The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Category: What Gets Saved
- This week billions of people around the world celebrated the Lunar New Year on February 19. For the Chinese, 2015 is the year of the Ram and one of the traditions that go along with celebrating the New Year is the lion dance. Photographer Jason Lam's project, "Inside the Lion," captures the people behind the lion costume. [via Lens blog, NYT]
- Here is a list of children's books about Chinese New Year from the New York Public Library. [via New York Public Library blog]
- A peak at an interesting portrait of Dr. George Washington Carver at the National Museum of American History. [via O Say Can You See? blog, NMAH]
- Chicken wire, a seemingly common place material, is transformed by artist, Kendra Haste, into remarkably real sculptures of animals. [via Colossal]
- With 20 percent of entries disqualified from the World Press Photo competition for excessive post-processing, a debate about the rules and ethics in digital photojournalism. [via Lens blog, NYT]
- Technology and art meet in the attempt to identify a portrait as that of Anne Boleyn, queen to King Henry VIII, through the use of facial recognition software. [via The Guardian]
- The British Library's Endangered Archives Program released more than 500,000 additonal images online this week, adding to those already online for a total of more than 4 million images available from a variety of collections. [via InfoDocket]
- Archives, libraries, and museums are fighting to prevent the kinds of loss from the "Digital Dark Age" as discussed by internet pioneer, Vint Cerf, at the recent conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, by developing tools to preserve and make accessible our digital history. [via BBC News]
- By the way there's something in the closet - The story of the Armstrong Purse, its discovery, and the objects contained within. [via AirSpace blog, NASM]
- Leave those selfie sticks at home - Smithsonian museums and museums across the globe are starting to impose restrictions on the use of selfie sticks. [via ABC News]
- Hey don't throw that one away - Charles Darwin's childrens' drawings on the back of some of the pages from his manuscript draft of his On the Origin of Species kept those manuscripts from being discarded. [via Washington Post]
- Love is in the air at the National Museum of Natural History as their scientists there are helping species look for love in a series of “dating profiles” to celebrate Valentine's Day. [via Unearthed blog, NMNH]
- This just in - The Freer Gallery of Art will be closed for a year for major rennovations starting in January 2016. [via Smithsonian Newsdesk]
- Experiments in reposting - Here is what happens when you repost the same image to Instagram 90 times. [via PetaPixel]
- A thrill and sense of responsibility - Reflections on organizing the Rosa Parks Collection at the Library of Congress. [via Library of Congress blog]
- Now available at the New York Public Library - The papers of Tom Wolfe, the author of The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities, among others. [via the NYPL blog]
- Inspired by love? Say it with Shakespeare with these Shakespeare Valentines. [via Folger Shakespeare Library]
- 3D scanning and the Transcription Center at the Smithsonian are in the news. [via CBS News]
- Celebrate Black History Month at the Smithsonian! [via The Torch, SI]
- Two tragic fires destroyed records, one occured at a Brooklyn warehouse which held records from the state court system, and the city's Administration for Children's Services and the Health and Hospitals Corporation. The other at the library of the Academic Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences (INION) in Moscow where initial estimates say that 15 percent of the 10 million volumes and materials in the library were damaged. [via The New York Times and InfoDocket]
- All the way from Alaska - A rare skull of a Baird’s beaked whale arrived at the Smithsonian for study. [Unearthed blog, NMNH]
- This week the Smithsonian American Art Museum announced the creation of The American Art Collaborative (AAC), a consortium of fourteen American museums committed to building the next generation of digital searches and scholarly advancement. [via SAAM]
- More news coming out of the Smithsonian - Smithsonian Libraries presents the Smithsonian Libraries Artists’ Books Collection, which includes hundreds works of art in book form across numerous branches at the Smithsonian Libraries, spanning the 20th century through today. [via Unbound, Smithsonian Libraries]
- The Library of Congress published nine new file format descriptions. [via InfoDocket]
- A sneak peek at the first photo book from 1843. [via PetaPixel]
