The National Archives Blog: Accepting Responsibility, Working to Rebuild Your Trust. “Our credibility, so important to our mission, understandably has been questioned. We have begun to examine internal exhibit policies and processes and we will incorporate external best practices to ensure something like this never happens again. In addition to our public apology and my letter to staff yesterday, we will be apologizing to our colleagues in the archives, museum, library, education, and other fields, as well.”
The Atlantic: The Way We Write History Has Changed. “It may be, too, that widespread digitization of archival materials could allow people outside the professionalized, largely Western historical tradition to do history. Tim Hitchcock, a historian at the University of Sussex, put the argument in a transnational context: Digitization has ‘democratised historical research, creating a space for people to interrogate their own communities’ histories,’ he wrote to me. Different people working with the same historical materials will probably change how history is written.” I’ll be thinking about this one for a while.
Washington Post: National Archives exhibit blurs images critical of President Trump. “The Archives acknowledged in a statement this week that it made multiple alterations to the photo of the 2017 Women’s March showcased at the museum, blurring signs held by marchers that were critical of Trump. Words on signs that referenced women’s anatomy were also blurred. In the original version of the 2017 photograph, taken by Getty Images photographer Mario Tama, the street is packed with marchers carrying a variety of signs, with the Capitol in the background. In the Archives version, at least four of those signs are altered.” The National Archives has apologized for what it characterized as a “mistake.”
History News Network: British National Archives to trial 12-document limit per day for visitors, as academics warn research could be affected. “The National Archives have provoked outcry from academics by announcing a new trial restricting readers to 12 documents a day, despite concerns it may add ‘huge expense’ to research.”
Getty Iris: Reflections on 10 Years in Art, Archives, and Conservation. “This decade at Getty, we’ve seen new tools lead to new discoveries under the surface of a Rembrandt painting, watched as Instagram changed the museum experience, and embarked on projects that bring people together across the globe—to name just three. We asked a handful of Getty staffers from various areas of expertise to share their thoughts on what stood out for them as the key development of the past decade. Themes of collaboration, innovation, and open access quickly emerged. While this is not an exhaustive list, it’s certainly something to toast to!”
Ideasroom (New Zealand): The problem with cutting archives access. “The cuts will also have a major and detrimental impact upon New Zealand historians who are absolutely reliant upon the archives for their source material. In a quantitatively assessed, output-driven, academic context we do not have the luxury of doubling the timeframe for research and publication.”
Nieman Lab: This is how Report for America ended up funding a community Wikipedia editor (!) at a library (!!). “The entire collaboration involves two positions and three partners. WFAE will house a traditional journalist focusing on local government coverage. That person, though, will work with a second [Report for America] participant with the title of ‘community Wikipedia editor,’ who’ll be based a few days a week in the city’s local public library’s branches. That person will focus on researching and writing up under-covered topics from the library’s archives for Wikipedia articles — in particular those that are relevant to the Charlotte area.”