I'll admit it: I'm no futurist. When I wrote a blog post almost a decade ago about potential ways for historians to share copies of archival materials with each other[1], I hadn't thought about third-party image hosting supplied via the gig economy labor model[2], as @anarchivist writes about here:




[1] "What would it take for historians to be able to share archival material?" blog.suppliedtitle.org/2012/08

[2] The difference between being a non-profit and not making a profit (while being supplied with venture capital) does seem important here. The fact is that there is already a contract researcher model for archives. The gig economy is less about creating new kinds of work than it is about setting the conditions under which people work.

This also has the feel of a project that floods a part of a workflow that is already saturated (demand for search, retrieval, and digitization) without enough attention to the part that needs most increased support (employing people at fair wages in a humane environment).

Kind of like when a digital preservation network tried to set up a complex distributed storage system for institutions that employed relatively few people to manage the digital materials they'd been acquiring.

@andrewjbtw oh hell yeah this blog post is really good. one thing I'd add as someone who has literally been on both sides of the desk (as an archivist AND as a user) is that people have really idiosyncratic styles to what they choose to image from folders/boxes *and* how they document that. I maintain a spreadsheet when I do archives visits noting what I request vs. what I actually take pictures of. I don't know how normal this practice is among archives users. (cc @anarchivist)

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