Posts Tagged social media

Occupy Archivists

A New York Times blog article this week sheds light on some archivist groups involved in preserving materials from the Occupy movement.  The article provides an overview of the organizations like Activist Archivists involved in these archiving projects.

As a counterpoint to the press Occupy archivists receive, a comment was made on this article pointing to a lack of awareness of activities to preserve items of historical significance documenting the Tea Party movement, if any such activity exists.  It would be interesting to know of any archivists or archival communities that are preserving the historical record of this simultaneous movement.  Social scientists and future researchers will surely need fodder with which to compare the two movements.

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Investing in Information Management in Aidwork

Information managers can manage useful and useable information for the period it is needed.  Social Media 4 Good sheds light on the need for trained information managers in aid organizations.  The proper structuring of data is detrimental in many organizational contexts, and especially so in the event of a disaster where information use and analysis is necessary and immediate.

In any aid organization, thought towards the management of data may only occur after the fact resulting in ad hoc practices and band-aid solutions not ideal for the long term use of information.  Haphazard collection and compilation of data ultimately produce inconsistent and unreliable information. Quite broadly, unlike many public institutions whose activities must be transparent to citizens or corporations who are accountable to their stakeholders and shareholders, aid agencies differ in that they have no such pressures to make information on their activities available.

In an article by Timo Lüge of Social Media 4 Good, Lüge reviews some of the consequences of poor information management in the humanitarian work of aid agencies.

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The Struggle to Document Egypt’s Revolution

Khaled Elfiqi/EPAHistorians are racing to gather material for the national archives, but the decisions about what to include have political significance.

On any given evening Cairo’s Tahrir Square creaks under the weight of its own recent history: trinket-sellers flog martyrs’ pendants, veterans of the uprising hold up spent police bullets recovered from the ground, and an ad hoc street cinema screens YouTube compilations of demonstrators and security forces clashing under clouds of teargas. This is collective memory by the people, for the people – with no state functionaries around to curate what is remembered or forgotten.

Less than a week after the fall of Mubarak, professor, Khaled Fahmy received a phone call from the head of Egypt”s national archives asking him to oversee a unique new project that would document the country’s dramatic political and social upheaval this year.  The Committee to Document the 25th January Revolution is staffed by volunteers and drawing on everything from official records and insurrectionary pamphlets to multimedia footage and updates on Twitter and Facebook, the project aims, in Fahmy’s words, “to gather as much primary data on the revolution as possible and deposit it in the archives so that Egyptians now and in the future can construct their own narratives about this pivotal period.”  The project will also collect hundreds of hours of recorded testimony from those involved in the struggle to bring down Mubarak – whether they supported the revolution or not.

“The question of access to information and archives is political, because reading history is interpreting history, and interpreting history is one way of making it,” adds Fahmy. “Closing people off from the sources of their own history is an inherently political gesture, and equally opening that up is a political – even revolutionary – act.”

Fahmy’s committee is not the only group attempting to pry open a long-held tradition of official concealment. Within a few weeks of Mubarak’s fall, protesters had ransacked the headquarters of Egypt’s notorious state security service, looting thousands of classified documents and placing many of them online. Last month the country’s first freedom of information law was drawn up, though there is no guarantee it will make it on to the statute books…

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A Human Right – Council of Europe urges UN to take on Internet Freedom

As a former student of modern information topics like the digital divide, privacy, and net neutrality, this news piece from the Guardian comes as no surprise.  It has been a long time coming.  If we are to look at the history of the Internet, it’s creation was founded on egalitarian principles of equal access and later, during its early years, as an outlet for free speech and even cyber-activism.

Is it inevitable that with the pervasive quality of the various social media outlets on the Internet today affecting the international political landscape that the United Nations would take notice?  The Council of Europe‘s commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, believes that the UN should do more to urge political actors to engage actively in this debate that they consider global.  The debate surrounds the question of media censorship as outlined by the organisation, Article 19.  The Council wants the UN to take up the gauntlet on protecting media freedom and privacy issues online.

Despite the fact that such hopes to find solutions which can regulate the Internet at all, even on a national scale, have mostly remained an elusive Utopian dream, this is a positive step.  Such an international collaboration among IGO bodies to raise more awareness among the political realm could only lend legitimacy to what has mostly just been the fanciful ideals that freedom of expression and diversity should be allowed to exist on the Internet.

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United Nations Declares Internet Access a Basic Human Right

A lengthy report released by the United Nations last Friday argued that disconnecting individuals from the Internet is a violation of human rights and goes against international law.  The report comes the same day that a monitoring firm found two-thirds of Syria’s Internet access has been shut down without notice.   “The Special Rapporteur underscores the unique and transformative nature of the Internet not only to enable individuals to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression,” according to the report’s summary, “but also a range of other human rights, and to promote the progress of society as a whole.”

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Course on Use of ICTs & Social Media for Human Rights Work

The organization, Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) is accepting applications for an 11 week e-learning course on ICT and social media use in human rights movements.  As part of the HREA Distance Learning Programme, the course is aimed at staff members of human rights and social justice NGOs and inter-governmental organisations who are responsible for information and communication (i.e. information officers, web editors, communication specialists) within their organization.

This now popular and pervasive topic is being explored in the professional realm to update and keep human rights workers current on new and developing practices that many individuals involved in human rights struggles are successfully undertaking.  The success of these practices underline the importance and potential of ICT and social media use for organizations related to supporting the work of these individuals in their struggles.

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