpose, and the amount of familiarity with rhizomatics that one examining this project would probably want to have, its audience may not be all that limited. Admittedly, the project requires an amount of conscious attention to interact with, and it’s hard to discuss in writing without simply restating much of what’s on the site, and it’s even harder to discuss aloud in this manner. Furthermore, due to how rhizomatics is as a concept, it’s difficult to discuss Rhizcomics in a concise manner.

However, while a given reader may not be able to grasp each and every piece of information the project has to offer the first time through, in part due to the sheer amount of it, a reader should be able to engage with, learn from, and enjoy Rhizcomics. In short, the people who would get the most out of Rhizcomics are those willing to dedicate a significant amount of time to reading in order to learn more about rhizomatics, philosophy, and miscellaneous criticism and analysis, and those who are already familiar with those topics looking for an opportunity to explore them further.

 To create a project like Rhizcomics, one would require immense knowledge of rhizomatics, Derridian deconstruction, philosophy as a whole, literary analysis and critical theory, abstract thought in general, and other similar concepts, not to mention familiarity with a plethora of assorted other texts and digital literature. Rhizcomics isn’t particularly similar to any other projects that I’m aware of. At least to me, it’s reminiscent of SCP Foundation – there’s a lot of information that isn’t too accessible to the user who isn’t willing to devote time to it, and many of the pieces on it contain links to other writing on it. However, with enough time and effort, one can come to understand the fictional universe of SCP Foundation and to the point where some of the entirely made up terminology in its articles (such as terms like “cognitohazard” or “elan vital energy”) become as familiar as real words.

I do want to say, Rhizcomics is perhaps the largest scale project I’ve interacted with that actively refers to and discusses rhizomes and rhizomatics. It’s definitely inspired me to keep my enthusiasm about rhizomatics alive, even when a given project or analysis may not call for it. After all, even a work or creation where rhizomatics “doesn’t belong” still has rhizomatic connections to other work. Knowledge of the rhizome has become all the more important in the digital age, especially many aspects of the world move from “literacy to electracy.”

On a very brief note, I can’t help but think about Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics whenever I think about Rhizcomics. It’s of course in part due to the shared aspect of oddly pluralized names, but also because both texts explore potentially esoteric subjects in a similar manner (although, Rhizcomics covers far more esoteric matters). Of course, the two works were created at very different times and in very different contexts, cultural or otherwise.

(Disclaimer: this was not an easy post to write. My flash presentation in class barely scratched the surface of Rhizcomics, in part because there was so much detail that I would have loved to talk about, but that I couldn’t due to the time frame. The previous revisions of this post either similarly failed to get into enough detail or were disorganized to the point of not being presentable. I’m not even too proud of this iteration, but I think it addresses enough and conveys enough to be at least semi-reasonable.)

Jean’s blog post (3) on fellowship proposal for Getty’s African American Art History Initiative

I’m planning to apply for a fellowship with Getty Research Institute (especially with their new initiative of African American art history) in a few years and after substantially modifying this proposal when my institutional position becomes rather stable. However, since the application material or research/project plan should be confidential until the moment of acceptance, I’m really reluctant to share the detail of my archival project here on the Commons. Instead of talking about the content of my proposal, I’d just like to address why I decided to apply for this particular fellowship coming from my backgrounds.

As I perhaps implied in my previous blog post (when talking about Beauford Delaney’s letters), I’m quite interested in African American artists (especially, queer or queer feminist) whose works are intersecting with the history of letters or otherwise epistolary writings. While researchers in literary criticism have been approaching artists’ letters more for the content or the transcription of the content, I’m more interested in highlighting the low art forms, undecodable secrets, and odd or campy mythology in artists’ letter writings. Fortunately, Getty’s new initiative (on African American art history) recently acquired the archive (including manuscripts and letters) of Los Angeles artist Betye Saar whose work is in line with my “underground” inclinations. I’ve been wanting to work with Getty’s as they are capable to pursue both analog and digital projects but I couldn’t really find a suitable fellowship where I would be able to contribute my training both in literature and film/video studies. And now that Getty owns the archive of significant portion of Saar’s writings, it feels rather comforting that I don’t have to resolve the copy right issues of artist’ objects. Also, I will partly pursue a digital project using my research and writing on a certain aspect of Saar’s work (which I won’t address here), working amidst the dirt of this physical archive (which needs much sorting and curation from now on) feels almost pastorally intimate and expansive to me.

