Activating the Digital Archive

at Banner Repeater project space and reading room.

Banner Repeater will be holding drop-in days over February and March in tandem with the Activating the Archive display at Hackney Archives, where artists who publish are welcome to drop in with their publications.  Initial data will be inputted with the help of the archive team, and as the archive goes live in March, an invitation to input more anecdotal accounts will be open to all users.  


The Digital Archive.
For five years Banner Repeater has been building an archive of Artists Publishing – digitalizing the material in the Public Archive at Banner Repeater, including those archives it has hosted, such as Publish and be Damned.

The aim has been to generate from our existing archive a more dedicated and interactive user-driven database that constitutes a working research model: that will act as a catalogue and analysis of historical and contemporary artists publishing.
Working with several noted experts in Artists’ Publishing:  Arnaud Desjardin, who works as an artist and publisher as the Everyday Press, and as a specialist artists’ bookseller with extensive knowledge of current technological requirements and descriptions of printed matter.  Karen Di Franco, a digital archivist who has worked on the development of Book Works online archive and the touring exhibition and publication: Again, A Time Machine (2010-12). She has written for the Art Libraries Journal about digital archiving and contributed to numerous conferences, symposia and workshops about archives and has been an independent researcher in the UK Web Archive at the British Library.  And Ian Morris, who has worked in digital technologies for 15 years as a developer, collaborating in partnership with many cultural institutions, and was programmer in residence at Jan Van Eyck Academy Masstricht and is responsible for building many experimental and commercial online projects.
Over the last two years we have been developing the principle of a wiki style approach with a user/editor interface applied to the idea of an archive.  The project introduces the possibility for users and producers to create their own metadata: crucial information, structuring a new model in retrieving information, to further understand, disseminate and share through the database as a working model.
Through the emphasis on including anecdotal accounts as well as specialised information, cross-referenced and co-edited by users, we hope to provide a refined as well as contributive learning experience from participants' many voices and histories: a tool as well as an electronic commons for the exchange of detailed information.

Following examples of proprietary strategies such as Google Books, Activating the Archive is invested in developing the archive as a digital commons without the gatekeepers.