AO3's shutdown, stories, and a new fictional narrative

This week I'll be focusing on a variety of topics like the recent temporary shutdown of AO3, a bookmobile at homeless shelters, archival preservation, and much more!

Hello everyone! I hope you had a great long break, with Thanksgiving and all. Without further adieu, let me begin this newsletter.

There was a host of articles I found this week, but most prominent for me was the temporary shutdown of Archives of Our Own, otherwise known as AO3, an archive of fan fiction works. I created a silly Twitter moment for it, but it made me think a lot about not depending on one site to host the stories I have written. As a result, I started posting on a number of different sites so that I didn’t depend on one in particular. Of course, AO3 is still my favorite, but what happened to the site and the warning that the site may experience slowness until next year, when they get new servers, made me think about how content on the internet can be ephemeral and not static, even though sometimes we allude ourselves into thinking that.

There are also a number of interesting stories I read this week. In some mainstream outlets, some wrote about how small bookstores are booming and stories about the library coming to a homeless shelter (“books on wheels”). The latter actually reminds me of a paper I wrote last year proposing the idea of a “Baltimore Homeless Library,” although this article focuses on a bus-sized bookmobile with “2,000 books, 100 videos, and free Wi-Fi,” called the Queens Mobile Library, not an independent entity as it is part of the Queens Public Library in New York City’s Queens Borough. At the same time, posts on Hack Library School focused on the successful partnership between libraries and the U.S. Census and how those that do library work should embrace being “good enough” which means showing up “without shame for the flaws in my work and self” since striving for “perfectionism leads to procrastination, overthinking, and crippling self-doubt” as they put it. I also found posts about the interconnection of archival preservation and genealogy and a draft of the “Levels of Born Digital Access” from the DLF Born-Digital Access Working Group, created in “response to the need for the development of standards and benchmarks to be shared by the community,” also intriguing as well, to name two prominent posts.

That brings me to my final topic: my newest fictional narrative, “The Trial of Catra, Pearl’s Ferocity, and ‘Wild Adora’,” which I published last week. I could talk about the whole narrative in its entirety or the mention that two characters used “books from the Buddy Buddwick Public Library in Beach City they had checked out” to braid another character’s hair. However, I’d rather like to highlight this story because the trial of one of the characters, Catra, is basically an experiment in information gathering, with different perspectives on the same events. This is important to keep in mind when it comes to archival records, as not everyone will see something the same way, exemplified by certain shows and in Akira Kurosawa’s classic film, Rashomon, which shows the same event from multiple perspectives.

That’s all for this newsletter!

I hope you all have a great rest of your week!

- Burkely