January 26, 2022

E-Journals: NYU’s Fales Library Acquires Triple Canopy’s Archive

From Triple Canopy:

Triple Canopy is pleased to announce the acquisition of its archive by New York University’s Fales Library & Special Collections. This novel initiative will guide the renowned library’s future efforts to archive the work of artists, writers, and organizations whose work exists primarily in—but cannot be reduced to—digital formats. A schedule of related public discussions and software releases will be announced during the coming year.

Fales Library’s acquisition of Triple Canopy’s archive will preserve the history and legacy of the magazine and all future projects and publications, as documented through its extensive collection of drafts of prose, poetry, and artworks; print publications and editions; videos of discussions and performances; website analytics; correspondence; and (mostly digital) reams of administrative and financial records that evidence the work of sustaining an ambitious and unconventional endeavor.

The acquisition is particularly significant because of the dynamic and potentially ephemeral nature of the magazine’s work, and also because of its relative youth. Historically, organizations and individuals have donated their records to (or had them acquired by) archives after decades of work, and often after their operations have ceased or their lives have ended. The partnership between Triple Canopy and Fales Library is a recognition that, in a digital environment, retroactive archiving risks an unacceptable (and ultimately insurmountable) loss of information; and archiving in general requires expensive equipment, technical expertise, and an abundance of time, none of which are likely to be available to small organizations and individuals.

Marvin J. Taylor, director of Fales Library & Special Collections, says: “Downtown New York artists were excellent at adapting and, in turn, influencing commercial technologies through creative practice. Triple Canopy’s roots lie in the work of downtown artists who were engaged in both the production of culture and the criticism of cultural production. Triple Canopy has pushed the boundaries of what can be done with digital technology more than any other organization working at the junction of contemporary art and cultural expression. The partnership between Fales and Triple Canopy urges both organizations to rethink what archiving looks like in the digital world. We know how to handle born-digital business files. Working together, we will be creating new ways of preserving born-digital artistic production.”

Sarah Resnick, a Triple Canopy senior editor and alumna of NYU’s Moving Image Archive and Preservation Program, initiated this partnership, of which she says: “The Web has always been at the core of Triple Canopy’s activities, as both a medium for publication and a tool for examination. The question of how we read and engage with text and visual media online, and of how to exploit the Web’s inherent dynamism to enhance these experiences, has always been a kind of lodestar for us. Yet the medium is unstable, unreliable, and, by any measure, not built to last. Browsers update, links rot, and standards evolve—often at a rapid pace. Although we long ago recognized the necessity of actively archiving our work, the challenge has always been in the implementation. How might we capture not merely the contents of an online project but the experience of engaging with it, all the while upholding the relationship between the website and our ‘offline’ endeavors? These are questions with few easy answers—and they certainly are not ours alone. In our partnership with Fales, whose expertise and resources far exceed our own, we hope to serve as a test case as we begin to address these questions; we hope to develop tools and practices to be shared, discussed, adopted, and improved by a larger community of artists and writers working with born-digital media.”

The partnership between Fales Library and Triple Canopy was facilitated by the generous and essential work of Triple Canopy’s outside counsel, Foley & Lardner. The firm devised a means of addressing the “rolling” acquisition of the archive and the status of intellectual property rights as the magazine continues to publish work by artists and writers. Triple Canopy is particularly grateful to board member Selig Sacks, Robert Weisbein, and Raquel Aragon for their efforts on the magazine’s behalf.

More About Triple Canopy (via Website)

Triple Canopy is a magazine based in New York. Since 2007, Triple Canopy has advanced a model for publication that encompasses digital works of art and literature, public conversations, exhibitions, and books. This model hinges on the development of publishing systems that incorporate networked forms of production and circulation. Working closely with artists, writers, technologists, and designers, Triple Canopy produces projects that demand considered reading and viewing. Triple Canopy resists the atomization of culture and, through sustained inquiry and creative research, strives to enrich the public sphere. Triple Canopy is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and a member of Common Practice New York.

See Also: N.Y.U. Library Acquires Archive of the Digital Art Journal Triple Canopy (via NY Times)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.