Obtaining Getty’s fellowship in any kind isn’t easy, however. All of them are prestigious fellowships that many of PhDs and tenured professors in Art History seek after establishing their careers to some extent. My strength (as a Comparative Literature PhD), unlike most of art history PhDs, can be probably found in my scholarship and training with letters and notebooks as well as archival video art and oral history projects. And I have worked with some of artists’ archives for their publications which engage with artists’ writing and digital art, so I feel equipped to be a fellow with this initiative. I don’t feel comfortable to address my qualifications here, so I’m shortly closing my blog post. Anyhow, I’m excited to think of an opportunity of being in proximity to the physical archive while producing something digital out of it for Getty’s exhibition toward the public. Additionally, Getty’s African American art initiative is focused on collaboration with other institutions, so I feel that my project will be benefited by working with various scholars coming from other partnered archives.

Writing a grant proposal is HARD – A few challenges and possible solutions

As I’m writing the grant proposal for the Neighborhood Stories Indexing Project, I am encountering some challenges that – I think – are not specific to my project. I’ll list them here, in the hope that my fellow grant-writers might have some answers to my questions, and that it might help them feel less alone is their process.

  1. I realized that writing about a digital project in a simple, accessible language is harder than I thought. After being immersed in three semesters of DH terminology, trying to explain an online indexing project feels like explaining technology to my parents (I know you all can relate!). I think this is a common problem in academia: we are so focused on our field, we mostly talk about it with people in our field, and it never occurs to us that the “outside world” might have some trouble understanding DH, DMPs, GIS, topic modeling, and all the terms that are very familiar to us.
    Any tips on this? I am still trying to write as if I’m explaining this project to my mom – with the added goal of getting some money for the project. Easy enough, right?
  2. Writing a grant forces you to think about EVERY phase of your project, even the ones you can’t really predict yet, or the ones you didn’t want to think about (who enjoys writing a Data Management Plan, seriously). I guess it’s also a good thing: when I wrote the proposal for the NYC Community Fridge Archive, it worked as a good roadmap for the DH Praxis class. Hopefully, once classes and the showcase are over, I’ll be able to sit with my thoughts and figure out the phases of the project I have no idea about.
  3. Writing a grant is HARD. It’s time-consuming, boring, and lonely, and it makes me appreciate everyone who’s ever won a grant because man, it is not fun to write one. I think that part of the problem is that I’m used to working on Neighborhood Stories with a team of people: having to be by myself and write about a collective effort seems weird. I know that for the actual grant proposal I’ll have the support of the Neighborhood Stories team, but this phase feels harder because I don’t have someone to share my ideas and doubts with.
  4. I realized I’m taking myself WAY too seriously. For some reason, the fact that I’m writing a grant proposal and not a paper puts so much pressure on this assignment. I wish we had had some low-stakes assignments to write parts of a proposal, so that the task to write a whole Narrative wouldn’t feel so overwhelming now. I am trying to think about this assignment as the first draft of the grant proposal, but being a perfectionist, it’s still challenging to take the pressure off the task.

With this said, I’m looking forward to the project presentations tonight. I’m sure everyone will do great!

Augusta Baker’s Bibliographies, Part II

Picking up from my last post, I will focus on the design and curatorial decisions for my project. While looking through the Baker scans, I started to sketch out my site’s design and what it will include. I chose WordPress through the Academic Commons since I am familiar with it and I want to include more text than images. My minimum requirements are: 

  • 4 of Baker’s Bibliographies (digital)
  • Selected children’s books (digital)
  • Selections from Baker’s Archive (paper to digital)
  • History of children’s books leading up to Baker’s Bibliographies
  • Biography of Baker
  • Resources for students and librarians (links to websites and current bibliographies)

Since the bibliographies are the focus, I had to figure out how to best display them. I wanted the bibliographies to look like a book, so I used 3D Flipbook (WordPress plugin) and created a book from the PDFs I downloaded from NYPL. I chose this because some of Baker’s bibliographies are not available digitally through NYPL. I can now download from other resources (like DPLA) and they will all look the same. Underneath the bibliography is text that highlights what was happening in the publishing world and the U.S. at that time, along with pieces from Baker’s collection that connect to the bibliography and her editing process. I thought about using Flipbook for the children’s books, but I knew that would create unneeded work for myself. There are also a lot of great collections that have the books along with additional resources that would be beneficial to my users. Those repositories deserve to have their work viewed. Selected books from the bibliographies are hyperlinked in the text, along with why they are important. I only have 2 bibliographies on the site right now, but have the children’s books and text ready to paste. 

Deciding what children’s books to include was difficult, since the majority of early picks were from White creators. It makes sense, since Black creators were so few and often not picked up by major publishing houses. I made a decision early on to include as many Black creators as possible in my project, especially since it was a Black woman who created the bibliographies. Altman’s Black Women in the Archive and the editing choices made for the Black Women’s Suffrage collection reinforced my decision. “To combat this disparity in the Black Women’s Suffrage collection we strove to include as many materials about Black women as possible, and limit the number of materials about White people and men.  We did not want to exclude White and male voices from the collection, because they provide important context for Black women’s experiences”  The White creators I did include wrote inclusive books and often collaborated with Black creators. 

