New York University’s Fales Library Acquires Triple Canopy’s Digital Archives

More traditional archival materials at the Fales Library. Photo: courtesy Art Library Crawl.
More traditional archival materials at the Fales Library. Photo: courtesy Art Library Crawl.

New York University’s Fales Library and Special Collection recently announced plans to acquire the archives of Triple Canopy, a New York–based online art and literary journal.

It may seem strange for a library to archive a website founded in 2007, but even on the World Wide Web, life is less than eternal.

A screenshot of the table of contents of a recent issue of Triple Canopy.

A screenshot of the table of contents of a recent issue of Triple Canopy.

“Browsers update, links rot, and standards evolve—often at a rapid pace,” the magazine’s senior editor, Sarah Resnick, told the New York Times. “For digital preservation you really have to be doing it and thinking about it all the time. And we just felt that it was completely beyond our capabilities.”

For instance, when Cory Arcangel discovered an old cache of floppy discs full of artwork created by Andy Warhol on his Commodore Amiga home computer in the mid-1980s, it took the Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry at the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club three years to recover the files.

An Andy Warhol computer drawing recovered from his Amiga home computer.

An Andy Warhol computer drawing recovered from his Amiga home computer.
Photo: via Wired.

The technology of today could all too easily face a similar fate of obsolescence.

With that in mind, Resnick reached out to the library in the hopes of making a very 21st-century arrangement. Instead of storing stacks of back issues, NYU will take custody of the magazine’s digital formats and files, updating the archive with the publication of each new issue.

More traditional archival materials at the Fales Library. Photo: courtesy Art Library Crawl.

More traditional archival materials at the Fales Library.
Photo: Courtesy of Art Library Crawl.

“The partnership urges both organizations to rethink what archiving looks like in the digital world,” said Marvin J. Taylor, the Fales Library’s director, in a statement. “Working together, we will be creating new ways of preserving born-digital artistic production.”

The partnership of course brings to mind Rhizome, which does a great deal of work in digital preservation, maintaining archives of over 2,000 new media networks in addition to hosting internet art awards and web surfing contests.

What publication is next for Fales?


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