The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Category: What Gets Saved
- The George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will have a prominent home on Chicago's gorgeous lakefront. The museum will house Lucas's private art and memorabilia collections, which includes Star Wars and Indiana Jones ephemera, Norman Rockwell paintings, and movie posters. [via Wired]
- Who knew? Actors who got their start in government films! [via National Archives' Unwritten Record blog]
- Now this is tasty digital material - Food historian and cookbook writer, Barbara Ketcham Wheaton, has meticulously maintained ''The Cook's Oracle,'' where she logs every recipe, ingredient, and technique in the majority of cookbooks published in America and Europe. [via The New York Times]
- This just in from the Vatican; a virtual Sistine Chapel with Google-glass style viewers to cut down on visitor over-crowding. [via The Guardian]
- Lou Reed fans! 25 boxes of Velvet Underground posters and fliers, unreleased recordings, handwritten lyrics, news clippings, and more donated to Cornell University Library. [via Info Docket]
- And a new videogame inspired by Haruki Murakami stories. [via Open Culture]
- Lord of the Rings fans! A newly-discovered map annotated by Tolkien. [via Open Culture]
- A last call for Archives Month to contribute your stories and memories of gardens and gardening to the Community Gardens digital archive. [via Smithsonian Gardens]
- Gorgeous fly-throughs of 17th Century London before The Great Fire from a talented group of students at De Montfort University. [via Open Culture]
- A progress report on the open access movement in museums that mentions the American Art Collaborative, a consortium of American art museums sharing their collections data which was started by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. [via New York Times]
- In other open news, Harvard’s “Free the Law” project will make 40 million pages of American case law available via an open searchable database. [via InfoDocket]
- 55 minimalist book covers of vintage psychology, philosophy, and science books animated with electronic music. [via Open Culture]
It's October and another fiscal year has ended here in the federal government. For collecting units across the Smithsonian, it's time to begin calculating statistics.
In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the Smithsonian Archives added 352 new accessions to our archival collections, equaling approximately 901.68 cubic feet of physical materials and 915.4 GB of born-digital materials, like word-processing documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, pdfs, CAD drawings, email, websites, and digital photographs, video, and audio (I say "approximately" because we are still tying up loose ends).
So, what do these numbers tell us? It turns out, when looking at the numbers from the last couple of years, there is no such thing as a typical year. From year to year, our numbers may vary, up or down, by as much as 300 accessions, 1,000 cubic feet, or 1,700 GB. This is due to any number of factors previously discussed in "How the Archives Gets its Records (or, Golden Lion Tamarins Galore)", such as retirements, office moves, and renovations to storage spaces. To examine trends, it's helpful to look at blocks of time.
Between FY 2011 and FY 2015, the Archives added 1,918 accessions to its collections, including 5,445.21 cubic feet of physical materials and 5,157.4 GB of born-digital materials. Of these accessions, 12 percent contained a mix of physical and born-digital materials and 25 percent consisted solely of born-digital materials.
Between FY 2006 and FY 2010, the Archives added 1,223 accessions to its collections, including 4,101.15 cubic feet of physical materials, and 1980.2 GB of born-digital materials. Of these accessions, 12 percent contained a mix of physical and born-digital materials, and 4 percent consisted solely of born-digital materials.
Clearly, both the Archives and the offices throughout the Smithsonian have begun placing a greater emphasis on the long-term business and research value of electronic files. Much larger quantities of born-digital material are being transferred to or captured by the Archives. This is also likely a reflection on a greater reliance on servers, hard drives, and removable media to maintain files (as opposed to filing cabinets) over the last 5-15 years, the period during which most of the materials that we are currently receiving were created.
These numbers also show a significant increase in the amount of physical material (aka "paper files") transferred to the Archives over the last 5 years. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is not uncommon for an office or individual to transfer several decades of files to the Archives at one time. The older the files, the more likely it is that they were printed and filed, or created on a typewriter or by hand. It remains to be seen whether those offices will begin filling the recently-emptied file cabinets with new paper files, or will begin maintaining their new files electronically.
Paper vs. Electronic: The Not-So-Final Battle, The Bigger Picture Blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
Yes, We're Still Talking about Email, The Bigger Picture Blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
How the Archives Gets its Records (or, Golden Lion Tamarins Galore), The Bigger Picture Blog, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- On Monday, October 19, David Skorton was installed at the Thirteenth Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. [via The Torch, SI]
- Be proactive - Save web content now before it disappears. [via The Atlantic]
- The General Services Administration, which owns one of the nation's oldest and largest public art collections with over 26,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, new media, and more, lauunched a online gallery of public art. [via InfoDocket]
- Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty opens today at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and is the first museum retrospective of Penn's work in twenty years. [via Eye Level blog, SAAM]
- Unintended consequences - A drought in Mexico allows a 400 year old church to emerge in a resevoir. [via Colossal]
- You see them everyday, but did you know the history behind gylphs like the hashtag and slash? [via Wired]
- If were not able to make it to The Tate Modern to see the 130-foot art installation by Sara Fanelli that provided museumgoers with a sprawling roadmap showing the major artistic movements and important artists of the 20th century you can experience it in the video below. [via OpenCulture]
- Ask Skorton Anything - Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton took questions from Smithsonian.com readers last week. [via Smithsonian Magazine]
- Congratulations to the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage as their Moses and Frances Asch Collection has been inscribed to UNESCO’s Memory of the World International Register. [via SI Newsdesk]
- This past Wednesday was National Fossil Day and this is what some Smithsonian scientists had to say about the importance of fossils. [via Smithsonian Science News]
- Close call at The New York Times photo morgue where a broken water pipe sent water rushing into their collection space. [via The New York Times]
- Stay tuned - DRM (digital rights management) may be coming to the JPEG image format. [via PetaPixel]
- Please welcome SOVA! - the Smithsonian Online Virtual Archive - which provides access to some 137,000 cubic feet of archival materials held across fourteen repositories at the Smithsonian. [via Smithsonian Collections Blog]
- Now open to visitors in Los Angeles is The Broad Museum. Designed by the architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, it houses the 2,000-piece collection of Eli and Edythe Broad of postwar and contemporary art, featuring works by Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtentstein and Cindy Sherman amongst others. [via Cool Hunting]