June 23, 2005
Request for a Serendipit-e, Inc. site to be added to the Library of Congress
I'm feeling all bright and shiny about an email I got today from someone at the Library of Congress, the MINERVA Web Preservation Project.
The project was asking for permission to collect, archive, and make available offline Joshua Kucera's terrific Iraq warblog, The Other Side, hosted on Serendipit-e.com, covering the period of the start of the war in March 2003.
The site got national media attention during that month leading up to the Battle of Baghdad for many different reasons, and sometime later I also wrote an academic paper about the site and the controversy it generated, which appears in the University of Minnesota "Into the Blogosphere" collection.
Along the way I decided to learn a bit about the MINERVA Project, and I'll dig in more as I have time, but I just felt like saying how pleased and proud I am to be associated with Josh's site and his work in 2003, and I'm even happier to know that it will be archived as part of the historical record of the Iraq war at the Library of Congress. What a very cool thing! I spoke with Josh to get his permission, and he's tickled too.
Here's just a bit from the email they sent:
The United States Library of Congress preserves the Nation's cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library's traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including Web sites. The Library has selected your site for inclusion in the historic collection of the War on Iraq Internet materials. The Library requests your permission to collect your Web site located at the following URL:
Our plan is to engage the Internet Archive, on behalf of the Library of Congress, to collect content from your Web site at regular intervals during the War. The Library will make this collection available to researchers onsite at Library facilities. The Library also wishes to make the collection available to offsite researchers by hosting the collection on the Library's public access Web site. The Library hopes that you share its vision of preserving Web materials about the War and permitting researchers from across the world to access them.
And here's some more information about MINERVA:
The Library of Congress’ mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations.
An ever-increasing amount of the world’s cultural and intellectual output is presently created in digital formats and does not exist in any physical form. Such materials are colloquially described as "born digital." This born digital realm includes open access materials on the World Wide Web.
The MINERVA Web Preservation Project was established to initiate a broad program to collect and preserve these primary source materials. A multi disciplinary team of Library staff representing cataloging, legal, public services, and technology services is studying methods to evaluate, select, collect, catalog, provide access to, and preserve these materials for future generations of researchers.
Maybe other sites get these requests all the time and I'm sort of a naive doofus, but I had a good chuckle on the serendipity that tonight I was watching Mr Smith Goes to Washington, which just happened to be at the top of my Netflix queue. I dunno. I been on a Frank Capra kick lately. LOL!