September 23, 2020

Report: “Challenge of Archiving the #MeToo Movement”

From Harvard Gazette:

For decades, Radcliffe’s Schlesinger Library has been the nation’s leading repository for a range of primary-source materials documenting the lives and legacies of women in America. Its collections are crammed with letters and posters, journals and photographs — the physical records of an individual, a family, a social action, a political campaign.

Today, newer collections often arrive with hard disks and thumb drives; “papers” now include emails. But until recently, social media had not figured largely. Then came a cultural moment that shook the nation and helped transform the way the library collects and curates material in a communications age when hashtags can muster millions and tweets are commentary, conversation, and official declaration.

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“The discussions of how we would be accountable for collecting this movement began almost immediately because of our long history of collecting materials that document gender and labor organizing,” said Jane Kamensky, the Schlesinger’s Pforzheimer Foundation Director and Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History.

But the librarians were confronted with the novel question of how to gather and preserve material related to a movement that was born and partly still exists in a virtual world. Their answer: Gather websites, tweets, online articles, and other electronic material related to the topic in a publicly accessible digital archive.

“There was no clear individual to whom we could reach out to acquire the #MeToo collection, so we knew we would have to work differently to document the movement, and that we were really going to have to create the collection.

Read the Complete Article (approx. 1260 words)

Resources

Direct to Project Website

Radio Interview: Archivists at Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library are Cataloguing Every Tweet, Article and Spreadsheet the #MeToo Movement Has Ever Produced (April 1, 2019)

Schlesinger Library at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute Awarded Grant to Create Comprehensive Digital Media Archive of #metoo (June 25, 2018)

Gary Price 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.

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