Since my Rosemary died on December 8th I have lived a life in which time passes from one day to the next and nothing seems to happen. When Rosemary was around I used to wash clothes almost every day. Now the routine is once a week and I find fewer little tasks to keep my mind occupied. Niña and Niño don’t help. They cling and follow me everywhere. They lie on my lap during the day and sleep on top of me at bedtime. And so I have lots of time to think and reflect.
Every evening, as I struggle to fall asleep I vow that on the next day I will write blogs. And then I don’t.
These blogs, and the blog that I don’t seem to write have been in my mind as I sift through thousands of family photographs, slides and negatives. The idea of a legacy is in my mind. I often told Rosemary that if I died before her I did not want her to install a park bench in my memory anywhere.
My extensive file of photographs that I took for magazines, etc I have kept in good order and they are in alphabetical order in many metal filing cabinets (seven of them with four drawers each). Would I donate them to the Vancouver Archives where they would disappear in a flash? No. I will probably store them in a temperature controlled locker for my two daughters to deal with if anybody should be interested in some image (for payment to them!).
I believe that our city archives are where photographs and
documents go to die or disappear. I know that all the wonderful DVDs from
Videomatica went to Simon Fraser University. Would we have access to them? I
doubt that. If you want to take out books in Spanish from the UBC Library you need and expensive library card. Can one get one if one is not studying there? I have no idea.
I know that both the Georgia Straight and the Vancouver Sun are ignoring the legacy of storing digital media and links to them. In some of my blogs I have links to Sun articles. Many do not exist anymore. In our city with such a poor memory of its past the digital age will make that memory disappear even more quickly.
The Vancouver Sun donated 6 million negatives to the Vancouver Archives a couple of years ago. They obtained a nice tax break. I know that many of those negatives are highly unstable colour negatives from the 80s. At the very least they must be refrigerated. And compute an average of one minute to scan onr of those negatives and then multiply that by six million. Is anybody going to do that?
I know that I had a striking cover of Dennis Hopper on the Georgia Straight on the March 27-April 3, 1987 issue. The article was one of the first that John Armstrong wrote for the paper. We had driven to Seattle to interview the man. I know all this because a copy of that cover and the negatives I took of Hopper are in my files. Might this be found in the Vancouver Archives? How about the Vancouver Public Library? At the Straight? I don’t believe the Straight will be around much longer. What will happen to their hard copy archives?
Does anybody care?
This brings me to what has been in my thoughts these past weeks. I believe that my 5400 blogs are a repository of my thoughts and would interest my family. But there are lots of blogs on stuff about Vancouver that someone might think valuable. Because a blog has internet links it is virtually impossible to make a copy of it in which access to it would be easy. I believe I will have to trust my blog in a cloud and my family will have to pay the yearly domain and blog hosting fee. My friend Tim Bray who has a very fine and large blog called Ongoing wants to store it for posterity not only for his family but also for the digital world of which he is such an expert.
This brings me to the question. Does the Vancouver Archive platform also include for things digital?