Vorige week was ik in Stuttgart voor het archiefcongres Offene Archive 2.1 in het Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg/Hauptstaatsarchiv.
Dat staat in de Konrad Adenauerstrasse aan de ‘cultuurboulevard’: maar liefst vier grote culturele instellingen op een rijtje naast elkaar: de Staatsgalerie, het Haus der Geschichte, de Landesbibliotheek en het Staatsarchiv. En daarachter is de Archivstrasse. Ingmar Koch heeft in zijn weblog over zijn presentatie tijdens het archiefcongres een foto van het straatnaambordje opgenomen.
Offene Archive 2.1
Op 4 april mocht ik een presentatie houden over de internationale Twitter Initiatieven @FollowAnArchive en @AskArchivists, waarvan Charlotte Jensen uit Denemarken en ik beheerder zijn. In de weken ervoor had ik een biografie gemaakt en een abstract van mijn presentatie.
Hieronder is de presentatie opgenomen. Ik had de tekst uitgeschreven omdat spreken in een andere taal best lastig is om dat uit je hoofd te doen. Aan het Duits heb ik me niet gewaagd omdat ik iets beter (school)Engels kan dan (school)Duits, en ook omdat de voertaal van @FollowAnArchive en @AskArchivists Engels is. Bijna alle afbeeldingen zijn aanklikbaar voor meer achtergrondinformatie. De volledige uitgesproken tekst staat onder de presentatie.
Good morning ladies and gentlemen! Dear colleagues, first I would like to thank you for inviting me to speak at your conference about Open Archives 2.1. Also on behalf of Charlotte Jensen from Denmark, my ‘partner in crime’, I am very honoured, you have asked me to talk about the global Twitter Initiatives @FollowAnArchive and @Ask Archivists. I hope it is all right with you that I speak in English. I can understand and speak German, but English suits better with the subject of my presentation, because the main language of both Twitter Initiatives is English.
But before I start the presentation, I would like to ask you some questions: Who heard from, or read about #followanarchive and #askarchivists before the program of this conference was published? Who follows @FollowAnArchive and/or @AskArchivists on Twitter? And, the final question: who joined one of the Twitter events organized by Follow An Archive and Ask Archivists? Thank you!
I am going to tell you something about the past and the future of @FollowAnArchive and @AskArchivists. Let’s start with a little video. This is the first official Follow An Archive movie to draw attention to #followanarchive Day on November 2012, 2010.
But…, how did it all began? Well…, everything starts with an idea. In this case, the idea came up at the same time in two differend countries, because of an other global event: #followamuseum Day.
The first #followamuseum Day was started by Jim Richardson in 2010 and has since than been celebrated on Twitter every 1st of February. Museums tweet that day about there collections and exhibitions.
“Such a great initiative, #followamuseum on Twitter. Why not #followanarchive?!” ‘Two souls, one thought…’, we say in Dutch. In English the proverb is: ‘Great minds think alike’. I like that one too😉
In The Netherlands, it started because of a tweet by DEN (Digital Heritage Organisation) on February 1st. The question asked by DEN was: “Is it nice or odd, when you follow a museum and it follows you back?” I retweeted that tweet and launched the idea about organizing a #followanarchive Day.
At the same time, also because of #followamuseum Day, Charlotte in Denmark thought it would be great to organize a #followanarchive Day. She started a poll on the archives blog Arkivformidling. She asked: “Which day would be the best for #followanarchive?” Most votes were for a weekday, later that year.
Meanwhile, I started discussions on my own weblog Wat Van Waarden Is and on the online Dutch archivists community, Archief 2.0. One of the best advises was: don’t ask, don’t think to long, just do it! Start, and others will follow. And indeed, it does work like that on social media. Do you have an idea? Don’t ask, don’t wait, just do it.
Via the hashtag #followanarchive, Charlotte and I came in contact with each other. That was the beginning of a fruitful cooperation!