I had a brief biography of Baker ready to upload, so it was time to work on the history of children’s books leading up to the bibliographies. Books in the early 1900s promoted harmful portrayals of Black people, and it took decades for these books to be removed from circulation or edited (Little Black Sambo). I wanted to include images of books in my text, but I was concerned about highlighting harmful stereotypes on the site. Duncan and Lisa pointed this out as well in our meetings, so I struggled with what to do. I decided to follow Curator Shanee Yvette Murain’s plan (Altman) of including racist materials because they provide important historical context, but I limited it to two images. I provide links to sources that provide more information for those interested, but I will not go into more detail on the site. 

My final and most daunting task is uploading items from Baker’s collection. I am grateful to USC for sending me the scans, but those I am interested in using are blurry or too light/dark to make out. I also believe they have a copy of the first bibliography (1938) which is not available at NYPL and the one I wanted to have on the site. I would love to make a trip to the archive so I can see everything in person. I debated whether to include the images I found in my site, but decided including them would illustrate the importance of digitizing the collection and this project overall. A friend recommended an open source version of Adobe Photoshop, but I don’t think I will have enough time to figure it out and edit the images. I have spoken with USC about digitizing, and explained my project a bit more to them. They are encouraging, which I hope will lead to a successful collaboration. Only two weeks left, and so much to do!

Jean’s blog post (2) on reading of “scenes of speculation”

One reading that most resonated with me in this seminar would be David Kazanjian’s piece “Scenes of Speculation” from the week 2 (alas, a long time ago by now). Though, at the end of this post, I will also warn myself of a peril of elusive, ambivalent, or even opaque interpretation of ownership in a trendy archival practice, I admittedly felt attuned to what the author suggests and elucidates in their essay. I have been reading the Harlem Renaissance (and later Parisian expatriate) painter Beauford Delaney’s calligraphy in his letters in an interdisciplinary mode of attending to their sonic (and otherwise textual) composition, perhaps akin to Kazanjian’s Derridean practice. Since I have an essay in progress on this subject right now, I can’t describe the crux of my interrogation but my method could be also called “speculative”. (Note: A few weeks ago I decided to not pursue the archival project of Delaney’s handwritten letters and notebooks due to the copyright issues and I felt fine with it. Generally, I like to fully respect the ownership of works by marginalized artists and even relatively unknown persons, and I don’t think love for the public scholarship or open-ended interpretation of the archival material is more important than honoring that ownership especially siding with the historically or culturally dispossessed. I gave up only the public reproduction of those manuscripts but I can still write about my research, so everything feels fair to me.)

As Kazanjian proposes, paying attention to the ambiguous dimensions of textual and also often quotidian aspects of documents (rather than the authenticity of obvious records) from an archive can indeed benefit a researcher with the critical profundity of questioning the seemingly transparent values of notions such as freedom, sovereignty, citizenship, and even the self and desire. In so doing, the archival object becomes a speculative object that propels thinking heterogeneously or under-commonly (if this word makes sense at all) about history and memory against the moral or societal dogma about the past and the time to unfold. In this seminar, I think, we reflected on the most of archival objects in this direction despite the variations of the archival contexts. Especially, in approaching to the archival material inscribed by socially abandoned or imputed subjects (such as fugitives, refugees, and otherwise migrants), we learned how we can envision a sensitive or politically aesthetic relationship to the ambiguity of struggle and hope (or even dream) nuanced or obscured in the material.

However, unlike what Kazanjian repeats, I cannot overstate the importance of the ownership of archival materials as well as the tangible records of the subjects involved in those records. Post-structuralism (Derrida, Foucault, Barthes, Blanchot and many more) that Kazanjian and other researchers (including myself) trained in literary criticism and continental philosophy take even in their archival practice is largely a product of white labor for their own knowledge and pleasure of complex discourse. While there is a critical benefit of the speculative mode of archival intervention in ways of seeing a layer of history and consciousness in the objects, I don’t think that should be an intellectual excuse to diffuse the ownership of objects and ethical (or even spiritual) desire attached to the objects on the side of the dispossessed or the oppressed who made or will make them.

Final Project: The Mesoamerican Flood Myths Archive

As a classicist and an archaeologist, I love learning about different cultures and how there could be similarities between two cultures that never interacted with one another. The myths and legends of different cultures can sometimes be taken from older traditions or could be related without any connections that archaeology can determine. One example of this is the widespread flood myth. Many cultures all over the world and throughout history have had some form of flood myth. Within western civilization, there are a few myths that are well known and studied the most such as those of Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Sumerian, and Israeli cultures. As a Latina, however, I wanted to focus on non-western flood myths, more specifically those of Mesoamerica.

