1. smithsonian:

    We’ve got a lot of stuff, but comparatively few records are fully digitized and searchable. We want to change that.

    We’re looking for digital volunteers to help us transcribe our records & unlock their stories.

    You can transcribe historic Civil War-era documents, letters from American artists, field books ore even 100-yr-old botany specimen labels. 

    Take a spin through our Digital Transcription Center and join us

     

  2. Blizzard Entertainment is making history. With ground-breaking games, monumental community events, and e-sports tournaments that are watched by millions, we’re blazing a trail for others to follow. If you want to take an active role in preserving and sharing the legacy of Blizzard Entertainment, this may be the job for you.

    We’re seeking an experienced leader for our asset services department. Working with stakeholders within the company, the asset services lead will create and implement a vision for preserving, and repurposing Blizzard Entertainment game development assets, and other significant material associated with the company. The ideal candidate will have experience in digital asset management, as well as, a broader interest and understanding of the cultural value of video games, and popular culture.

    I’m happy where I am right now, but I’m still… so… tempted…

     

  3. Lots more through the link.

    The university has also opened registration for its Transgender Archives Symposium

    I’d love to go, just to see the archives for myself, but damn academic events are expensive.

     
  4. The online exhibit for the Upstairs Lounge Fire is now up. People of my generation have been blessed to be born in a time where steady positive change is happening for LGBTQ folks, but it is important to retain a clear record of what sacrifices have been made along the way.

     

  5. The Archive of Indian Music “seeks to digitize and preserve for posterity the valuable slices of India’s cultural history and musical heritage.” This is a project driven by one man, Vikram Sampath, who was inspired to start the project when he studied in Berlin and noted that he could “hear Tamil and Telugu and Hindi in this country so far from home but that back in India we have no such treasures.”

    The oldest file is a recording from 1902. If you are a fan of classical/traditional Indian music, this entire soundcloud account is a goldmine.

    via Times of India

    Here’s another one I really like, though I haven’t found one I don’t like so far.

     

  6. How our entire history was dumped in a horse stable

    In the old horse stable of the Lahore Civil Secretariat, in dark, moldy, dingy conditions, lies this amazing collection, all official record let me clarify, of over 70,000 rare books and under one million rare manuscripts and documents, piles upon piles, on the floor, on old broken desks, in cupboards without glass panes. The stink and humidity overwhelms the senses. Only in the British Museum Library of London is there a better collection, all kept in mint condition. They respect our rich history. In terms of our own history, we are the wretched of the earth.

    ….

    Next let me tell you of a rare document that once lay in the record of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. It is the 1616 original litho print, among the first of two left in the world, of Sir Thomas Roe. It is an original, and in Lahore original rarities lie on the floor. The only other version in the world is in the British Museum Library in a nitrogen-filled glass casing, a rare manuscript that the British are proud of. In Lahore such rarities lie in heaps, only to be picked up and put on a table by an enlightened public servant. Beyond that he dare not. Honesty brings no laurels.

    The original record of the Bhagat Singh incident, known as the Lahore Conspiracy Case, also is in this collection. Among the books are the original prints of all the great masters of Punjab, which once included Delhi and Kabul. Just run your mind from the year 1600 to 2000, a full 400 years of rich heritage, a collection of the Mughals, the Afghan rulers, the Sikhs, the British and the finest record of the early Pakistan years, and all you can see of this glorious period lies on the floors of the dark main halls and verandahs. Our retired bureaucrat ordered a huge bathroom to be built in the middle of the horse stable, one last stab at immortality which adds to the stench.

    The roof of the main hall collapsed just six months ago, and given the way bureaucracy runs in Punjab, funds for the roof’s repair were denied. The rain did the rest. A deft educated bureaucrat of another department spared funds from another project to erect a makeshift roof. But then it is a matter of time before it gives way and we will have a massive deluge, which will, all things going the way they are, produce a massive killing field of the finest collection of rare books, documents and manuscript the world has ever seen.

    ….

    Tucked away in the heaps are the rare manuscripts of letters from royalty and rulers of the world over 400 years to the various rulers of Lahore. There is an array of secret documents about the hundreds and thousands of happenings in Punjab and its neighbourhood over the centuries. This is a researcher’s goldmine. The original record of the entire 1857 Uprising (War of Independence) is there. Mind you Lahore was the epicenter from where was controlled the fight for Delhi. This is a world original that not even the British have. Our khaki rulers demolished the historic ‘1851 Barrack’ which was the operations headquarters to make way for housing plots. Who dare challenge their intellect?