- Smithsonian in London? - Just maybe as the Smithsonian's Board of Regents have agreed to proceed with negotiations to have an exhibition space in the redevelopment of the former Olympic Park in East London as part of a proposed new educational and cultural quarter in the city. [via The Torch, Smithsonian Institution]
- Privacy, responsibily and electronic records are in the news at the University of Oregon where 22,000 emails from the President's office were released. [via InfoDocket]
- A behind the scenes look on what it takes to put on the Smithsonian Gardens' orchid show at the National Museum of Natural History. [via Smithsonian Gardens blog]
- Here comes the boom - NASA has made available online a collection of space sounds. [via Open Culture]
- It takes a lot to put together an exhibition, here are five things Jennifer Levasseur learned while curating the exhibition, Outside the Spacecraft: 50 Years of Extra-Vehicular Activity, at the National Air and Space Museum. [via AirSpace blog, NASM]
- The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum has released an API to grant developers programmatic access to its collection. [via InfoDocket]
- With a little thing called the Super Bowl happening this weekend, here is the trailer for a film about the four photographers who have photographed every Super Bowl. [via PetaPixel]
Social media, blogs, and websites dominate our lives. A Pew 2014 social media survey found that among American adults 18 and older, 58 percent use Facebook, 23 percent use LinkedIn, and 19 percent use Twitter.
A few years ago I wrote about organizing and maintaining digital images and now seems like a good time to expand on that topic. Do your digital efforts include capturing or archiving your own social media accounts, especially when one considers all the time and effort that can be invested in them?
There are plenty of tools and information available online about social media archiving for businesses, institutions, and government agencies to fulfill legal regulations and recordkeeping requirements. For the individual interested in being digitally responsible and saving their online digital footprint, this information is not always so evident.
While this is not a complete list here are some options:
Facebook offers a download feature for users when logged into their personal account. It includes your uploaded videos, photos, posts, and even ads you clicked on. This data can be important if you are a longtime and frequent user of Facebook and use it like a public diary. Old Dominion University also developed a Firefox plugin that also pulls your Facebook data for you.
While the Library of Congress is archiving every public tweet from Twitter, account holders can request all their tweets via Twitter settings. Please note that it might take a few days for the archive to be created. It contains your own tweets and retweets in JSON and CSV formats. It does not include deleted tweets or direct messages. Public tweets dating back to 2006 on Twitter also have been searchable since November 2014.
In terms of accounts such as Flickr, Instagram and YouTube, it is wise to save a copy of your important images and video to a reliable medium, such as a hard drive that is backed up regularly. Cloud storage is another option.
Websites and blogs can be handled in a few ways. One option is to create a PDF of the site or the pages. Web pages also can be saved to HTML within browsers but this can be time-consuming. Some blog platforms have export options to save to XML.
If you are not inclined to install a web crawler on your own to capture content, the Internet Archive accepts web pages to be crawled, if allowed by the site, and displays it via its Wayback Machine. Keep in mind this option does not provide you your own copy on your computer but is a place online that provides a snapshot in time of the site. This is handy when a web page is cited in a publication since the Wayback Machine URI will not change of the capture even if the live page is removed.
Anthologize is a WordPress plugin that allows you to take blog content and compile it as a single volume. It can then be saved as PDF, ePUB, or TEI (an open XML format for storage and exchange). Staff from the Archives was involved in its development as part of the One Week/One Tool project.
And while we are still in the first month of the new year, consider changing all of your account passwords, if not done regularly. News stories of system hacks are a regular occurrence now. Not only can information be stolen but also deleted or altered. Having your own data in some form could take some of the sting out of an unfortunate incident.
- You Asked, We Answered: 2014 Archives Facebook Q&A, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- You Asked, We Answered: Archives Facebook Q&A, The Bigger Picture, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Personal Digital Archiving: Preserving Your Digital Memories, Library of Congress