August 15, 2008

Australian Museum Starts E-Mail Archive

By Swartz, Nikki

Sydney, Australia's Powerhouse Museum is asking Australians to send it e-mails to be part of the country's first e-mail archive collection, according to ABC Online - Australia. The museum hopes the collection will serve as a sort of time capsule reflecting Australian life in 2008. Scholars and researchers now can look to old letters to find out how people lived centuries ago. But today, letter writing has been largely replaced by electronic communication.

"We're concerned about the fact that in the future, if people are using e-mails, there won't be that same legacy of primary source material for future generations to know about what we were doing," said Matthew Connell, the museum's computing and mathematics curator.

The museum is working on the project with e-mail provider Windows Live Hotmail. "I think what we see is that people use e-mail both as a form of written communication but also like a conversation, so we're hop ing to capture both those casual discussions people are having via e-mail," said Kate Beddoe, Australian spokes person for Hotmail.

All the e-mails received will be archived digitally and on paper. Names will be deleted from the e-mail to make them anony- mous. Connell said the museum will even archive the spam that it receives during the project.

Copyright ARMA International Jul/Aug 2008

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