Anneke van Waarden-Koets
@FollowAnArchive and @AskArchivists – Events on Twitter to promote archives worldwide
“Such a great initiative, #followamuseum on Twitter. Why not #followanarchive?!”
That question came up at the same time in Denmark and in The Netherlands after the success of the Twitter event #followamuseum, organized by the Twitter initiative @FollowAMuseum in 2010.
Charlotte Jensen, webmaster of the National Museum in Copenhagen, who also has worked in the National Archives of Denmark, started a poll on the Scandinavian archives blogs Arkivformidling and Formidlingsnettet. Anneke van Waarden, archivist in the Zeeland Archives in Middelburg, started a blog on the Dutch/Belgian archivists community website Archief 2.0 and on her own weblog Wat Van Waarden Is, to gauge the interest of archivists to start a Twitter event. Via the hashtag #followanarchive Charlotte and Anneke came in contact with each other. That was the beginning of a fruitful cooperation.
Eventualy the first #followanarchive Day was organized by Charlotte Jensen en Bente Jensen from Denmark and Poulus Bliek and Anneke van Waarden from the Netherlands. They were supported by several archivists and librarians in both countries. Lots of work had to be done: writing blogposts, making promotion films, doing interviews, making lists of archives on Twitter, designing QR-codes, banners, stickers, posters, giving suggestions to participate…
On November 12, 2010 the first #followanarchive Day started. Is was a great success. Most participating archives were from Western Europe, Canada, The United States of America, South-Africa and Australia. Most of them were less then two years on Twitter and some of them joined Twitter because of #followanarchive Day. Tweets were about the archives and their collections and lots of archives came in contact with each other because of #followanarchive Day.
We conducted an online survey amongst the participants, and a new idea was born: to organize an #askarchivists Day. The goal was to give more attention on Twitter to archivists and their work.
After #followanarchive Day, Charlotte and Anneke started to work out the idea to organize an event Ask Archivists on Twitter. The same preparations were made as for #followanarchive Day. On International Archives Day (June 9) 2011, the Twitter event #askarchivists started. It was a tremendous success. The Twitter account @AskArchivists gained even more followers than @FollowAnArchive.
Medio March 2014 the Twitter account @FollowAnArchive has almost 4,100 followers and the Twitter account @AskArchivists has a little more than 4,900 followers.
The main goal of participating archivists was to get in contact with other archive professionals. Most tweeps used the hashtag #askarchivists to ask questions about the collections in archives, the profession of archivists and how to become an archivist.
Again we conducted an online survey amongst the participants, and most of the tweeps who filled in the form, liked a Twitter event on the same day : International Archives Day.
Special events #loveheritage and #heritagebeasts
So we did. And we also organized some other special events to get more attention to archives and their collections. We also invited other heritage organizations to join. On Valentine’s Day 2012, February 14, we organized the event #loveheritage. Heritage organizations and tweeps could tweet about their favorite love stories in heritage collections. In the same year we organized the Twitter event #heritagebeasts on World Animal Day, October 4. Participants discovered lots of animals in their depots. Even some famous historical animals started tweeting themselves, especially for #heritagebeasts!
Events on International Archives Day
And ofcourse on International Archives Day in 2012 and 2013 we organized a special event. In 2012 #archday12. It was a more general event, people could tweet about all kinds of things in archives. In 2013 we had two topics on June 9: #archivesdoodle and #savearchives. The event #archivesdoodle generated some nice and funny ideas for google doodles. But unfortunately, Google did not pick up the idea to create a special archives doodle on International Archives Day.
The German archivist Thomas Wolf from SIWI-Archive came up with the idea to pay attention to the rebuilding of the archive in Cologne. A great idea, but there are more archives in need. So we decided together to organize a wordlwide event #savearchives. And indeed, there are lots of archives in the world that need our attention and our support!
Also other archivists came up with wonderful Twitter ideas. Dutch archivists of the Regionaal Archief Tilburg thought it would be a great idea to make an #ArchiveShelfie. Many archivist took their camera’s and made the most amazing archiveshelfies. It was great fun! And more ideas came up: #ArchivistsTattoo – your body as an archive, #ArchiveUserSelfie – a picture of you and your favorite archive (building or document), and #celebshelfie – you with famous documents. This events took place only in February 2014. Especially #ArchiveShelfie was a jolly good topic.
Twitter event on June 10, 2014
In 2014 International Archives Day (June 9) falls on Whit Monday or Pentecost Monday. Most archives are closed that day. So we decided to organize the annual Twitter event on Tuesday, June 10. Again Thomas Wolf came up with a great idea: let’s pay attention to the beginning of the First World War or The Great War, that started 100 years ago in 1914.
So we ask all archives to search their collections for documents related to the First World War 1914-1918. Even countries that were neutral during the Great War, can perhaps find some records about, for instance, aid to refugees, or military or financial support to soldiers, families, countries in need.
Join @AskArchivists and @FollowAnArchive on #WW1archives Day on Twitter, June 10, 2014.
In due time you will find more information on the two blogs http://askarchivists.wordpress.com/ and http://followanarchive.blogspot.nl/.