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Dear Readers,

After much thought it is not without regret for me to say that I am putting this blog out to pasture.  Over the last several months I moved to Norway and found a job here which is so far removed from where I started off professionally with respect to my aspirational interests as reflected in this blog.  As such, I’ve found it difficult to maintain this site while my job occupies so much of my days.

I feel it is necessary to tell past and future followers of this blog that I am retiring the blog because I am still often contacted by many out there interested in being involved in one form or another of human rights documentation.  It was my hope to relegate slowly from the fore of being the sole writer of posts here and delegate stories and forums to someone or a few on whom I could trust to maintain the spirit and integrity of the blog.  I also hoped that from time to time, in the background, I could check back and continue to maintain the vision of Archivists Watch.  But even this I haven’t had the time to carry out.  In any event, there are sites out there already that do this job quite well and I have littered my blog with posts about their activities.

Going forward, should any of you ever wish to contribute regularly, or irregularly for that matter, or start a web forum through this blog, please do not hesitate to express your interest to me.  I want Archivisits Watch to live on even if it means passing this blog on to someone else and no longer being there 100% of the time.

Thank you for reading.


Aileen Cornelio


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Archives & Activism Symposium

As part of New York Archives Week next month, the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York, Inc. (ART) and the New School Libraries and Archives are pleased to co-sponsor a symposium on archives and activism.  They have posted a preliminary schedule and are still accepting registrations for the October 12 event.

The symposium covers topics surrounding the contention between activists movements pushing for reforms vis-a-vis conceptions of the archivist’s role in handling materials of cultural and social significance as one originating from hegemonic and traditional institutional frameworks.  This symposium thus offers to reconceptualize the role of the archivist as societal needs evolve and technologies emerge while balancing the archives’ commitment to the institutions that fund and administer them…

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Register Your Support for the Universal Declaration on Archives

To raise awareness of the profession, the International Council on Archives (ICA) is enlisting the support of the public to promote Universal Declaration on Archives (UDA) by signing the UDA online register.  The UDA has been endorsed by the ICA as a key pillar of its outreach and advocacy policy and strategy.  Followers and supporters may also share the link to further publicize the Declaration.

The UDA was adopted in principle in 2009 at the ICA Annual General Meeting in Malta.  It was developed by a special working group of the ICA, the SPA (Section of Professional Associations), based on the model of the “Déclaration québécoise des Archives“.  On 17 September 2010, the ICA unanimously approved the text of the UDA at their Annual General Meeting held in Oslo.  On 10th November 2011, the UDA was officially endorsed by UNESCO and adopted by the 36th plenary session of the General Conference of UNESCO .

The Declaration concisely outlines the unique characteristics of archives and the management requirements to provide ongoing records access. It has been conceived as a basis for advocacy and promotion to support archives and the profession, and addresses a wide public. Available in 25 languages, it is a statement of the relevance of archives in modern society and marks an important step in improving understanding and awareness of archives among the general public and key decision-makers.


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Archives & Activism Symposium to be Held by Archivist Round Table of Metropolitan NY

The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York (ART) has shared its call for participation in an upcoming symposium in the fall with AW and its readers:

“The rebellion of the archivist against his normal role is not, as so many scholars fear, the politicizing of a neutral craft, but the humanizing of an inevitably political craft.”
— Howard Zinn “Secrecy, Archives, and the Public Interest,” Vol. II, No. 2 (1977) of Midwestern Archivist.

The boundaries between “archivist” and “activist” have become increasingly porous, rendering ready distinctions between archivists (traditionally restricted to the preservation of records, maintaining accountability, and making critical information available to the communities they serve) and activists (who, with greater frequency, look to archives or adopt elements of archival practice as a means of documenting their struggles) virtually unsustainable. In the past year, archivists and citizen activists collaborated to document the Occupy Wall Street movement, and archivists committed to open government worked with the New York City Council to advocate for keeping the Municipal Archives as an independent city agency. While the apparent convergence of archival and activist worlds may appear a timely and relevant topic, these distinct communities often deliberate their roles separately with little dialogue.

ART and the New School Archives and Special Collections are sponsoring a symposium to bring together a diverse group of archivists, activists, students, and theorists with the aim of facilitating discussion of their respective concerns.  Among its proposed topics, the symposium will address potential roles that archivists may engage in as activists, as well as how archivists can assume a greater role in documenting and contributing toward social and political change.

Possible areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

– Archivists documenting the work of activists and activist movements
– Activists confronting traditional archival practice
– Possible models for an emergent “activist archives”
– Methodologies for more comprehensively documenting activism
– Archivist and activist collaborations
–  Community-led archives and repositories operating outside of the archival  establishment
– Archives as sites of knowledge (re)production and in(ter)vention
– Relational paradigms for mapping the interplay of power, justice, and archives…

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Reminder: Archiving Human Rights for Advocacy, Justice & Memory

Join WITNESS and the New Tactics community for an online dialogue on Archiving Human Rights for Advocacy, Justice and Memory from May 16 to 22, 2012. Archiving and preservation have long taken a backseat to more urgent aspects of human rights documentation and advocacy, but that is beginning to change. Human rights archives are increasingly playing a pivotal role in advocacy, restorative justice, historical memory, and struggles against impunity. At the same time, however, archivists and activists alike are grappling with the mounting challenges posed by the proliferation of digital documentation. How can we ensure that the critical documentation created today will be preserved and accessible in the future?

In this dialogue, we will explore the tactics and methods used by archivists to preserve human rights information. Are you new to this topic? This is an opportunity for you to learn about the role of archiving in human rights work and how to develop your own archiving strategy. Are you knowledgeable on this topic? This is an opportunity for you to share your experiences with peers, learn about new tactics, and meet others working in this field.

Join us on May 16 to meet others interested in this topic, learn new ideas, and share
your experiences!

How can you participate?
This online dialogue is open to anyone interested in sharing their experiences and ideas
on this topic!

Join dialogue

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Interested in Archiving Human Rights for Advocacy, Justice & Memory?

Join WITNESS and New Tactics for an online dialogue on Archiving Human Rights for Advocacy, Justice and Memory from May 16 to 22, 2012. 

New Tactics and WITNESS have invited Archivists Watch to participate in this dialogue.  The invitation is extended to anyone interested to the topic and I urge you to observe and join in to enrich the conversation.

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2012 UNESCO Conference on Digital Preservation – Call for Papers

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Memory of the World Program, UNESCO, in collaboration with the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies and the University Library of the University of British Columbia (UBC), is holding an international conference on “The Memory of the World in the Digital Age:  Digitization and Preservation” on September 26-28, 2012 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  This event is also being held in partnership with ICA, IFLA, IASA, ICOM, WIPO, Google, Microsoft and others. UBC has put out a call for conference papers.

(This announcement comes from UBC archival studies professor, Dr. Luciana Duranti)

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