Archiving at Home

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:

  • Figure out what you have and where it is - do you need to consolidate three different flash drives onto a hard drive? Can you sort physical materials by type?
  • Start an inventory. Find guidelines and a downloadable template here
  • Develop a simple, clear organization system for computer files: Find tips on filing structures here.
  • Standardize file naming conventions. Find tips on file naming standards here
  • Figure out what records you are missing that should be in your archive. Are some things still held by former directors or company members?  Are there venues, presenters, companies, or videographers that might have copies of recordings that you are missing?
  • ID digital or analog photographs: who took them? Who is in them? Where and when were they taken? Can you get former dancers or staff members to help remotely?

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.