Monday, May 7, 2018

Scrapbook Nation

By Rachel Dworkin, Archivist

Do you scrapbook? No? Are you sure? Have you ever shared something on Facebook, reblogged something on Tumblr, or created a Pinterest page? Then congratulations: you’re a scrapbooker!  

Digital scrapbooking is everywhere these days and it presents some unique preservation challenges for archivists like me. For one thing, these digital scrapbooks don’t physically exist. They’re just a collection of ones and zeroes floating around the internet. These scrapbooks aren’t owned by their creators, but by the various platforms who host them and, if they shut down, the scrapbooks are lost forever. Don’t believe Facebook will ever fold? That’s what 38 million GeoCities users said. Boy were they surprised when the site was shut down in 2009. 

Of course, it can be tricky caring for old-fashioned, analog scrapbooks too. Here at the Chemung County Historical Society, we have over 200 scrapbooks. Many of them contain highly acidic newspaper clippings which have turned yellow and brittle with age. A lot of them have other mixed material including photographs, programs, flowers, and human hair. Each of them are as unique as the individuals who created them and reflect their tastes and interests. We have scrapbooks on, among other things, wildflowers, local crime, local clubs, various wars, and baseball.

All this month, we will be highlighting different scrapbooks from our collection. Stay tuned and enjoy. Oh, and don’t forget to share and reblog on your own digital scrapbook.

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