Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Archives Year in Review

I recently read that it must somehow be ingrained in us to make top ten lists. So, along those lines, I have culled the ArchivesInfo tweets for the year and come up with the top news stories / trends for the year. (I have provided links to articles I cited in case you want to learn more about each top ten topic.) What didn't quite make the list?-  "Digital Dark Age," citizen archivists, crowdsourcing, digital curation, net neutrality, social media for cultural heritage institutions, human rights archives, and battles over the rights to personal papers such as the Kafka archives. (These didn't make it primarily because I've got a feeling that these stories will grow in the next year and may make it to the 2011 list)  Smaller stories of note, that also did not make it to the list include reports of the opening up of the Vatican's Archives, the finding of Rembrandts and other cultural heritage items in unusual places, Mark Twain's autobiography, the comeback of my beloved bookmobile, and the popularization of history through new programs such as "Pawn Stars," "American Pickers," and "Who Do You Think You Are?"...   With a nod to David Lettermen, here's the ArchivesInfo top ten of 2010.

Top ArchivesInfo identified news stories of 2010 (via ArchivesInfo on Twitter):

#10 Preparations for 150th anniversary of Civil War
2011 will bring the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and there has been a flurry of activity as cultural institutions (especially in the south) prepare to mark the historic event. A business with REALLY bad timing  joins the anniversary news.
Commemorating 150th ann. of Am. Civil War in TN. "Every Tennessean has a story. Share yours."
Archives exhibit explores little-known aspects of Civil War, marks 150th anniversary, legacy and strife live on
Groups gear up for state's 150th - Kansas get ready for sesquicentennial on a shoestring w Internet
National Trust for Historic Preservation Have something to say about Walmart
Residents share Civil War history. Local war items, documents recorded by state for 150th anniversary project
How we teach lessons about the #CivilWar - 150th anniversary shows us looking at history through a new lens
Archivists want records of Civil War relics: Experts will photograph items for state exhibit
NYT - Celebrating Secession Without the Slaves
Tennessee's Civil War 150 commemoration marches on despite little funding 

#9 World War II and Holocaust
Always an active topic, there seemed to be an exceptional flurry in archives / cultural heritage related WWII news this year. New documents were found or were made accessible, and battles over ownership of Nazi-looted materials made headlines. 
Holocaust Archives Go Online
Documents from WWII digitized, provide info on fate of those rescued from camps.
recordings representing the earliest known oral histories of the Holocaust
Did Germany help Eichmann escape to Argentina? - court set to decide on release of docs.
Museums are morally obligated to return Nazi-looted art, says expert
Vatican puts historical documents, including some from WWII, online
Holocaust Survivor's Story Preserved Forever - oral histories of survivors through University of South Florida
Horrors of WWII captured in found photos
Devastation of War. Archival Discovery Revealsa Ruined Berlin
Vatican secret #archives for World War II will open within 6 years: Cardinal Kasper
Archive project will digitize WWII Enigma messages 
U.S. Holocaust Museum: Auschwitz photos open window into Nazi psyche
43 countries agree to return Jewish property taken by Nazis
New documents surface on Hitler's jail time
Hitler's Prison Memoirs Up for Auction
Getty receives grant money for digital German art initiative. Archiving auction catalogs from Nazi regime
Could WWII have bn avoided? Memoirs uncover Irishman who saved Hitler from being kicked 2 death by mob
Huntington Library to transfer Germany's original Nuremberg Laws to National Archives
German WWII plan to invade Britain revealed in MI5 file
History throws us an interesting tidbit - info re Army counterintelligence officer who found original Nuremberg Laws
AOTUS blog - Nuremberg Laws at National Archives 
Hatikvah Holocaust Education Center at Springfield (MA) Jewish Community Center to close
Struggle in Poland over Jewish war diaries
Getty traces ownership of Nazi-era looted art
Mussolini’s secret diaries
Check out exhibit on NH's favorite monkey  [H.A. Rey archives used 2 interpret authors' WWII experience]
Millions of Jewish Holocaust victims named 
Kimura's photos of Hiroshima after bombing kept by Hiroshima Prefectural Archives and Library 
Log documenting Pearl Harbor attack given to Hawaii museum 
Dutch museum searching for relatives of Southport soldier killed in WWII 
Records detail use of Nazis 
The letter from Hitler that may have saved a woman from the Gestapo 
 believed destroyed by Nazis is found in Berlin: 
British archives make previously classified acct of Hitler provided by19-year-old Austrian public:

#8 Say goodbye to the book as we know it? has just announced that the Kindle has replaced "Harry Potter" as their number one seller. In 2010 we have seen a big jump away from "traditional" books and have had great debates about the future of reading and the future role of libraries.
Picture Books aren't in trouble just because NYT says so
Picture Books No Longer a Staple 4 Children 
No more judging a book by its cover? what will happen to covers in a digital world?
 Libraries: stop doing it by the book - transformation from fusty institutes to hi-tech hubs creates schism in libraries
The death of the library book - Cambridge has gleaming new building, but something's missing
Is your ebook/kindle lacking that fresh new book smell - here's the solution!
THIS BOOK IS OVERDUE! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All
"Will the book survive?...Inquiring minds tend to use whatever means they can to get what they want."
Libraries: Not abt Books 
Library Journal: New Plan Seeks a 'Big Tent' 4 National Digital Library  

