We are thrilled to announce that Documenting the Now, MITH’s Mellon-funded collaborative social media preservation initiative with Washington University and the University of California, Riverside, has been awarded a National Forum Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), as part of a new collaboration with arts organization Rhizome. For the full details about this exciting opportunity, read the text from yesterday’s announcement from Rhizome below.

Rhizome to Host National Forum on Ethics and Archiving the Web

March 22-24, 2018
By Michael Connor

Rhizome, in collaboration with the University of California at Riverside Library (UCR), the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), and the Documenting the Now project, was awarded $100,000 by IMLS to host a national forum to address ethical issues facing the web archiving field. The forum will is hosted place March 22-24, 2018 at our longtime affiliate and host, the New Museum in New York City.

This National Forum will convene archives professionals, artists, activists, net culture critics, journalists, and designers/developers to explore how to build social media archives that protect the rights of users and communities while chronicling contemporary cultures and social movements. An open call for participants and attendees will be announced in October.

In 2015, Rhizome launched the Webrecorder initiative, a flagship project of its digital preservation program, to develop a new platform to easily archive and immediately reconstruct fully interactive copies of almost any modern webpage. Webrecorder is a powerful web archiving system, offered directly, for free to users of all kinds. Through Webrecorder, Rhizome aims to support decentralized, specialized born-digital archives that center the interests of the users and communities they serve.

Archiving social media has been a key concern of the Webrecorder initiative, and the National Forum builds on a successful series of ‘Digital Social Memory’ events which addressed the topic. Both iterations of DSM have brought together artists, activists, and archivists to talk about social media as cultural practice, and how it is and will be remembered. The conversations supported by this program directly inform ongoing product development.

Our partner, Documenting the Now, is a project of University of Maryland, University of California at Riverside, and Washington University in St. Louis.They have created a tool and community supporting the ethical collection, use, and preservation of social media content. Formed in response to the emergence of Twitter as a central communication channel during the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Mo., DocNow seeks to protect the rights of content creators while chronicling historically significant events.

The National Forum is organized by Michael Connor, Rhizome’s artistic director, Aria Dean, Rhizome’s assistant curator for net art and digital culture, Bergis Jules, University & Political Papers Archivist at UC Riverside and Community Lead, DocNow, and Ed Summers, Lead Developer at Maryland Institute for Technology and Technical Lead of DocNow.

The National Forum on Ethics and Archiving the Web was made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.