2017 in Review

Published: December 29, 2017 by Katie Kuryla

As 2017 draws to a close, I wanted to take the chance to reflect on this year. As 2017 comes to an end, I  have been following archives through Twitter and Facebook and have seen how the archives community have taken great lengths to digitize their work, focus on social media, and gain more interest from their community.

For the archives community, the efforts have been to work towards digitization and as archivists and archivists in training, we understand the problem of obsolescence which Disney has been meticulous digitizing their collection including their amount of photographic film. We also understand that we also cannot preserve everything which The Library of Congress has decided to trim down their Twitter time and acquire and preserve tweets “on a selective basis” (Criss, 2017). And the product of the efforts of digital preservation have proven worthy as The National Archives added 17.1 million digital files in 2017 alone; that includes texts, images, sound recordings, and films to its online catalog (Burgess, 2017).

Atlas Obscura wrote an article recently about how thousands of priceless images, books, documents, and more are now at your fingertips and picked out what they felt were the  “Most Amazing Archival Treasures that were Digitized this Year.”

Many places are really working on digitizing their collection. As the Los Angeles Public LIbrary Photo Collection’s archivist, Christina Rice, stated that they were on pace to digitize around 5,800 photos. The photos all come from the Valley Times Collection, a newspaper photo archive covering the San Fernando Valley from 1946 to 1965 (Burgess, 2017). The Atlas Obscura picked a photo, they found amazing, that shows the late Carrie Fisher as a child with her father, singer Eddie Fisher, receiving an honorary membership in the Riverside Drive School Brownie troop.

Atlas Obscura choose some interesting treasures, they looked at the New York Public Library who digitized a group of rare and out-of-print books that ranged from the years of the 1930s and the 1960s.


The online collection is from the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Black Experience in Children’s Books: Selections From Augusta Baker’s Bibliographies (Burgess, 2017).

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas has an online catalog of Gabriel García Márquez, a Nobel laureate author. In this collection you can find a draft of One Hundred Years of Solitude and several photos of him with Fidel Castro. The archives also has a tool that allows side-by-side comparison of different works (Burgess, 2017).

Along with rare books becoming digitized and photos, The New Bedford Whaling Museum, in Massachusetts, had a landmark year. They digitized what is believed to be North America’s largest painting, Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage ‘Round the World. It measures about 1275 feet long and depicts 240 separate scenes from a whaling journey. 

(To see more of their choices and pictures of some of the things I mentioned, please check out the article, it’s absolutely fantastic: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/most-amazing-archival-treasures-digitized-2017)

2017 has definitely had its moments and as people are tweeting now more than ever and Twitter doubling its character limit, the Library of Congress has decided that there’s just a whole lot more Twitter to keep up with now and when tweets aren’t just text-based anymore, it is creating difficulties for them. As archivists in training, we understand that you cannot preserve everything and our love for old documents, digital records, or whatever reason you choose to follow this career, we understand what the Library of Congress is trying to do now.

<em>Valley Brownies Honor Eddie Fisher’s Daughter</em>, 1958.

The Library of Congress plans to bring its social media collecting practices more in line with its normal collection policies because Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms are more established (Criss, 2017). The Library of Congress plans to collect and archive tweets that will be thematic and event-based. Since the Twitter archive has gotten to be a “little out of hand,” public access to the archive will be blocked until it can figure out a “cost-effective and sustainable” way to let people view and use it.

As I wade through the long list of the astonishing things in 2017, from Donald Trump’s inauguration, the #metoo movement, JFK file releases, to an American Princess (something I’m excited about!); this will be a year we won’t soon forget and will archive for the future. 


Valley Brownies Honor Eddie Fisher’s Daughter, 1958. VALLEY TIMES COLLECTION/ LA PUBLIC LIBRARY



Burgess, A. (2017, December 15). The Most Amazing Archival Treasures That Were Digitized This Year [Web blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/most-amazing-archival-treasures-digitized-2017

Criss, Doug. (2017, December 27). Library of Congress will stop saving every single public tweet. Retrieved from: http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/27/politics/library-of-congress-tweets-trnd/i...



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