Happy Monday. I'm not at the office today -- I worked on Saturday, so this is the second day of my "weekend" -- and I've rounded up some stuff that may interest you:
- Vermont Public Radio's Vermont Edition interviewed Vermont State Archivist Gregory Sanford and Terry Cook and Wendy Smith of the University of Manitoba about the value of government archives, the Vermont State Archives' efforts to document the perspectives of citizens as well as the workings of state government, functional appraisal, and the new archival challenges of the digital era. You can catch this excellent episode, which aired on 18 October, here.
- Last year, Google began working with archivists to add digitized aerial photographs of major European cities that were taken in 1945 into its popular Google Earth application, which allows users to view present-day aerial images of the entire planet. Last week, Google added additional historical photographs, including photographs of London taken in 1945, to Google Earth. As a result, users can easily see London, Paris, Warsaw, and several other major European cities -- some of which were heavily bombed during the Second World War -- looked in 1945 and how they look today. Cool.
- On 1 October, George Mason University hosted an Archiving Social Media conference that addressed the following topics: potential uses of archived social media content, institutional responsibility for preserving social media content, the ethics of archiving social media, capture and preservation tools, types of content that are being overlooked, and copyright issues. Notes are available on the Archiving Social Media conference Web site, Travis Kaya at Wired Campus and Kate Theimer at ArchivesNext have posted about it, there's an Archiving Social Media Zotero group, and all of the conference-related tweets (#asome) are here. (NB: the #asome hashtag apparently has multiple uses, so you'll need to zero in on tweets sent on or around 1 October.)
- The state of Texas recently recovered an 1858 state Supreme Court document that concerned a slave-related case and that somehow fell into private hands -- and one of my own colleagues at the New York State Archives helped to make this recovery possible. She traveled, on her own time and at her own expense, to the upstate New York home of the man who held the document and calmly explained how she knew it was a Texas government record. The collector, who had reacted angrily when a police officer aggressively sought to recover the document, quickly agreed to turn over the record. There's a lesson here, folks: most collectors want to do the right thing, and civility and a willingness to explain the value of government records will often result in the return of an alienated record. Calling in law enforcement probably shouldn't be the first step.