It can be a challenge to consider creating a personal archive. We thought it would be helpful to compile a few suggestions, inspirations, and resources for our Personal Archive Project participants, and for anyone interested in pursuing a project on their own. A personal archives could be a collection of memorabilia like theatre ticket stubs from your favorite movies or Instagram posts that document a specific spiritual or physical journey. It could be a collection of genealogical records preserving family history, like kYmberly Keeton’s archives entitled The Southern Migration of the Keeton and Chafer Family. If you are interested in organizing your family genealogical records, take a look at the free templates available on Ancestry.com*.
You also never know where your archives could eventually end up. The dedicated preservation of your personal history could one day be a part of a repository! Every individual has a story to tell that adds to the rich history of our country and our world. You are unique, as are your experiences! At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (which is also part of SJSU’s WISE program!) Christopher J. Prom, Ph.D., has proposed A Trusted Personal Archives Service entitled iKive. “The iKive project will develop open source software that makes it easy for people to save their digital lives in a trusted location, then donate their iKive to a public archives or manuscript repository later in life” (UIUC Library, 2018).
We have some advice on starting personal archives: brainstorm! Think about what items you have collected intentionally or perhaps out of habit over the years. Do you have a collection of family heirlooms that have been passed down to you? What kind of idea or emotion would you like to convey when others view your personal archives? Once you have established a list for your archive (a minimum of 3 objects), take at least one photograph of a grouping or a single item. Compose a short introduction/synopsis, and if you want to go the extra mile, you could include extended didactics for individual items. Canva or Google would be excellent sites for putting together images of your archives. Once you have completed your project, post it here.
Resources on personal archiving that can help you get started:
SJSU SAASC’s Personal Archive Project FAQs: https://ischoolgroups.sjsu.edu/saasc/events/the-personal-archive-project/
The Library of Congress: Your Personal Archiving Project: Where Do You Start?: https://blogs.loc.gov/thesignal/2016/05/how-to-begin-a-personal-archiving-project/
Book Bunk: How to Build A Personal Archive: https://youtu.be/K8vGxcj_OZ4
Jewish Women’s Archive: Basic preservation tips for family papers and personal archives. https://jwa.org/stories/how-to/preservation
**ALAstore: The Complete Guide to Personal Digital Archiving—eEditions e-book. https://www.alastore.ala.org/content/complete-guide-personal-digital-archiving%E2%80%94eeditions-e-book
As always, if you are interested in becoming a member of SAASC, you can find out more here. We would love to see you on our social media platforms Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, or you can email us directly at SJSUSAASC@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments. Thank you for reading!
* We are not affiliated with or actively endorsing Ancestry.com
UIUC. (2018). A Trusted Personal Archives Service. [web page]. https://www.library.illinois.edu/staff/a-trusted-personal-archives-service/