[CITAMS] Cfp for “To Boldly Preserve: Archiving for the Next Half-Century of Space Flight”

Jonathan Coopersmith j-coopersmith at tamu.edu
Mon Aug 7 12:16:19 EDT 2017

*“To Boldly Preserve: Archiving for the Next Half-Century of Space Flight”*

*Center for the History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics*

*College Park, Maryland *

*March 1-2, 2018*

Paper, Presentation, and Roundtable Proposals Due October 1, 2017

Preserving the history of space exploration faces unprecedented challenges
and opportunities in this digital, big data era.  New forms of electronic
communication and data including oral histories and social media are
changing the nature of historical records and increasing their ease of

Even as early generations of researchers, engineers, administrators and
users retire, the number of countries, organizations, businesses, and other
non-government actors involved in space is sharply expanding. Relying on
the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for U.S. government
records management, while still essential, is increasingly inadequate.
Furthermore, most of humanity experiences space exploration either as users
(e.g., communications and weather) or as a source of imagination and
enthusiasm. How do we document and archive the activities of hundreds of
actors in space?  How do we archive the experience of users? How do we
archive imagination?

The internet and widespread use of digital media have spurred tremendous
popular interest in do-it-yourself oral history and other emerging methods
for archiving among people not classically trained as historians,
archivists, or records managers. Done well, these bottom-up approaches
could greatly expand the availability of historical records  —  especially
by groups, organizations, and individuals not fully captured by government

To examine critical issues in creating, collecting, preserving, and
accessing space archives worldwide, this conference will bring the
historical and archival communities together with space industry, records
management, digital humanities, and library media management
professionals.  The conference will 1) explore data management strategies
and toolboxes of exemplary best practices, 2) provide a variety of archival
models for oral histories, digital, print, and less conventional
collections management (such as software and artifacts), 3) disseminate
these strategies and practices to space stakeholders, and 4) encourage
underrepresented minorities and communities to create and archive their
contributions to space history.

To encourage discussion, we will pre-circulate conference papers to
registrants and post them to the conference website.  An edited volume
based on the conference will be published as well as guides of best

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

-  Space archives:  The first half-century

-  Space archives:  Contemporary and future issues

-  Archiving space-based business and operations

-  Collecting and contextualizing social media, hardware and software

-  Integrating Do-It-Yourself history with archives

-  Legal concerns:  Intellectual property rights, classification,
Nondisclosure Acts, ITAR, records management, archiving by lawyers

-  Contract history:  Templates for a successful project

-  Getting buy-in from individuals and organizations

-  Reaching underrepresented people and areas

-  Archiving the experience of users

-  Finding archival partners and solutions

-  Ensuring access:  Data management, ADA

-  Dissemination and diffusion of best practices

While focused on space history, this NSF-funded conference aims to have a
much larger impact by providing recommendations on policy and best
practices.  This conference addresses issues faced by all areas of STS and
history – encouraging high quality “history from below,” using new
electronic technologies, preserving a wild range of materials, and
educating a new generation of stakeholders.

The workshop will be conducted in English. The organizers can assist with
travel and accommodation expenses for presenters. Please send a one-page
abstract and one-page CV as one PDF file to toboldlypreserve at gmail.com by
October 1, 2017.  Decisions about acceptance will be made by November 1,
2017.  For more information, contact Jonathan Coopersmith (
j-coopersmith at tamu.edu), Angelina Callahan (angelina.callahan at nrl.navy.mil),
or Greg Good (ggood at aip.org).

Jonathan Coopersmith
Department of History
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX  77843-4236
979.862.4314 (fax)

​Latest article:

*FAXED.  The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine* (Johns Hopkins University
Press) is the co-recipient of the 2016 Business History Conference Hagley
Prize for best book in business history.
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