RECAPPING FALL ICA ARCHIVES SOJOURN 2017
Read the Full Sojourn Report above or via PDF
Colleagues split into five working groups: 1) Global Archives Website Team, 2) Keyword Tagging Team, 3) HDP Research and Reporting Team, 4) Basement Archive Team, and 5) Gordon Harper Team.
Update on Working Groups:
To represent a living archive, the website will be a living document, “adaptive to the use of it” in the sense that it invites and changes with collaborative use. In order to “harvest work done in the past”(view framework here), the Website Team is working to digitize archive materials by first scanning them into PDF (portable document format) and then applying OCR (optical character recognition) software that allows computers to read the scanned text.
Tasked with answering the question of “who would want to use our wisdom?”, the Tagging Team mapped current data categorized as: organizational development, education, spirit life, symbols, movements, and volunteer simplicity. From there, the team created user profiles of people most likely to seek out and benefit from ICA’s body of work. Tags articulate what these users would search for without using institutional language, therein making the archive accessible to the wider community.
Beyond simply revealing the depths of the existing archive is the impulse to tell its foundational stories anew. To this end the Band of 24 Team drafted a unifying template for reports on the Human Development Projects intended to populate the new website. Through five sections of less than 500 words each, the template guides authors to reflect upon the whole story and identify overarching themes that not only strengthen the narrative of the project, but connect it to “insights, implications, questions, etc., that have been revealed about community development during the past 40 years” (view template here). In this way, reports on the projects build on the work of the Website Team by linking to supplemental content from the archives and beyond into the wider world.
Another working group sorted through the files of longtime colleague and Archives contributor, Gordon Harper. In the midst of memories of Gordon’s idiosyncratic wit and meticulous notation, these highlights were uncovered:
Perhaps the bravest of the working groups was led by Ruth Gilbert and Nancy Trask, who approached the monumental work of organizing the basement archives at the ICA GreenRise. Like solving a sliding tile puzzle, the Basement Team alternated between sorting through objects and clearing spaces in which to house those objects once sorted. They asked tough questions, such as: “keep or toss?”, “is the owner alive or dead?”, “is this object’s value institutional or personal?”, “would we send this, and is it worth it?”, “what does this mean to someone?”, and “could anyone else use it?”. Though the work was emotionally and physically exhausting, the team was “fed by touching the lives of colleagues” through the things they left behind in the course of the HDPs.
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