OTW Signal, January 2024

Every month in OTW Signal we’ll take a look at stories that connect to the OTW’s mission and projects, including legal, technology, academic, fannish history, and preservation issues that are important for fandom, fan culture or transformative works.

In the News

The OTW’s Fanlore project was recently profiled in an issue of Library Journal.

Fanlore is a project by the Organization for Transformative Works, the premier source for the preservation of fanworks and fandom history. As a wiki, Fanlore is created and maintained by knowledgeable fans, many with insider experience of the events and media they write about. Since fandoms are largely informal and underground, their communities are prone to loss from censorship and policy change, making Fanlore invaluable for researching fandom culture.

Often, Fanlore is the only place to find information about its subjects. The website contains pages on different fandoms, their histories, events, big-name fans, and controversies, as well as general fandom terminology. At the BPCL, their extensive documentation on printed fanzines has been highly useful for cataloguing several large donations of zines with scant information elsewhere.

In the OTW’s 16th Anniversary Survey, about half of fans reported recognizing Fanlore, but, of those who did, many had never visited the site. If you’re among them, take the opportunity to visit – you’re sure to discover something new!


A daughter profiled her mother’s fannish activities in an article in Polygon.

For years, talking about my vampiric lineage was a fun explanation for my growing fascination with Twilight. But in 2010, after losing my mom to AIDS-related complications, the inherited vampire obsession became a lens, one that helped me understand how she dealt with a world hostile to her existence.

The author goes on to say:

Mom’s laptop went with her everywhere. Everyone knew she journaled most days, but she wasn’t forthcoming with the content. But toward the end of her life, I think part of her felt compelled to leave a piece of herself behind, as I inherited over 100 pages of role-playing-based fanfiction in a black 2-inch three-ring binder.

Fans can leave a fannish legacy of their fanworks to be revisited by friends and new fans. At AO3, the Fannish Next of Kin process allows you to choose someone to manage your fannish works if you die or are permanently incapacitated. We will transfer control of your Archive account to your next-of-kin. After that, they can follow whatever guidelines you set for them.

Both you and your fannish next-of-kin need to send a message to our Support team indicating that you want to have them as your fannish next-of-kin and that they agree. You need to provide your Archive usernames for our records. When we receive matching requests, we will confirm that a fannish next-of-kin arrangement is in place.

OTW Tips

Did you know that instead of making a collection of works, you can make a collection of bookmarks?

There are a lot of reasons to make bookmark collections (instead of works collections) for your personal use. Due to changes this past year at AO3, adding works to collections is now opt-in, which means it is less likely that authors will allow the addition of their works to a collection. A bookmarks collection will not only be able to include those works, but any and all bookmark notes and tags that you add.

You can follow our tutorial from the AO3 FAQ to get started!


We want your suggestions for the next OTW Signal post! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or news story you think we should know about, send us a link. We are looking for content in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in an OTW post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.

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