OTW Signal, October 2023

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

Our Open Doors Committee is often seen posting about online archives that will get preserved on AO3. Less known is that they also work to preserve physical fanworks. A recent article in Library Journal explored library collections and archives at Texas A&M University (TAMU) Library. The Library is one of Open Doors’ partners.

Under [Jeremy] Brett’s guidance, the collection has been accelerating efforts to acquire fan works—creative endeavors by fans of science fiction and fantasy or of specific franchises. These fan-created items include fanzines (magazines written by fans for fans); filk songs (music made by fans about their favorite franchises, including song parodies); fanvids (fan-made videos) and fan fiction (works of fiction made by fans). Brett thinks that the library may have one of the largest—if not the largest—collections of fanfiction in the world.

This includes the Sandy Hereld Memorial Digitized Media Fanzine Collection of fanzines and other fan created materials from the late 1960s to 2013. The late Hereld was “a popular and prolific fan writer in the 1990s and early 2000s, and one of slash fandom’s most visible fans.”

Morgan Dawn, the Hereld Collection donation coordinator (and also a fan writer) has been digitizing the fanzines materials…Brett and Dawn are careful to get permission to digitize from the fanzines’ writers, editors, and illustrators.

Back in 2011 a memorial grant was made in Sandy’s name as she was an early supporter of the OTW.

In September 2016, the OTW celebrated its 9th anniversary by spotlighting our Open Doors project. As part of the celebration, three librarians who work with popular culture, science fiction, and fantasy collections were invited to chat with fans about their work and the importance of fanworks. Jeremy Brett was among them and said the following:

Getting to engage with donors about their materials is always a joy – I’ve met so many wonderful authors and fans in this job. I also love showing the flag – spreading the word not just about my own collection at TAMU but about the family of institutions out there who collect these materials, and demonstrating to people that, yes, what they create/collect IS important, IS, significant, and deserves our time, respect, and our best efforts to preserve it for the future.

If you or someone you know has physical fanworks you’d like to see preserved, contact Open Doors.

OTW Tips

In September, the OTW notified fans concerned about the use of and regulations on AI that the U.S. Copyright Office is taking public comments. You can submit comments until October 18 – visit our post for more details.

We want your suggestions! 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.

OTW Signal

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