#7 The BP Oil Spill
Reeking havoc on the Gulf Coast of the United States, the BP Oil spill has been called the largest accidental marine petroleum disaster in history. The affair raised obvious concerns about caring for the environment and just as obvious questions about a company's legal responsibilities in the event of such disaster, but it also brought up issues about documenting historical events, disseminating information about news in real time, and caring for documents that may provide insight into culpability.
BPs Photo Blockade of the Gulf Oil Spill
BP’s protective ordr: reasonably refrain & resist from changing, alteration &/or destruction of documents
'79 Gulf Oil Spill Leaves Sobering Lessons for BP
Documents: BP cut corners in days before blowout
Museum sends solemn message:

#6 International Repatriation of Cultural Objects
Countries and cultural heritage institutions are seeking ways to "remedy" the removal of items from their original homes. War, treasure hunting, and other circumstances lead to the taking of items from the places where they were created. The cultures that identify with the materials are asking for them back with differing degrees of success.
Venezuela Demands Germany to Return Sacred Stone; more scuffling over cultural heritage resources
Iran cuts ties with British Museum in antiquity row
Korea Asks France to Return Looted Ancient Books
Getty ordered to return priceless Greek bronze to Italy
Should Britain return Africa’s stolen treasures?
Antiques Roadshow highlights stolen artifacts.
More repatriated artifacts as US returns 'cultural treasures' to Iraq.
Returning archives to their rightful owners - the Descartes lettre
Iran’s Cultural Heritage Under Threat
Debate on repatriation of cultural heritage. NYT: Who draws the borders of culture?
Iraq-US begin talks to reclaim Jewish archive
'Bring Back the Act': Historian, archivist fight to reclaim one of Canada's founding documents from British archive
Iraq loses sleep after Torah finds its way into Israel
MFA returns stolen artwork to Italy 
Africa Urges Western Countries to Return Looted Treasuries 
 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Returns Historical Documents To Russian Federation 
South Korea's lost treasure. Officials trying to bring back plundered items around world. 
Yale set to return 4,000 Inca treasures to Peru 
Repatriated records: Missing parish records from England found in New Zealand 

#5 Battle to Save Haiti's Cultural Heritage:
The year began with a major earthquake striking Haiti. The fight to save lives began immediately and the fight to ensure the security of their cultural heritage was not far behind. News revealed that international efforts to try to secure Haiti's heritage resources was swift and has been ongoing throughout the year with the country continuing to live in a state of emergency due to catastrophic damage. 
Experts to assess damage in Haiti museums
UNESCO urges ban on trading Haitian artifacts
Quake's toll on Haitian art, heritage and income
UNESCO fears Haiti cultural heritage might be pillaged
Academics to begin search for Haiti's archives
Workers struggle to save Haiti history buried in rubble of tax office
Save Don't Bulldoze Haiti's Heritage
Gang members in Haiti return to streets after stealing guns & destroying all records of crimes.
Haiti’s Founding Document Found in London -
Rescuing Art From the Rubble of the Quake:
Smithsonian Develops Haitian Cultural Recovery Project
Smithsonian leads recovery of Haiti's art, culture
Conservator from Maryland State Archives helps salvage Haiti's cultural material
A paper conservator’s trip to Haiti: University of Texas conservator and lecturer's experience representing AIC

#4 Google, Copyright, Orphaned Works and more:
Google is shaking up the world with innovation and controversy. This year has brought new means of organizing information and questionable practices for making information accessible via the Internet. Internationally, we are striving to sort out who "owns" information and who has the right to do what with it. 
Google, copyright, and our future
Stanford signs Google Book Search agreement,endorses court settlement
US Anti-Trust Reviewers Still Objecting To Google Books Deal
Google book scanning: Cultural theft or freedom of information?
Google Fights Back Against Book Settlement Critics - Digits - WSJ
'Copyright deal is a cultural disaster'
China Counters Google Move by Partly Blocking Hong Kong Site
Development on copyright legislation for orphan works,will have implications for museums
Digital economy bill rushed thru late nite session in U.K.
Court Says It's Okay to Remove Content From The Public Domain & Put It Back Under Copyright
Canadian Archivist raises questions about copyright - weighs
in & discusses "orphan works" in Google agreement
Boston Globe quotes NEH’s director, office of digital humanities on new Google/Harvard text-mining study 
Google Editions Really Coming Soon 
Google seeks digital rights to Miramax films - report
Google to put Dead Sea Scrolls online 

