THE INHERENTLY IMPERFECT ART OF ARCHIVING
Moi is honored that "eileen tabios" inaugurates Jean Vengua's newest blog, The Commonwealth Cafe, particularly as said blog reflects Jean's important and necessary project of further recovering Filipino-American writings. I got to be the subject as a result of being the first Filipino to become part of UCSD Libraries' Archive for New Poetry ... even as I would have loved to be archived the way Fred and Dorothy Cordova conduct the National Pinoy Archive in Seattle.
Anyway, as a result of finding a new file-home, I've been doing some prep work on how to organize and what to choose for sending over to ANP (hm: I just realized the initials--the Archive might be interested in my and Nick Carbo's early NPA chuckle-movement, a poetry moment punning of the pinoy New People's Army). And one of the most important topics I've stumbled across is the difficulty of archiving folks living in the "digital age." To wit, much of my work has been fostered within the internet. How does one archive emails, blogs, etc? Even the hay(na)ku wouldn't have been possible without an internet-based community.
Ever heard of "disk-in-the-box" problem? That's when people save their stuff on disks and send them over to archival repositories, and many of these disks are never touched again, facing the risk of aging out. Libraries need servers upon which to transfer these electronic materials but ever-strained financial resources make such difficult.
I'm over-simplifying the challenges that librarians/archivists face in the digital age. I'm new into exploring this and danged if I don't already anticipate having to do what I was trying to avoid: lapse to the print-out. At least for certain material.
Anyhoo, it's all interesting. Someone should really do a conference on how to come up with consistent policies and frameworks for digital archiving...(hint, you!)
But even if this problem is resolved, what I also know is that (at least in my case), archiving Moi will be an imperfect result. To choose what to send over to a public archives is to edit. Courtesy (e.g., for people's privacy) as much as honesty is going to affect my decisions on what to reveal. And, that's okay with Moi: poetry transcends autobiography.