    Mind you among the record are even older manuscripts, one almost 1,000 years ago which, in Sanskrit, records the invasion feared from the ‘looting Afghans who know no morals’. Excuse me, morals. That concept died a thousand years ago. In any other country all this would need 20 massive libraries the size of the Quaid-e-Azam Library, built by the British, to hold. Mind you these foreigners – the British – left behind almost 900 libraries in Punjab, of which only 179 remain. Who needs libraries now?

    (Source: diviani)

     
  7. Research by archaeologists at the Universities of Glasgow and Exeter has identified a long wall that ran 60 kilometers from the Danube to the Black Sea over what is modern Romania. It is considered the most easterly example of a man-made frontier barrier system in the Roman Empire.

    More here. The details of the discovery are outlined in Archaeology from Historical Aerial and Satellite Archives. The authors note that many of the structures identified by archived spy photos from WWII have been all but obliterated by modern development. Without these photos, it’s likely that we never would have known that such structures ever existed.

    via Global Museum

     
  8. Top: This photograph was taken at a birthday party for a high-ranking functionary. The guests are dressed up like members of demographic groups that stood in the crosshairs of the Stasi, for example peace activists, athletes and church dignitaries.

    Bottom: Images from a seminar in which Stasi personnel were taught how to don different disguises. The goal of the seminar was to enable Stasi agents to move about in society as inconspicuously as possible.

    I swear I’ve seen some of these photos before, but there is a new article on photographs from the Stasi Archives depicting agents in various disguises. The full article is here.

    via Global Museum

     
  9. On June 24, 1973, an arsonist set fire in the stairwell of the Upstairs Lounge, killing 32 people, many of whom were members of a local gay congregation, the Metropolitan Community Church.

    The LGBT Religious Archives Network is in the process of building a digital exhibit about the fire, its lead up, and the aftermath, and is soliciting funds for its completion. It needs $1000 for the project, but is looking for simple donations of about $25-50. Fellowship between the LGBT community and Christian groups is a big deal for me, so I am passing the word forward. 

    Their donation link is here: http://www.lgbtran.org/DonateLink.aspx

    If you have some time, check the site out too, as there are a number of exhibits already up. 

    Under the cut is a transcript of Rev. William P. Richardson, Jr.’s letter to his congregation on his decision to hold memorial services at St. George’s Parish for the people who perished.

    Read More

     

  10. A telephone conversation between the President and California Governor Ronald Reagan after the UN votes to expel Taiwan from the UN General Assembly. 

    The last installment of the Nixon Tapes was released this week, after more than a decade of work and struggle that was referred to by some as “The Nixon Wars.”

    A good general article on the release of the tapes is here

    The last 340 hours of more than 3,700 hours of Nixon tapes came from the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., covering April 9, 1973, to July 12, 1973 — the day before the secret taping system was revealed.

    Little more than a year later, done in by the revelations on the tapes, Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974. It took four decades, though, for the public to gain access to the last of the tapes.

    "It’s over, and I won," says historian Stanley Kutler, whose 1992 lawsuit helped lead to the tapes’ release. "All the tapes are out, and it’s there for every historian, every generation to judge. … Never until Nixon have we been so able to get into the mind of a president."

    Included among the recordings are Bush senior, Regan, and “Leonid Brezhnev,” a “cold war enemy” from the Soviet Union.

    NixoNARA has a more Archives focused post on the issue here. An overview of the work that was done by NARA to make these tapes available is here. This stuff should be required reading in archives classes. An interesting snippit:

    “What is harder to understand is that the National Archives proved to be Nixon’s willing and trusted ally — even though it meant defying the law and misleading the public as to the nature of the material. Don Wilson, the archivist of the United States during most of its obstructionism, and John Fawcett, then head of the Archives’ presidential libraries division, ignored legitimate requests for access. Denying even that more Watergate tapes existed, they put themselves in the service of Nixon, not the nation or the scholarly community as they were obligated to do.

    I sued reluctantly, for the Archives is a precious place for me — one filled with dedicated public servants, committed to the principles of an open society. Nixon intervened … Eventually, the Archives acknowledged it held hundreds of hours of Watergate tapes, but only after I proved their existence by working through the internal evidence of the Nixon Papers. The Archives thus exposed its own cover-up.”

    Most of us will never find ourselves in a situation where our ethical chops are tested by something this big, but even in the smallest archive ethical issues will come up, and preparation and a good education are an important part of being able to respond to them.