For reasons that should become apparent, I plan that this will be my first and only post about the National Library of Australia's PANDORA archive.
I received an email from the National Library of Australia (NLA), requesting permission to archive the exploded library in its PANDORA archive of Australian online publications. I agreed, and so now the archived version is available here. I thought that people should know, if only because comments and trackbacks will also be preserved.
Look at these links for some basic information about the PANDORA archive: Editing our future, Sydney Morning Herald (4 May 2005) [requires free registration to view]; Margaret E. Phillips, Selective Archiving of Web Resources: A Study of Acquisition Costs at the National Library of Australia, 9 (3) RLG DigiNews (15 June 2005); FAQs from the NLA about PANDORA.
Yes, there are some in the library and media establishments who might think that blogs are worthless ephemera*, but I’m glad that the National Library of Australia takes a different view.
I’m no historian, but I gather that it’s quite common for writing from outside the establishment to be of interest to people trying to understand what’s been going on at a particular time period.
I doubt that there would be very many bloggers out there who would take offence to have their blog selected as an online publication of “national significance” and being preserved in (presumed) perpetuity. Just this week I was wondering how long this blog would stay around on the web if I happened to get hit by a bus during my perilous crossings of McEvoy St.
I still can’t believe this blog has had that sort of recognition. I wonder if it helps that the people making these selections are librarians and I have one of the more prominent Australian library blogs.
One of the weird things is that I’m going to need to resist the urge to be more self-conscious, now that I know that my words here will be preserved in this manner. I feel kind of inspired to keep this blog going and may end up trying to improve the quality and quantity of my posts, which is a good thing … I guess ;) That's the reason why I don't plan on writing any other posts about this. In fact, the less that I think about it, the better.
I think it’s unfortunate that because of a flaw in Australian copyright law the NLA has to ask permission to archive online publications in this manner. Blogs are different from books in that they are never really finished or fixed (in the copyright sense of the word). A book can only be collected and archived after it has been completed and published. I think it would be better if the NLA were just able to do what they needed to according to legal deposit laws, because that would reduce the extent to which the act of observation (or in this case, archiving) influences the behaviour of the thing being observed.
In the short-term nothing will change. Before this I was aware of the Google cache and the fact that the practice of googling exists. This is just another level of preservation.
Like many Australians, I don’t have much time for patriotism. I love the land and most of its people, but I am frequently embarrassed by the nation and its leaders. So it’s odd and feels kind of nice, to know that in this area, Australia is leading the way, and that I’m involved in it.
* I’m sure critics of blogs would appreciate the irony of blogs being collected in the PANDORA archive, seeing that in the myth, Pandora’s Box contained “the sorrows and evils of mankind within it.” But PANDORA contains many other Australian online publications, not just blogs.