Evans – Question 3
3If there is a value in radical archives, archival practice, or archival content, what is it and how do you achieve and maintain it? If not, why not?
Meredith R. Evans
Associate University Librarian – Washington University
¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Documenting the public sentiment about an event in real time is as valuable as the facts that unfold. Documenting Ferguson has pushed the library staff to go beyond the walls of the university and its usual constituencies. To document these events, we have formed new relationships and have adopted a new way of thinking to ensure that content is captured and will continue to be added to the collection to meet the needs of our users and our new community audience.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Documenting Ferguson does not serve as a jury or impose judgment. We seek all opinions. The repository contains evidence of the community’s reaction and the evolution of a social movement, but related state-created documents such as grand-jury testimony and the Federal Justice Department report have been uploaded as well. Although these state-created documents did not confirm any wrongdoing on the part of police officer Darren Wilson in the Brown case, they do provide evidence of past injustices, the militarized response by police, and the community’s outrage.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 The project team did not know what kinds of content would be uploaded nor by whom, a risk more archivists should take to ensure the preservation and enduring value of evidential content that informs written history. We just knew we should encourage contributions while events were fresh in people’s minds so as not to lose content. We also wanted people to understand that the images and documents they created were important and worthy of permanence. We also knew that the media created by official news organizations should not provide the only lasting evidence of a community’s ordeal.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 At times it has been challenging for the project team members to remain on the periphery and not try to steer, control, or inform the type of content that is being uploaded. There is a strong desire to organize and categorize the content so that the repository can be searched and used with the highest of efficiency. However, by doing so we would change a key aspect of the project, which is to let the crowd source the content and let the repository grow organically.