Those who contribute $250 or more will be designated as "archivists," between $100 and $249 as "historians" and $50 to $99 as "timekeepers." Of course, smaller amounts are welcomed as well.It's really gratifying that "archivist" is the greatest honorific that the committee will bestow: all too often, archivists are seen as the handmaidens of academic historians, not as professionals who possess unique theoretical and applied knowledge and who serve a broad array of users. Maybe our efforts to raise our profession's public profile are starting to pay off . . . .
It's also really heartening that the ad hoc committee is keenly aware of the preservation challenges inherent in this project:
Time capsule project committee members Carol Hooker, Jean McKittrick, Shelley Humble and Helen Hollyer have researched suitable containers that will survive 50 years, as well as the types of material that will withstand deterioration and still be accessible to our descendents after half a century has elapsed.Archivists, librarians, and curators have consistently emphasized that simply placing electronic files on CD or DVD isn't sufficient to ensure their preservation and that some paper-based materials won't likely stand the test of time, and it's great to see that this message is slowly moving beyond the cultural heritage community and into the wider world. The Creswellians of 2059 -- and their contemporaries throughout the world -- will be glad it did.
While it would be easy to place hundreds of documents and photographs on CDs or DVDs, technological change is progressing so rapidly that it is highly unlikely that a method of accessing data preserved by today's high-tech methods would exist in 2059.
Similarly, even when sealed in a container designed specifically for long-term preservation of its contents, many organic materials, including newsprint, decompose rapidly, and are not suitable for long-term preservation.