Tag Archives: archives

Sometimes the Records Tell Different Stories

23 Jan

The past is the past. History is what someone says about what happened in the past. Historians, and others, consult textual records, oral histories, non-textual records, and artifacts to find evidence of the past. Needless to say, persons writing about people, places, and things observe and/or record those things from their own perception and sources at hand, which might be their own eyes and ears. Thus, it is understandable that two people witnessing the same thing might have a different view of what they saw or heard. To some degree, this should be just common sense to everybody, but it is useful to be periodically reminded of this.

So begins Dr. Greg Bradsher’s essay at the National Archives site about sorting out records of the past that differ. You may read the entire essay here.

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The Library of Congress rethinks archiving Twitter

3 Jan

In 2010, Twitter bestowed its entire archive of public tweets on the Library of Congress, which the library called “an exciting and groundbreaking acquisition.” The collection began on March 21, 2006, when the company’s co-founder and C.E.O., Jack Dorsey, typed “just setting up my twttr,” and has been expanding significantly each day since (approximately six thousand public tweets are now posted every second). Private and deleted tweets are not included, and neither are images or embedded videos. Everything else, though, is immediately churned into an ever-thickening text archive, to be preserved by the library for all of eternity.

So begins Amanda Petrusich’s New Yorker reflection on the Library of Congress and archiving Twitter. You may read the rest of the reflection here.

History and Corporations: A Case

2 Jan

The Lego Group lost money until it returned to its past.

In the early 2000s, the Lego Group had a problem.

Since 1993, the company had been diverting funds it raised from toy sales into ancillary businesses like theme parks, retail stores, and watches. And nearly every one of those prospects failed. Theses business moves were so bad that, according to an examination by Bain Capital, they were losing nearly $300,000 per day. In 2004, the company hired Jorgen Vig Knudstorp as its new chief executive officer, and his first major move was taking a hard look at the floundering company’s early history.

So begins Rick Paulas’ story of Lego’s recovery of its corporate history. You can read the rest of his Pacific Standard story here.

How Archivists Deal With Redactions, Codes, and Scribbles

20 Dec

A heavily redacted section of an 1899 letter from veterinary surgeon Frederick Smith to his wife Mary Anne.

At Atlas Obscura, Cara Giaimo explores some the challenges archival collections can pose for readers. Read her illustrated account here.

 

The National Security Archive and U.S. Secrets

19 Dec

Shortly after the government released a trove of documents on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I sat down with Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive, to talk about America’s dysfunctional mechanisms for classifying and declassifying information. Here, in an edited transcript, he weighs in on why historians should be extra-grateful for Hillary Clinton’s private server; what really needs to be declassified; and how history is likely to judge Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

At BloombergView, James Gibney (quoted above) interviews Tom Blanton about classifying, declassifying, and archiving U.S. secrets. Read the entire interview here.

Future Historians Probably Won’t Understand Our Internet, and That’s Okay

18 Dec

A "Compose New Tweet" pop-up on the Twitter interface

What’s happening?

This has always been an easier question to pose—as Twitter does to all its users—than to answer. And how well we answer the question of what is happening in our present moment has implications for how this current period will be remembered. Historians, economists, and regular old people at the corner store all have their methods and heuristics for figuring out how the world around them came to be. The best theories require humility; nearly everything that has happened to anyone produced no documentation, no artifacts, nothing to study.

The rise of social media in the ’00s seemed to offer a new avenue for exploring what was happening with unprecedented breadth.

So begins a fascinating report on some of the complexities of archiving the Internet. Read the rest of Alexis C. Madrigal’s Atlantic story here.

 

Smokey Bear Archive

12 Dec

The National Agricultural Library might not be the first place you’d think to visit for its fine art, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture repository actually has a sophisticated collection of oil and acrylic paintings on public display. The artwork has been accumulated over the course of the Forest Service’s seven decade-long Smokey Bear public information campaign.

Read the Atlas Obscura post about the Smokey Bear archive here.

Enough Light

"In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don't." - Blaise Pascal

Lenten Lamentations

Preparing to Participate in God's Mosaic Kingdom

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Wirelesshogan: Reflections from the Hogan

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

The Way of Improvement Leads Home

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

the way of improvement leads home

reflections at the intersection of American history, religion, politics, and academic life

The Pietist Schoolman

The website and blog of historian Chris Gehrz

Native News Online

American Indian News

thepracticalhistorian

Your guide to practically true history.

THE TWELVE

Reformed. Done Daily.

i-history

by Alex Scarfe

blogwestdotorg.wordpress.com/

Thoughtful Conversation about the American West

Northwest History

"History is the record of our loves in all their magnificent and ignoble forms." Eugene McCarraher

Faith and History

Thinking Christianly about the American Past

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