A Shoutout to Activist Archivists!

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Wired Campus” blog ran a story today about Archivists and the Occupy movement. Who was this activist archivist you ask? None other than Howard Besser, who reported on his experiences at the recent CNI membership meeting in Baltimore.

The Wired Campus reporter felt it noteworthy to mention that Howard “spoke at the conference wearing an Occupy Wall Street T-shirt that he had made by hand” which would not have been a surprise to any archivists who have ever seen Howard at any public event.

Nevertheless the questions for archivists presented by the Occupy movement, and other protest movements in the social media age are complex and daunting for archivists. The Chronicle article goes on to explain how Howard and other archivists are attempting to create some systematic means of appraising and collecting the records of social movements. Failing that, they are at least interested in developing some standard approach for archivists to take when attempting to document these movements, because as Howard is quoted in the article as saying, ““The old way of doing things doesn’t scale.  …We have to find new ways of doing the selection and doing the metadata.”

Howard was joined in the panel by David Millman of NYU, and Sharon Leon of the Center for History and New Media.

Thanks to all three for raising the questions and the public awareness of the archival craft!

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