The COVID-19 pandemic and the requirements of social distancing have led dance artists and companies to embrace the digital: offering remote classes or rehearsals, streaming archival or new performances. How can you take advantage of this moment to boost your digital engagement and improve the ways you are saving and organizing your stuff, so that it can be even more useful to you?
Did you know? Just because something is digital doesn’t mean it’s preserved! All digital files are vulnerable to data degradation (also known as bit rot), hard drives can fail, web sites frequently disappear (link rot), and files on Cloud storage services can be changed, removed, or become unavailable. So, what can you do to make your digital files more secure?
LOCKSS: Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe. You should always have at least two copies of any file, one of which you never touch, and one which you use to stream, edit, or make additional copies. Ideally, have two archive copies that you store in different geographic locations, in addition to your access copy. If you use Cloud storage, have hard drive or server backups.
Did you know? Instagram is not an archive! Don’t assume that you will always be able to readily access your social media posts on their original platform. You should save posts you feel have lasting value for you or your organization.
Learn more about preserving digital files, websites, and social media on Dance/USA’s Artist’s Legacy Toolkit.
If you have archival materials digitized, or if you are able to scan things at home, you can use these videos, photos, artworks, or press clippings to engage your community, increase your visibility, and create moments of joy for audiences at home.
Other ways to utilize archival materials could include sharing never-before-seen photographs and choreographic notes, or vintage poster designs, programs, and press materials on your social media or in newsletters.
Stuck at home with time on your hands? This can be a good opportunity to start digging into your archives!
If you have boxes of materials at home and/or access to your digital files, through hard drives, servers, cloud-based storage, etc., you can work on your organization and management on many different levels:
In this Dance Magazine Article, Ariel Grossman, artistic director of Ariel Rivka Dance in Jersey City, New Jersey, talks about going through their archives to figure out what pieces to bring back, and Robert Dekkers, artistic director of Post:Ballet in Berkeley, California talks about working on the organization of their video and photo archives.
If you don’t have access to your archives right now, you could still spend time getting familiar with Dance/USA’s Artist’s Legacy Toolkit and talking with stakeholders about long-term goals and plans for the archive.
Have questions? Want to discuss your archiving goals? Book a phone consultation with Dance/USA archivists. An hour-long consultation is free for Dance/USA members and $40 for non-members. Find more information and how to schedule here.