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.

June, 2009 Newsletter, Vol 30

Get updates on all your favorite OTW projects and committees: right under the cut!


Abuse has been hard at work getting boilerplate texts written to efficiently handle user complaints and concerns. We are combing through drafts to ensure we are clearly communicating with users regarding areas of difficulty and the terms of service.


AD&T are busy negotiating with a co-location facility to work out our requirements and costs – Network ports! Power consumption! We’re about to spend a lot of money so we want to spend it wisely (thank you so much for supporting us in making this dream a reality).

The draft Open Beta plan is getting fleshed out and we’re busy making a list of features we have to finalise. I feel a blocking Open Beta list coming on…

One of the most important features will be an Invitation Code system. We know we have to manage adding new users carefully, we don’t want to open up the Archive for use then have it burst into flames! There will be codes for existing users to hand out, and a sign-up queue so you don’t have to rely on knowing someone with an account. We’re finalising the design now and will start coding it shortly (many thanks to Denise from Dreamwidth for letting us look at how Dreamwidth does it).

Thank you for all the suggestions for Collections & Challenges. The submissions are now closed and we are busy collating your feedback to incorporate into our proposed design – we may not be able to use every suggestion but we will try very hard!

Our next code deploy will probably be another small one with a bunch of fixes – we’re currently aiming for the weekend of the 4th of July.


The Board continue to work on the upcoming colocation and open beta of the archive in terms of money, resources and personnel, as well as setting general org-wide goals.


Communications has set up the Fan Culture Preservation Project page and will be announcing a GeoCities Outreach project in the near future. We’re also putting together a “For The Media” page and planning events to celebrate our coming Server Colocation!

Content Policy:

No report.


Development and Communications are collaborating on a merchandising committee for the Fall, ’09 fundraising drive; stay tuned.


Our AD&T liaison Amy has been hard at work supporting the move forward to the next stage of the Archive of Our Own. In addition to wrangling meeting minutes and keeping all the training and design documentation straight on the wiki, she’s been collating your feedback about Collections and Challenges and putting it into a format our designers and coders can work with. \0/


Elections is compiling instructions and information for the revised, in-house election software that OTW’s Webmasters are working on, as well as draft text for their forthcoming website.

Finance Update:

The sharks of FinCom are circling slowly around bank options, evaluating the benefits of short-term investment CDs in the event of a budget surplus this year and preparing recommendations for the Board on a move to a different level of checking account. We’ve also been working with various committees to nail down budget projections for the remainder of the year, and supporting Systems in the move to purchase servers, as well as paying the regular bills.

In more exciting and less numerical news, we’re also celebrating the engagement of our darling Cat Meier and flailing over just how we’re going to manage to turn a mutual love of sharks, Excel sheets and Alec Hardison into an appropriate wedding gift.


The TWC team is working hard to put together issue three of our academic journal, which is scheduled for September 2009.


Legal continues to provide confidential advice and opinions within the org. We could tell you more, but then we’d have to kill you.

Open Doors:

The Open Doors committee is proud to announce the Fan Culture Preservation project: if you have zines or other (nondigital) fannish artifacts you don’t want anymore and don’t know what to do with: please call us! We are partnered with the Special Collections department of the University of Iowa, and we can help arrange for your zines to be housed and preserved. (We can also help you arrange a bequest!)

We are currently finalizing a Geocities Outreach plan; if you, or someone you know, is in danger of losing an old Geocities fan fiction or information site, and you don’t have any other way to preserve it, please contact Open Doors. We can help!


Systems is planning a ‘help us with colocation’ recruitment drive; watch this space!


No report.

Vidding History:

We are currently working on a page of fair use resources for vidders. Francesca Coppa will also be presenting on a fair use panel at the Open Video Conference in NYC, June 19-20, 2009.


The Volunteers committee could welcome quite a few new coders and testers to the Org. \o/ We’ve also been working with Translations in reviewing our management tools in order to adapt them to the needs of the language teams.


We recently worked with Open Doors to create a page for the Fan Culture Preservation Project. We’re making progress on our big summer project, the Elections subsite, and we’ve been squishing bugs and smacking down spammers on the side.


The Wiki committee continues to make policy decisions and oversee the general running of Fanlore.

‘Coming Through the Rye’: Lawsuit Over ‘Catcher In The Rye’ Sequel

Fanfiction writers and other makers of transformative works might be interested in the lawsuit brought by the famously reclusive J.D. Salinger and his lawyers against writer J.D. California, who has written a sequel to “Catcher in the Rye” called “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye,” which tells the story of Holden Caufield as an old man. Unlike fanfiction, “Coming Through The Rye” is a commercial work, but it’ll still be an interesting case to keep an eye on. Read more about the case at CNN, with a more thorough legal overview courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.