where to archive material?

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jc
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Mar 2 2018 17:59
where to archive material?

At a Devon Radical History meeting, we found that several members had a lot of material that'd be worth archiving somewhere (press cuttings and notes from the local Poll Tax movement, etc). Any idea what's best to do with them?

Could scanned copies be put on libcom? (how safe are they, and is it ok if political party material, etc, is mixed in?)

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Rob Ray
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Mar 2 2018 18:20

For digitisation of stuff covering modern living memory it's worth bearing in mind any potential legal issues — defamation or incitement are the two most likely — and the statutory cutoff point in the Limitation Act.

With defamation it's one year BUT it's from the point of publication — online this means from the point at which you were able to download it. The upside is that people rarely go after old texts, and usually you can just take it down again if someone threatens action, though infrequently a formal apology or cash amount is also asked for (eg. Corbyn recently).

Scanning and upload of pdfs on here is pretty safe, as for what to do with hardcopies the Sparrows' Nest is probably the movement's best-run archive atm.

jc
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Mar 2 2018 18:52

Thanks Rob, what about uploading stuff from political parties, etc, if it's part of a bigger archive about the struggle?

Mike Harman
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Mar 2 2018 21:53

If it's historically interesting, especially when it's primary stuff, then we do host stuff from political tendencies we disagree with. If it's like 20 posters from Militant or something then it should probably be a single article with multiple attachments though.

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Fozzie
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Mar 3 2018 08:39

I’d recommend starting your own online archive. Like The Radical History of Hackney:

https://hackneyhistory.wordpress.com

No dis to Libcom but local people are more likely to find that and perhaps offer their own comments, material and perhaps come to meetings get involved etc.

Also worth seeing if you have a local museum or archive who will look after physical stuff.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 3 2018 12:46

Tbh libcom's got a far better search ranking than any .wordpress site is likely to get, the main benefit of a local one would be focus and potentially engagement (as in people directly contacting you and/or commenting on the content).

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Fozzie
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Mar 3 2018 14:00
Rob Ray wrote:
Tbh libcom's got a far better search ranking than any .wordpress site is likely to get, the main benefit of a local one would be focus and potentially engagement (as in people directly contacting you and/or commenting on the content).

Yes I agree with all that. It’s up to people to choose what’s best for them.

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jondwhite
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Mar 3 2018 16:56

To clarify, are you talking primarily about online archives or offline archives?
What sort of politics does the material propound?

Online archives;
Libcom
Internet Archive

Offline archives;
Sparrows Nest
The National Archives in Kew
Your nearest university

jc
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Mar 8 2018 14:50

Thanks for the responses. I do think local history websites are useful, and we're working on one atm. The problem is websites like that aren't very stable and it'd be good to have it somewhere it can last. Talking to physical archives is a good idea too, will also try to make that happen.

Realistically it'll be a while before anything is scanned but it's good to know what the options are smile

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Steven.
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Mar 8 2018 16:01
Fozzie wrote:
I’d recommend starting your own online archive. Like The Radical History of Hackney:

https://hackneyhistory.wordpress.com

No dis to Libcom but local people are more likely to find that and perhaps offer their own comments, material and perhaps come to meetings get involved etc.

I think that is a really good website however I have to echo other people in that I think the best thing to do would be to upload to a centralised archive: either a radical one like libcom (albeit I am biased), or a general one like archive.org.

Not only because both of those sites have much bigger audiences and search engine results (meaning that lots more people will see it), but libcom is backed up by the British Library, so even if we all died tomorrow everything on the site would be available in perpetuity. And the problem with individuals' websites and blogs posted on third party sites like WordPress is that they are vulnerable to just being shut down and deleted – look at geocities, and how much excellent information was lost when that went down.

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Fozzie
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Mar 8 2018 21:08

Yeah I get all that, but something does also get lost if everything is centralised on the same sites.

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jura
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Mar 8 2018 21:25

I think it makes sense to have a centralized archive, as in a true repository, with regular backups and whatnot, and a separate blog/website for more locally oriented writing or discussions around the archived stuff.

Being from Eastern Europe, I have no particular interest in things specific to Hackney, but I'm sure there's actual stuff there that would be relevant to issues we face today (like opposing fascism). I have very little chance of discovering it as long as it's on whatever dot wordpress.com. If it's on libcom, chances are someone will point it out to me on the forums, or it will appear on the front page, or I'll find it through tags or search etc.

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Khawaga
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Mar 8 2018 21:35
Fozzie wrote:
Yeah I get all that, but something does also get lost if everything is centralised on the same sites.

Yes, stuff may get lost among all the rest, but you could have both a local blog or website and also upload the content to libcom or archive.org. I am pretty sure that quite a few blogs already do that. Indeed, I think it's the right thing to do; people may all of a sudden loose interest in the local project, suffer the geocities fate or something like that, and then the content and hard work would be lost.

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Fozzie
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Mar 9 2018 10:13

Well there is material on both sites already, for example:
http://libcom.org/library/workers%E2%80%99-playtime-death-colin-roach-%E2%80%9Ccommunity-policing%E2%80%9D-1983

http://libcom.org/history/hackney%E2%80%99s-anarchic-nineties

It's a small point but I have very limited time to add to the Radical History of Hackney site and time spent adding things to Libcom is time not spent doing that.

And y'know, my priority is to reach out to the people of Hackney rather than anarcho-communists.

For example I think people are more likely to leave comments etc on a local history site than here.

I'm not knocking Libcom, far from it. It's just a small question of tactics really.

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Fozzie
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Mar 9 2018 10:32

Not sure if this is helpful or not but it's obviously cool if people want to reproduce stuff here. For example this should probably be in both places:

https://hackneyhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/police-out-of-school/

It's really good and was very difficult for me to get hold of. But another advantage of a localist site is that former activists like it and donate things that they have kicking about. wink

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Steven.
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Mar 9 2018 15:35
Fozzie wrote:
Well there is material on both sites already, for example:
http://libcom.org/library/workers%E2%80%99-playtime-death-colin-roach-%E2%80%9Ccommunity-policing%E2%80%9D-1983

http://libcom.org/history/hackney%E2%80%99s-anarchic-nineties

It's a small point but I have very limited time to add to the Radical History of Hackney site and time spent adding things to Libcom is time not spent doing that.

And y'know, my priority is to reach out to the people of Hackney rather than anarcho-communists.

For example I think people are more likely to leave comments etc on a local history site than here.

I'm not knocking Libcom, far from it. It's just a small question of tactics really.

yeah that's all true, and you get great engagement from the local community. My worry is what if in 10/20/50 years WordPress goes bust or deletes its old sites… On that note, I have just made a PDF backup of your whole site. Mind if I upload it here, with link to your original site? We have PDF backups of a fair few blogs on the site

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Fozzie
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Mar 9 2018 18:41

Sure, that would be great!

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Steven.
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Mar 9 2018 19:10

Cool, cheers will do. Unfortunately it won't have PDF files etc, but will have everything else. If you could make us a zip file with all of your PDFs in we could attach it as well, that would be amazing!

If we did this once every few years, then that shouldn't take too long and would make sure everything was at least saved somewhere!

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Khawaga
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Mar 9 2018 19:24

Fozzie, what Steven did is what I meant, i.e. not that you should take the responsibility, but just get a libcom poster to do it for you (or someone you work with in Hackney to have that responsibility).

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Fozzie
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Mar 9 2018 22:11
Khawaga wrote:
Fozzie, what Steven did is what I meant, i.e. not that you should take the responsibility, but just get a libcom poster to do it for you (or someone you work with in Hackney to have that responsibility).

Yep yep, I think we’re all on the same page.