Episode 82: Building An Archive For Our Times

These are very interesting times in which we’re living.  I feel the need to leave a record of this behind for my descendants and maybe you do too. Thankfully my two guests are busy collecting and documenting our experiences in a project for the State of Rhode Island. If you live here you can participate. Anyone of any age can add material to the new RI Covid-19 archive. Pictures, stories and video are all being collected.  Link is in the show notes.

In this episode we talk about the roots of this type of digital archive. There is a term for it–Rapid Response archive and one that saves our lived experiences.  It’s not new. There have been other rapid response archives for events that have happened in the last several years.

You might have a Covid-19 archive in your area. These digital archives are being built by libraries and archives all over the world.


About My Guests:

Kate Wells has served as the Curator of Rhode Island Collections at the Providence Public Library since 2013 after over a decade as an archivist and librarian in university libraries, municipal record collections, and state historical societies across the country. She holds a Master of Arts in History and Master of Library and Information Science from Simmons College. In her current role, she focuses on demystifying the experience of collecting and accessing historic materials through supporting community archives, outreach for creative use of archival collections and utilizing metadata and semantics in access models. Her mission is to facilitate communication, inclusion, and connections to history in order to catalyze social justice and empowerment in communities and cultural heritage organizations.  

Becca Bender is the Film Archivist & Curator of Recorded Media at the Rhode Island Historical Society. She holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation program, and studied Film Production and Africana Studies as an undergraduate at Vassar College. She’s an active member of the international Association of Moving Image Archivists and part of a core group of professionals working to improve preservation of local television news collections across the United States. Prior to becoming an archivist, Becca worked for many years as a documentary archival producer on projects such as the Emmy-nominated PBS series’ Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise and Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies.

About Maureen Taylor:

Maureen is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada.  She’s the author of several books and hundreds of articles and her television appearances include The View and The Today Show (where she researched and presented a complete family tree for host Meredith Vieira).  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel, American Spirit, and The New York Times. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as Smithsonian.com. Learn more at Maureentaylor.com

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