 #3 A new leader at the U.S. National Archives brings change, faces challenges:
With a mission to bring NARA into the 21st century, the new Archivist of the U.S. takes up issues of digitization, morale, government records management, and valuing archives.
Ferriero takes on NARA's culture, modernization challenges
More potential victims of identity theft notified of hard-drive loss, NARA notifies affected individuals
NPR Interview with US Archivist Ferriero
U.S. Archivist Wants You to Have Access - awed by encounters with history 
National Archives Releases New Datasets on and Invites Public Comment on Open Government Plan
Archivist details challenges of massive declassification job
Federal Office Offers $50,000 Reward for Missing External Drive
Report criticizes archives on security of hard drive w info abt Clinton employees. allegedly mishandled by NARA
The Archivist of the U.S. David S. Ferriero is Now a Blogger
Many [government] agencies earn failing grade for e-recordkeeping
NARA hosts 1st social media scavenger hunt
National Archives Hunts Lost Documents on Facebook - WSJ
National Declassification Center Issues First Report
U.S. Archivist acknowledges morale problems at his agency
Archivist David Ferriero works to improve employee morale after bad poll results

#2 "Poor economy" resulted in layoffs, closures and the selling off of collections: 
Cultural heritage institutions are fighting for their lives in a difficult economy, forcing many changes in the cultural heritage scene and in the way many of us need to run our programs. 2011 should be a turn-around point, allowing us to better see which institutions will survive. We have had a couple of years to work on changed strategies where warranted. Those of us left standing can view this economic crisis as a chance to revisit our missions and procedures for operation, perhaps making us stronger in the long run.
Should (art) museums sell objects in hard times...? [NY Times]
Will US Museums succeed in reinventing themselves? 
Arts funding cuts proposed by Conservatives in U.K. 
Greece shuts more than 40 museums to save money:
New survey shows U.S. public libraries in financial jeopardy
University museums among greatest in UK, yet their core funding is threatened:
ash in the attic: Cash strapped governments consider selling art
Canterbury's Roman Museum could fall victim to the credit crunch - Museum closures British cost cutting trend?
Nation’s Libraries Get More Use, Less Funding
Good news -- and bad -- about museum [and archives] hiring - economy skews good prospects
Cut all librarians before any cop?:
History at risk in PA
History has value beyond nostalgia - funding for historical society's in Oregon
Western Reserve Historical Society Sells Its History to Save Institution
Another consequence of a museum closing, unhappy donors. Ansel Adams' Son Sues Museum for Prints:
Valuable lessons from Western Reserve Historical Society mess 
Cleveland historical society defends sale of items
Why libraries are a good investment in any economy on "Word of Mouth" radio
cultural institutions generate nearly 2x their budgets in local spending annually..."
Museum professionals march on Washington today - lobbying for cultural heritage
Almost half of poor Americans go to the #library for Internet says report by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
State history museum reopens in Massachusetts - some of earliest and most famous US docs housed there
AZ Historical Society & residents taking steps to secure historic sites closed by state budget crisis
On the Posterity Project: This little piggy had none: Libraries and archives considered "pork" by CAGW
Librarians Protest Budget Cuts, Crowding Hollywood Intersection During Rush Hour;  library makes up 2% of city budget
California Budget Drought Threatens Water Archive
11 Most Endangered Historic Places (in U.S.)
Queens Library is facing a potential funding cut of $16.9 million this year
What Happened to Public Libraries During the Great Depression? an interesting look from MA Library Commissioners
Devaluing America's culture: Gov Sanford cuts funding to South Carolina Dept of Archives and History
Sanford's veto overkill 
Library closings temporarily averted in Boston
Closing libraries "a terrible, terrible mistake" akin to "stealing from the future" according to a top children's author
Decline of Britain’s museums
Can Historic Preservation Help Lead Us Out of the Recession?
Local Culture Cuts Are Biggest Threat To The Big Society Says MLA...
Cultural impoverishment in the UK?! Hunt proposes closure of Museum, Libraries & Archives Council
"Fisk Says It Must Sell O'Keeffe Art Collection to Survive"
BBC News - How history can inform spending cuts
NY auction of rare photos aids Eastman museum
Upstate NY small town library deaccessioning draws attention and library director resignation.
A Crumbling Heritage: Italy  
Manchester museums could face cash crisis 
Historic Teamster trucks could soon be homeless. Volunteers heartbroken as money woes threaten Vancouver area museum 

National  of Wales set to 'lose £1m' after draft budget 
Pompeii collapse forces Italy into heritage debate 
Help Zombies Shuffle Over Brooklyn Bridge, Save  
As budget cuts across Europe put heritage under pressure, some say should spur better mgmnt h
Note that YouCut is currently taking votes on cuts in funding for NHPRC & IMLS: 
Congress to put words like "games" "culture" "media" & "museums" on a federal funding watch list:
As more and more communities are cutting library funding, these wonderful web sites have come to my attention:...
U.K. - Urgent warning over cuts threat to libraries in unprecedented joint initiative 

#1 Digital Projects (collaborative and otherwise):
As the world gains momentum in placing information about its cultural heritage resources online, news came out regularly about newly available access to materials. Our accomplishments in this area will be long-lasting, inviting this news to take our number one slot and edging out the hopefully relatively short-lived economic woes. Kudos to my colleagues for embracing the digital revolution and striving to improve access to materials despite the rough economy. The links to your achievements are too numerous to include here.

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