Announcing: OTW’s GeoCities Rescue Project

As we reported earlier this year, GeoCities, which hosts many fannish resource pages and archives, announced that it will be closing down at the end of the year. They’ve now announced a more specific date: October 26, 2009.

In response, the Open Doors Committee of the OTW would like to announce our GeoCities Rescue Project.

If you are the owner of a fanfiction archive or resource, meta or other fannish page on GeoCities and you are looking to house your fiction or other content, the OTW can help! Open Doors is teaming up with the Archive of Our Own and Fanlore to preserve as much material as possible.

Fanfiction: We’re offering AO3 beta accounts to fanfiction authors currently hosted on GeoCities –both single author and multiple author archives are welcome–so that you may preserve your fiction. If you are not the author, owner or site administrator, you can still document and memorialize parts of a fanfiction site on Fanlore, but we need an authorized person for an AO3 account. Contact Open Doors for more information!

Resource sites: If you are the owner of a fannish resource site, we recommend a page in Fanlore with a summary of the information and purpose of the site along with screencaps of the entry page and/or other key pages to convey the feeling of the site. We have volunteers who can help you set up a Fanlore page documenting both the content and feel of a GeoCities page. Even non-owners of a resource site can document and memorialize a site on Fanlore. Contact Open Doors for help or for more information!

For either a fic or a resource site, please include the URL of the site you wish to archive/preserve, and an email address. If you are the administrator of a multi-author site, please include email addresses for each hosted author (if possible).

Announcing: The Fan Culture Preservation Project!

The OTW is pleased to announce that we will be partnering with the University of Iowa to create a Fan Culture Preservation Project.

The Special Collections department at the University of Iowa already has a strong interest in zines, and is making a concerted effort to collect zines and other artifact of fan culture (con programs and flyers, for instance) in order to preserve them and make them accessible to wider popular and research audiences. Iowa is home to a huge (250,000) collection of science fiction and fantasy zines and APA zines, as well as a collection of Riot Grrrl and Underground Music Zines. Media fandom is not as well represented, and they are eager to collect many aspects of fan culture, including all types of fanfiction.

The first major donation brokered by OTW is the Fanzine Archive, a collection of over 3,000 classic zines previously housed in Santa Barbara–over 62 boxes! The OTW was able to help the retiring archivist, Ming Wathne, save and protect this valuable collection. Special Collections is currently in the process of sorting and boxing Ming’s zines. Soon after that is finished, titles in the Fanzine Archive collection will be listed in a finding aid on the Special Collections website. We are currently helping other long time fans donate their collections to the library.

OTW and Iowa are eventually hoping to explore ways to digitize some of these materials, so that fans who want to see them will have access, even if they can’t get to Iowa. (We are only talking about works where we have legal clearance; both the University of Iowa and the OTW are concerned about fan privacy first and foremost.) The Special Collections department at the University of Iowa is also willing to photocopy materials for a price of about $.25 cents a page, according to their standard procedures.

Moving? Apartment getting too small? If you have zines you no longer want (or more than you can manage!) but want to know they’ll find a good home, please contact the OTW. We can arrange for postage to be paid and for UPS to come to your house to pick up the boxes. You might also consider leaving your collection to the Fan Culture Preservation Project or making arrangements through a friend.

Please help us preserve this important part of fannish history!

ETA: And hey, if you’re in the area, check out the Star Trek exhibition curated by our FCPP partners at the University of Iowa! Where Many Have Gone Before: Re-launching Star Trek, on display only until July 1, 2009.

Geocities Closing

Like many fans, we are concerned about the news that GeoCities is going to close at the end of the year, especially as many older sites and fanfiction archives are housed there. As the chair of Open Doors, which is dedicated to protecting at-risk fannish projects, I can assure you that we will work out some sort of gameplan; in the interim, if you have an archive or webpage there, or if you can put us in contact with any archivists located there, please contact Open Doors through the Open Doors contact page.