Plenary II: Media innovations and the networked archive

Sands Fish presented the plenary this morning and shared with us his ideas about connections across communities made possible by networked information. Fish described projects going on at both the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, ad well as MIT’s Center for Civic Media.

Fish described the project Promise Tracker, which encourages civic accountability. Citizens can take photos to help document the promises that politicians made related to particular geographic spaces. He also shared the app Action Path, which alerts you to ceonversations going on with in the geographic space you’re currently in, and invites you to participate in those conversations.

Most interesting was his description of the joint project going on between Harvard and MIT, called Media Cloud. That project seeks to analyze conversations taking place in online media. As they scrape news sites, they can begin to see what kinds of words and phrases are being used to describe the same event or topic. Examples that Fish shared included, August 2014 police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as the liberal and conservative press’s converage of transgender topics. 

The big take-away from the plenary was Fish’s emphasis on how we, as archivists, must engage in these online networked communities. We must go where the conversations are taking place, and where the data is. Be it on google or linked through Wikipedia, we must make our resource connect in these developing spaces.

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