#AskArchivists Day great success!

Archivists: the coolest people ever
Archivists are so cool! Again we saw it in tweets, just the same as people said during the Twitter event Follow An Archive in November 2010. So now we know for sure: Archivists are basically the coolest people ever 🙂, as @emilyg155 tweeted.

Preparations for #AskArchivists Day
June 9th 2011, on International Archives Day, the worldwide Twitter event #AskArchivists Day took place. About 140 registered (by the organisation of Ask Archivists) archives and independant archivists all over the world joined te event and answered questions of tweeps and other archives and archivists. 900 Followers of the Twitter account @AskArchivists followed the event, and at 22.00 hours European (summer)time there were 1,000 of them. Lots of people followed the event via a Twitter stream of the hashtag #AskArchivists.

In preparation for the day we gave information on this blog. Some great blogpost in English were written by @archivesnext on her blog and @archivesinfo on her blog and also 23 Things for Archivists promoted #AskArchivists Day in their newsletter. Archives and archivists also used their Facebook pages and their own blogs and websites to announce #AskArchivists Day. We were happy to see so many people used the poster, banner, tutorials and video’s! Several nings of archivists communities reported on #AskArchivists Day on their forum. And ofcourse archives and archivists drew the attention of their followers on #AskArchivists Day by their Twitter accounts!

#AskArchivists Day, June 9th 2011
#AskArchivists Day started in Australia at 07.00 hours local time. In The Netherlands and Denmark the local time was 23.00 hours (June 8th). The archive in New Zealand started earlier. We also had a participant from Japan who started around Australian time. Lots of questions were asked, lots of answers were given. Many questions were about immigrants records and who to find names of immigrants on the web. The organizers of #AskArchivists had a little sleep between 04.00-06.00 hours European (summer)time and took the lead of the Twitter conversation again in the early morning. In the meantime Dubai and South-Africa had joined and lots of archives and archivists in Europe appeared on Twitter. Questions went at a furious tempo, it was so great! It was hard to follow, but we hope we retweeted most of the questions with the hashtag #AskArchivists. Later on the America’s, Alaska and Canada joined, it realy was a great worldwide event for archives and archivists and people who wanted to ask questions to them!

Lot of questions were asked about digitization, digital born archives and preservation of digital records. Questions were asked about preservation and storage of special collections, like maps, or, very delicate: lipstick-kissed letters from your mistress. People wanted to know how to become an archivist and asked a lot about our fantastic and exciting job! So nice to be able to share our awesome job with the world, @gbrannanarchive tweeted.

There were very specific questions asked directly to archives and archivists about their collections and how to search and find in the archives and on the web. Also about their most oldest, valuable or precious document or most weird object in their collections. A question about the oldest archive in the world, produced during the day various answers about the oldest archival collection or document as well as the oldest archives building whether specialy built for archives or just an old building. One of the answers to a question about the most extraordinary document about the Second World War, came from @NIODamsterdam. To the question if they own the original of the world famous diary of Anne Frank, NIOD tweeted: yes and no, we are the curators, not the owner and the original diary of Anne Frank is exhibited in the Anne Frank House.

The two questions about the most wonderful and most annoying part of being an archivist provided many answers. Lot of similarity between archives, especialy how people react upon archives. It’s world wide the same! ‘Is this a library?’ ‘Why aren’t copies for free?’ ‘Why can’t I take documents home with me?’ And about our profession: ‘Are you something like a librarian?’, ‘Can you tell me more about the job of an activist?’, and @WellcomeLibrary tweeted: One of our Archivists was introduced at a talk as an Alchemist. Most given answer to the question about most frequent misunderstanding about archives was: that we are a library, as @Aalb_Stadsarkiv tweeted, and lots of other archives all over the world could confirm that.

Many archives like to work on education. They asked eachother how to start archives education, asked for good exemples of education projects and education programs.
Lots of answers came up from all over the world. We can learn so much from eachother, not only on subjects like preservation and storage, but also teaching various groups about archives, and how to search, to find, to interpret, how to draw conclusions. And ofcourse we can learn so much from our users! Crowdsourcing was an important subject during #AskArchivists Day.

#AskArchivists Day inspired people not only to ask questions but even to bake a tasty #AskArchivists cake! @elmissey: Check out our Happy #AskArchivists cake!! on Twitpic: twitpic.com/598qtj That was on Thursday and was tasty!

1,000 followers for @AskArchivists
At 22.00 hours European (summer)time we were happy to announce that @AskArchivists could welcome his 1,000st follower. And that was a very special someone: @AskACurator! We were so happy to welcome the organization of @AskACurator as 1,000st follower, because they inspired us to organize #AskArchivists Day!

I’ve been wanting to ask questions for ages!
Archives, archivists, and all people who joined on June 9th were excited about #AskArchivists Day. A few quotes:
@naagovau: Finding & following archives, libraries & archiving individuals; Building relationships in the name of #askarchivists
@haleylynn08: Wow, thank you all so much for responding! I’m so glad I stumbled upon #AskArchivists — I’ve been wanting to ask questions for ages!
@RandomArchivist: Ooh, neat resource for reading old handwriting! Discovered during #AskArchivists Day on Twitter. | http://su.pr/1bj9lu
@gbrannanarchive: Well played! What a fab day. So nice to be able to share our awesome job with the world. See you next year! #AskArchivists
@queensarchives: Thanks to @AskArchivists for an incredible #AskArchivists Day! Remember all – Archives do this all year, so ask your questions any time!
@IAmtheArchivist: I hope this #askarchivists trend continues! Definitely should not be limited to one day right @AskArchivists #archives
@townsweb: A big thank you to @AskArchivists and all those who answered our many questions yesterday – we found the day very useful! #AskArchivists
@lostinlit: @AskArchivists Thanks much for this day! I can’t wait to start my MLIS program and become a fellow archivist #askarchivists
@Brooklynology: @AskArchivists: great event yesterday. We love answering reference questions–one of the most fun parts of our job.

Survey: Let´s do it again!
We have also conducted a little survey (which is now closed), and 100 participants from 21 countries answered. The message from the survey is clear, since a large majority was interested in doing #AskArchivists again next year – same day.

The main outcome was considered being able to connect with other archive professionals, finding other archives to follow and to interact with users. Another tendency is, that archvists are dedicated to their profession, and thus tweeted both as part of their job as well as in spare time.

It was great fun to be with you during #AskArchivists Day. We enjoyed all of it! Thanks everyone for your participation, questions and answers. Thanks to all of you #AskArchivists Day was great success!

Charlotte and Anneke

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15 Responses to #AskArchivists Day great success!

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