IRC18: Offline, Kandbari, February 22-24, 2018


12. #FollowUsOffline

Last updated on Nov 24, 2017.

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Context of the Session

With the outcrop of small community archives online that have been enabled by increased, if unequal, digital access the lives of both big and small data have been the subject of much debate lately. This presentation seeks to investigate the archival processes that precede and succeed the archival moment in the offline space.

The session looks at both archival architectures and how they connect to the offline as well as the process of data creation, interpretation and analysis as an essentially offline activity especially in the digital humanities. It reflects on data creation for an archive and the interpretative and organisational logics that determines inclusion. It also comments on institutional structures and procedures as essential drivers of the life of a digital archive with resources and institutional politics playing an important role in the nature, use and access of the archive.

Once the archive comes into being various elements in the architecture of the archive itself enable a selective engagement with the offline propelled by the archive’s politics. This can manifest in metadata derivation, access, dissemination, assigned user roles and hierarchies and the archive’s approach to validation and annotation.

Access to the archive then invites questions of use and performance. Who chooses to see what in what context? How does the access that the archive enable direct this performance? Communally annotated archives reflect social processes that may be independent of the original archival impulse and generate new data and open new archival pathways.

We will open up a discussion on an architecture of an offline archive and will include Mobility and Mirroring, Metadata derivation, Multipoint curation, Decentralized Annotations, Distribution versus privacy, Decentralized authentication, Software independence, Inclusive of low-literates, Community ownership and intrusion detection, Trust, Validation, ...

We intend to document these discussions and take this forward by initiating a reference implementation of such an archive.

Session Plan

Our aim is to first bring to the table the context of work being done by introducing practices of archivists and tabulate the needs with focus on the offline in their workflow. Added along will be some examples of our work regarding the Intangible Cultural heritage. We then present the software heritage work so as to contemplate a digital dark age whereby we plan to converge on best practices for keeping an archive available in the future. We then open the discussion to make a wishlist from all participants and negotiate the way these can be considered in the architecture of the offline archive.

Session will be as follows.

  • Stories, games and archives work samples,
  • Festivals and rituals - Living archives of the memories,
  • Proposal of an architecture of an offline archive, and
  • Opening the space for a wishlist discussion.

Session Team

Dinesh is the Technical Director of Janastu(.org), a non-profit organisation. As technical director of Janastu, he works from Bangalore, India on issues like Web content accessibility for the low-literate, use of 3D methods for location interpretation, methods on using social semantic web concepts for storytelling and developing open source social platforms. He was part of the W3C Web Annotation Working Group defining a technical recommendation for a standard.

Janastu has been providing Free Open Source Software (FOSS) solutions and support to small nonprofits (NPOs/NGOs) for about 2 decades and some necessary R&D. Janastu is actively working on archives for Indian needs such as diversity of literacy and negotiation of community archives by all. Lately, Janastu has been exploring introducing makerspaces to rural craft centers and media making activity at rural public schools and women cooperative as ways to enhance peer-group learning and local economy.

Farah Yameen is a media and research professional who works primarily with documentary filmmaking and oral history research. After earning her Bachelor's degree in English literature and Master's degree in Mass Communication in 2011, Farah started working as a filmmaker and has since worked on various media projects.

As an oral historian, she has presented papers at various platforms including the International Oral History Conference, the Oral History Society Conference and the Texas Oral History Association Conference(USA). She started working on the Delhi Oral Histories Project at the Centre for Community Knowledge, Ambedkar University Delhi in 2014 and is currently working on the Democracy Archives at the University of Gottingen.

Afrah Shafiq is a multimedia artist, producer, researcher and documentary filmmaker. She has recently completed her first independent project as artist called “Sultana’s Reality’ that looks at research as art, history as subjective and archives as a ground for remix culture. The project was made as part of an archival and museum fellowship by the India Foundation for the Arts and won the second place at the Computer Space Festival in Bulgaria under the category of Mobile Applications and Art.

Bhanu Prakash GS - As Web application developer in Servelots(.com), contributing to the open and free software, has been working on developing tools for delivering visual stories from archives. He has worked with the NCBS@25 project now titled “13 Ways”, delivery of stories from the history of NCBS, Democracy Archives for University of Gottingen, and also on methods to render the folk stories of Vijayadashami into visual stories on the Web.