Thursday 16 September 2010

Memory and memorials

Yesterday on the radio I talked about how Christchurch's galleries and museums have come through the Canterbury earthquake. Although it's a terrific shame about the damage to the Logie collection at the University of Canterbury, I was greatly relieved to hear how safely the buildings and collections of the Canterbury Museum and Christchurch Art Gallery came through the initial quake and the aftershocks: both have now reopened. It's a true testament to the foresight and skills of their staff.

As I noted in my piece, the Gallery in particular did a fantastic job of keeping its friends and fans up to date via its blog and twitter, and giving us peeks into the surreal sights of a gallery being used as a civil defence headquarters.

As I also noted on the radio, I really hope to see a community archive built around the photos, tweets, blog posts, news items and everything else that's been produced and sent out of Christchurch since last Saturday. There are all sorts of logistics around this, and Twitter is one of the most complicated, both in terms of copyright and the ephemeral nature of a tweet (they start disappearing off the web after about 20 days). While Twitter is lodging their archives with the Library of Congress, that's not going to help us much over here.

It's old school, but I've always dealt with this in the past by taking screenshots. A more sophisticated push to deal with all this stuff might involve using something like the kete software, and combing Flickr and blogs and asking photographers and writers for their permissions to upload copies of their content (a great opportunity to do some Creative Commons promotion and education at the same time). And I really hope that the National Library, which has the mandate to make copies of New Zealand digital content, has been out there collecting madly since last Saturday.

This morning I saw that The Press and are 'crowdsourcing' people's earthquake memories. This is a great initiative, but inevitably it comes with the 'all your copyrights are belong to us" terms and conditions:

You grant us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide licence to republish any material you submit to us, without limitation, in any format.

We retain the right and discretion to terminate your access to the comments areas if we believe you are abusing the services in any way, or have breached these terms and conditions.

You consent to our collecting and storing your email and IP address for security purposes.

Sigh. There's got to be a better way.

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