Charlotte wrote a blogpost on the Dänisch archives blog Arkivformidling: ”Shall we have a #followanarchive Day on Twitter?”
After a while we could set a date: November 12, 2010. Easy to remember: 10-11-12 and 12-11-10.
After we had set a date, we created a Twitter account. Ofcourse with a lot of archives in boxes on shelves to follow!
And we started a weblog, to organize #followanarchive Day.
But there is more to do.
Things to do before starting a global event whith not (yet) so many archives on Twitter: Write blogposts, Do (video) interviews, Promote on social media, Make lists of archives on Twitter in several parts of the world, Design QR-code, banner, sticker, poster, etc., Make a movie (you have seen it), Create a Twitter fountain, Start archiving tool (at that time: Twapperkeeper), we also created a Twubspage, Give suggestions about subjects to tweet about, Start a Facebook Page, Etc.
Eventualy the first #followanarchive Day was organized by Charlotte Jensen en Bente Jensen from Denmark and Poulus Bliek and myself from The Netherlands. We were supported by several archivists and librarians in both countries.
On November 12 #followanarchive Day started! Most participating archives were from Australia, Western-Europe and the United States of America. But also South-Africa, Latin-America and Israel joined.
Here you see some quotes of tweets on #followanarchive Day. A great tweet came from Australia: “The records we hold, tell the stories of who we are, where we came from and how we got there.”
We conducted a little survey that day. Participants in several countries filled in the survey. Most of them were 1 or 2 years on Twitter.
Most of the respondents discovered new archives or archivists to follow and got more followers themselves. Most respondents participated both as part of their jobs and in spare time. Not so many respondents found it a benefit to interact with their users…
Question 5 was: Did you miss something (open question)? None of the respondents answered that question.
The last question was: Would you like to do more Twitter events? The answer was: YES, we will! We combined 20/16 and 26/28 and made it our next goal: organize an #askarchivists Day. Our inspiration was #askacurator Day, an event for cultural heritage organizations.
The result: a Twitter account @AskArchivists. This presentation was made a few days ago. We had that time 4,975 followers. This morning we had 4,496 followers… Can we make it in Germany 5,000? Who of you will be the 5,000st follower? [5000st follower, one of the congress members, within 5 minutes… Great!]
The same preparations were made for #askarchivists Day as for #followanarchive Day: such as create a Twitter account, start a Blog, make a Twubspage, QR-code, posters, stickers, banners, and several animations. And lots of colleagues wrote posts on their own weblogs or posted announcements on their websites. We were so happy with so many help to pay attention to the event!
We went everywhere to spread the word about June 9, 2011, even in Second Live! Charlotte joined a lecture about Social Media and Archives by Christian van der Ven on Second Life, and advertised for #askarchivists Day.
About 140 archives and (independant) archivists all over the world registered themselves on the blog of Ask Archivists to join the event.
Three warming up video’s were made by Charlotte: one about exemples of what to ask, one about where you can find the answers on tough questions (in the archives ofcourse), and one to undust the image of archives, because we know: “archives rock” and “archivists are the coolest people ever!” (quotes of tweets on #followanarchive Day).
So, on June 9, 2011, #askarchivists Day started. First in Japan, New Zealand and Australia, and later that day in other parts of the world. Lots of questions were asked about digitization, digital born archives and preservation of digital records. And you see some quotes of tweets. #askarchivists Day was wanted! One of the participants tweeted: “Wow, thank you all so much for responding! I’m so glad I stumbled upon #AskArchivists. I’ve been wanting to ask questions for ages!”
Again we conducted a little survey. A 100 participants of 21 countries answerd the questions. Comparing with the Follow An Archive survey, now more archives/archivists were longer than 2 years on Twitter.
And again most archivists tweeted both as part of their jobs and in their spare time.
We noticed archivists liked connecting with other archives professionals. And again, they found discovering new archives/archivists to follow, more important than interact with their users.