I decided to focus on Mesoamerica as a starting point as opposed to focusing on all of Central and South America just to get a sense of what information was already available and because I felt like I tend to not hear a lot of history about Central America compared to South America (just in a personal way). I have some roots in Central America, yet I know nothing about its history, and this was a way for me, as well, to learn a bit more about it.

With a lot of the readings that we had in this class as well as the other class I was taking this semester (Digital Pedagogy 2), there were discussions of lack of ownership that peoples of the Global South had for their own content such as OERs or digital archives (thinking back to the Danish West Indies archive from this class). Much of the content within the OERs or digital archives would be from the Global North or referencing scholarship from the Global North. To try to combat this cycle of learning, I wanted to focus on cultures from the Global South and hope that this project/platform helps to bring other cultures into the mainstream scholarship world.

My project will be a digital archive that will pull together flood myths from across Mesoamerica and artifacts from those cultures that may relate to the flood myths. The items and stories will be displayed as an interactive map and timeline visualization that will show where and when these flood myths appeared. In the future, I hope to partner with museums and culture centers in Mesoamerica to allow for individuals to provide their own flood myths they may have heard (since many of the stories are still oral history) and continue to add artifacts or stories that may not be digitized yet.

Reflecting on the Semester Readings

When reading Capturing History, 280 Characters at a Time, there were a few questions that came up when discussing the use of tweets. One thing that I had wondered about, when they discussed the Black Lives Matter movement that arose after the shooting of Michael Brown, was if the tweets that they were collecting were filtered? I know that there are times where people post insensitive tweets about certain events as well as posting “memes” or other forms of expression. I wonder if any of these were included and, if not, who decides what should or shouldn’t be included? What bias did that bring into the records that were kept?

In addition to this, the author discusses the use of tweets and how “even if the tweets were shared in a public forum, many users would not anticipate that their tweets could be saved for all posterity.” When I read this, I felt confused because growing up I remember always being told “be careful what you put online”, “it’ll be there forever”, “it can cost you a job in the future”, etc. Why is it that tweets, in this way, has become an issue when they are using something that has been posted in public? I would understand if the profile of that person were set to private or only for friends to view, but not if it were public.

Also, when reading Capturing History, 280 Characters at a Time and Crowdsourcing Traumatic History: Understanding the Historial Archive, I started thinking about the Manchester Together Archive. This archive was created after the Manchester Arena in England was attacked by a bomber in May 2017. According to the website, “over 10,000 objects were left by members of the public in spontaneous memorials” all over the city. The archive was established as organizations collected the items to preserve and document them and the even that had occurred. The digital archive is still under construction but one thing that I thought would be interesting would be to see how people coped with the event in their own ways.

Of course, the act of leaving items as a memorial is a form of coping, but that wasn’t the only thing that came out of the event. During the event, social media had a large role in spreading the news of the bombing as well as determining what happened. After the event, there were also performances that were dedicated to the victims as well as songs created by Ariana Grande (since people were leaving her concert at the time of the bombing). The songs she created were her way of trying to cope with the situation as well as pay tribute to those that died or were injured. It would be interesting to see how much digital culture ends up being included in the archive.

In Crowdsourcing Traumatic History: Understanding the Historial Archive, they also discuss how “’historial’ archives aim to collect material in real time and focus on the ephemera of an event rather than on more authoritative, mediated artifacts.” I liked this focus because it allows the public to “curate” their own archive instead of the archive being put together by some with an agenda. This is not to say that there would not be any biases with this approach but, since it is coming from the populate that is affected, it would decrease the percentage of biases that are included.

Across many of the readings, it has been noted that archives should be in the hands of those that the items represent. This way, the people can represent themselves as opposed to having an outside entity controlling their representation. This is most evident in the Archival encounters: rethinking access and care in digital colonial archives reading which discusses the archive of the US Virgin Islands (USVI) that was put together by Denmark as a way to celebrate the former Danish West Indies. At one point in the reading, Daniela Agostinho states, “The goal was to transfer inactive government records as well as remaining Danish records, to the safekeeping of the National Archives, since the USVI had neither the facilities nor the staff to take care of them.” My first thought was, if the USVI were to create a facility to house the information and find a way to maintain them, would it even be allowed to do so? This is the same thing that happened to the Greece when they asked for the Elgin Marbles back from the British Museum. The British Museum indicated that Greece did not have the proper location to store or display the marbles, and so the Acropolis Museum was built, but the marbles have yet to be returned.