Update: Aus-Archivists Not Dead?
Earlier today I'd posted about the Australian Society of Archivists' announcement about the Aus-Archivists listserv being "lost." Tim Sherratt, an Australian colleague and friend of this blog, announced this post on ArchivesLive, the Ning group created by the ASA seemingly to replace the listserv. Pat Jackson, ASA President, has already responded with an update:
The ASA National Office has not lost the Aus-Archivists list-serv. We have moved from an outsourced service provider to managing our new server at the National Office. The Aus-Archivists list-serv was a bit too ancient for our spanking new server to manage.
In terms of the posterity of the contents of the list-serv, the wonderful discussions and debate it fostered and engendered, they are not lost. It is our intention to post them to the ASA website where they can be perused. Further to that, it is my understanding that the Aus-Archivists list-serv is also deemed to be permanent under the ASA retention schedule. The ASA will be investigating other methods of storing the list-serv for permanent retention.
I can not give you a date or a time line for the Aus-Archivists list-serv to be put up on the website. This is one of many tasks that the National Office is currently undertaking. Please bear in mind that the National Office is probably smaller than most small archives and they have to service a wide and dispersed membership base. And today they were overwhelmed by the positive feedback of many of our members.
I thank Pat for being willing to clarify the situation of Aus-Archivists, and I'm relieved to hear that ASA intends to provide the run of the list on its website and that it considers the list to be records suitable for permanent retention. I do understand that resources are limited, and I would love to see ASA or Aus-Archivist's constituencies try to help ASA with this process if it's possible or preferable.
So with a traditional listserv, the actual 'archives' are pretty amenable to preservation. They are a well-known, simple, standardized format. You just say, hey, provider, give me those mbox files please, and you have a number of ways to deal with them to allow access. Ideally, if the 'archives' are important to you, you get a dump from the provider periodically, so if hte provider disappears without notice you've still got most of it.
With Ning... how likely is it that the discussions of archivists be preserved for posterity? Can you get a dump from Ning at all?
Jonathan, I know that Ning network creators can export content from their network using a client or an API, but I don't know about network participants.
Thanks for the updates, Mark. GMANE would be good folks to interest in mirroring the archive -- they have better interfaces than most.
When I hear "we'll put it on our website" I hear -- "it may be trapped in zillions of different files".
Why not also provide the dump of the listserv to one or several external organizations? Multiple copies is the only way to keep stuff in the long run.