Most archives professionals answered 1-5 questions that day, and some didn’t even answer 1 question. Most questions were about the collections and, very hopefull: how to become an archivist! Not many questions about genealogy were answered.
Most archivists answered general questions as well as specific questions. And most participants were more enthousiastic about doing an #askarchivists Day again, rather than organizing a #followanarchive Day.
So, after this outcome, we organized in 2012 and 2013 a Twitter event on International Archives Day, June 9. And we will this year!
Allthough a tweet day about a specific historical subject was not very popular in the survey, we organized it anyway🙂 And it worked out well!
On Valentine’s Day 2012 we organized #loveheritage. Many archives surched and found lots of love in their collections.
On International Archives Day, June 9, 2012, we organized a Twitter event to draw attention to archives and their collections. The event had no specific theme. Archives tweeted about special documents, special visitors, special stories, etc., in their collections. Some of them used Storify and others used Pinterest to archive the documents they had tweeted.
Here we see an infographic “Life of hashtag #archday12” The first peak of the hashtag #archday12 was on June 5.
The second peak of the hashtag #archday12, was on June 9, even as the last peak.
We couldn’t get enough of it…
On World Animal Day, October 4, 2012, we organized the Twitter event #heritagebeasts. Participants discovered lots of animals in their depots. Even some famous historical animals started tweeting themselves, especially for #heritagebeasts!
For the events #loveheritage and #heritagebeasts, we invited also other heritage organizations to join.
Leading up to International Archives Day 2013, we tried to get Google’s attention to create an #archivesdoodle. The activity showed fun – and very archival – doodles. According to tweetreach, the tag had 45,280 impressions. The estimated tweet reach was 17,519.
Unfortunately, it did not work out. Imagine how much attention the possibilities in archives of the world could get, if an archives doodle came to Google. Maybe later?
The idea is still good… and at least it has shown some creativity in archives🙂
These archievs doodles were created by: Charlotte Jensen, Bradley Headland and Thomas Wolf.
On June 9, 2013, we organised an event on Twitter because of International Archives Day. The German archivist Thomas Wolf from SIWI-Archives, came up with the idea to pay attention archives in need, also regarding the colapsed building and destroyed documents of the ciry archive in Cologne. A great idea, so we organized a global event: #savearchives. We learned that day, a lot of archives need our attention and our support! But, fortunately, there were also good stories to tell about saved archives.
Now, International Archives Day 2014 is comong up!
In 2014 June 9 falls on Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday. Most archives are closed that day. So we decided to organize the annual Twitter event on Tuesday, June 10. Again Thomas Wolf came up with a good idea: let’s pay attention to the First World War or Great War, that began 100 years ago in 1914.
So we ask all archives to search their collections for documents related to the First World War 1914-1918. Even countries that were neutral during the Great War, can perhaps find some records about, for instance, aid to refugees, or military or financial support to soldiers, families, countries in need. Other possibilities are documents of/about: Soldiers, Families and loved ones of soldiers, Battlefields, Refugees, Aid/Support, Governments, Weapons, Mobilisation, Diseases, War cemeteries, etc. Everything about history before, during, after 1914-1918, related to the Great War.
So please, feel welcome to join the next global archives event on Twitter, organized by Follow An Archive and Ask Archivists.
Ofcourse other heritage organizations are most welcome to join!
Tweet about World War I in your collections, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #WW1archives.
Charlotte and I are looking forward meeting you again on Twitter!
Thank you very much.
Anneke van Waarden-Koets
Zeeuws Archief, The Netherlands
More information about the global Twitter event you will find on the blogs of Follow An Archive and Ask Archivists.
More information about the conference Offene Archive 2.1 in Stuttgart, 3-4 April 2014
Pictures taken during the conference Offene Archive 2.1 in Stuttgart
Twitterwall on 3-4 April with hashtag #archive20
Blogposts in April 2014 on Archive 2.0 about video talks during the conference Offene Archive 2.1
Video of the talk about @FollowAnArchive and @AskArchivists on Archive 2.0.