OTW: A Decade of Serving Fans

For ten years now, the Organization for Transformative Works’ many projects have been pursuing our stated mission: “serv[ing] the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. We believe that fanworks are transformative and that transformative works are legitimate.” Your support over the past decade has allowed us to do some amazing work for you. Help us to continue, expand and improve our services by donating to the OTW today!

Our very first project, Legal Advocacy, was launched in 2007. The Legal team has spent the ten years since then working tirelessly on behalf of fandom by answering fans’ legal questions, publishing informative posts, and adding the OTW’s voice to major legal cases affecting fandom.

Next came Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), an open-source, peer-reviewed academic journal launched in September 2008 to showcase research and conversation about fannish topics. With essay topics ranging from digital fan labor to fanfiction in the 17th century, TWC has advanced the field of fan studies and expanded our understanding of fandom. In its lifetime, TWC has published nearly 200 articles, some of which have been cited dozens of times or more.

Launched in the same month as TWC, the Fanlore wiki aims to be a living history of fan traditions and communities, with articles dedicated to ships, works, zines, websites, and fan activities of all kinds. Check out Fanlore’s new, completely redesigned front page, then try exploring the site—over 40,000 Fanlore articles have been created over the past decade, and more are added every day, so you never know what you might find!

In November 2009, the Archive of Our Own (AO3) opened to the public. It was created to be a place where fans could post their works without having to worry about censorship or financial constraints, and today it is home to over three million fanworks and counting! Running the Archive accounts for a significant portion of the OTW’s budget, and it’s your donations that make it possible.

Last but not least, Open Doors has been preserving at-risk fanworks and archives by bringing them to AO3 since 2009. To date, Open Doors has imported 47 fanwork archives from many different fandoms, safeguarding them for future fans to enjoy! Open Doors’ Fan Culture Preservation Project (FCPP) also collaborates with the University of Iowa to save non-digital forms of fannish culture like zines, con materials, and letters between fans and studios or writers. The OTW has been working with the university’s Special Collections department since June 2009, when the FCPP facilitated a donation of over 3,000 zines!

The OTW’s projects have done some amazing work over the past ten years, and we need your help to continue, expand, and improve our efforts! We hope to be serving the interests of fans for the next decade and beyond. If you’d like to contribute and be a part of our mission, please make a donation today!

For more fun facts, here’s a timeline of some major milestones in OTW’s history:

Timeline of major OTW milestones
Follow this link to access this infographic’s contents in text form.


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