[Foundation-l] Request: WMF commitment as a long term cultural archive?

Fae faenwp at gmail.com
Thu Jun 2 18:37:20 UTC 2011

Thanks Phoebe, for my presentation I'll highlight long term
preservation "in perpetuity" as the key point of interest and reflect
some of the other issues raised on this thread about the suitability
for certain types of donation.

I'm not expecting a WMF policy overnight, just thought that there
might be something in existence. It sounds like an area of the mission
that would be reasonable to translate into direct operational targets
(say, a pragmatic 10 or 20 year plan).

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On 2 June 2011 19:28, phoebe ayers <phoebe.wiki at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 6:21 AM, Fae <faenwp at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Briefly responding to a couple of points raised so far:
>> Yes, there is a need for a policy as otherwise the WMF would have no
>> long term operational archive plan. "Self evident" is insufficient in
>> order to budget and plan in a credible way. If as the planned outcome
>> of a research project I had a large image donation to make and such a
>> commitment was absent, I would prefer to mass donate images of public
>> interest to an organization that had one, and assume that at some
>> point e-volunteers at Wikimedia Commons would take the initiative and
>> port in what they fancied.
> Fae,
> There is no explicit, official operational archive plan of the type
> you are referring to. I am familiar with the type of plan you mean --
> archives and libraries in particular often have explicit retention
> plans that specify a date range. This kind of plan would likely be
> developed by the board as part of our long-range operational planning.
> There are difficulties, as others have pointed out, because unlike an
> archive we cannot guarantee retention of any particular item --
> individual curation and editorial decisions are done by the community.
> However, long-term preservation and dissemination of knowledge is an
> inherent and explicit part of our mission. You could point to:
> * Our mission statement, which says we will retain useful information
> from our projects on the Internet, free of charge, in perpetuity
> (http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Mission_statement)
> * the fact that a free license enables redistribution and longer-term
> preservation support than copyright does, because others have the
> ability to preserve our collections even if the WMF itself fails
> (dumps are noted as a value, in our values statement:
> http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Values).
> As you note, the key part of this is free licensing under a compatible
> license. We are interested in supporting the ecosystem of free
> knowledge, so that if an organization wanted their primary archive to
> be someplace else (but accessible to Commons technically and through
> licensing) that's fine; we can upload. However, as an organization, we
> are absolutely committed to preserving free knowledge for the long
> term.
> For this presentation, your preparation turn-around time is pretty
> short here, and I personally don't have time to pull together other
> community documents on this subject right now (maybe others do), but
> you can certainly tell the organizations our about our long-term
> commitment. Whether Commons is appropriate for them, however, depends
> on what they are looking for. The biggest argument for uploading
> collections to Wikimedia is not our function as an archival service
> (since we don't fulfill all of the requirements of a traditional
> archive), but rather the immense distribution and visibility our
> projects can give such collections, far exceeding any other online
> service, because of our global reach.
> best,
> Phoebe (speaking as a member of the Board)
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