Wednesday 8 February 2012

Blogging and talking about the process

This blog is - I'm honoured to say - one of those the British Library has chosen to archive. I like that because it means material on the gendered sea that is not saved in any one place elsewhere will have a long, useful and certain life - and will be easily available to all the people who don't have physical access to specialist libaries.

Today the BL has just uploaded my articles about having my blog archived:
~ UK Web Archiving:
~ BL readers stories: http://

In the UKWA article I say:
'In 2011 when staff from the UK Web Archive at BL emailed the news that my blog was one of those selected to be archived for posterity that really gave me a boost.

'And it changed my blogging practices. I write more frequently and more carefully, because of a greater sense of its significance. My entries are now made at least twice a month. I spend hours, no longer minutes, writing each entry as vividly and elegantly as I can; I make more effort to explain significances and acronyms.

'Having your blog harvested feels an oddly alienated experience. It’s like being a rose that knows the gardener is plucking it, but never feels the secateurs nor sees itself finally arranged in the vase with all the other blooms.

'So it really helped when the Head of Web Archiving Helen Hockx-Yu took the time to show me how the process worked. In her office papered with Chinese poems on the Underground I saw the crawler in operation, scuttling round and scooping up other’s blogs and websites like some diligent crab from a William Gibson sci-fi story.

'Finding out the program’s name, Heritrix, seemed to make the process feel more comprehensible. OK, it’s just another clever piece of software, like Photoshop.

'Hearing that I was one of the 10,000 websites owners and bloggers helped me see my in/significance within the UK Web Archive; it’s a bit like looking your house via Google Earth.

'And understanding that my ‘donation’ was collected every six months helped me get a sense that there was someone listening.'