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World Digital Preservation Day & Preserving the Feminist Internet

The Feminist Institute Nov 2, 2023 3 Minute Read

Today, on World Digital Preservation Day (WDPD), The Feminist Institute is proud to speak on community-based digital preservation initiatives and the importance of engaging all, including those outside of libraries and archives, in the concerted effort to preserve the digital cultural record.

Every year, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) organizes World Digital Preservation Day, a day open to all interested in a secure, sustainable future for digital materials. This year’s theme, “Digital Preservation: A Concerted Effort,” speaks to the heart of our newest program and current Kickstarter campaign, Preserving the Feminist Internet. Through this program, we are working directly with feminist creators and organizations to capture their websites and social media, engaging our community on digital preservation considerations as a part of active feminist legacy building.

Why is digital preservation important?

Though many people think digital materials are less fragile than physical documents, in reality, that is not the case. Bits and bytes that make up digital information degrade over time, and, in another layer of complexity, technology becomes obsolete on an increasingly fast timeline, which means that we may not be able to access materials once software and hardware become obsolete.
We work closely with feminist creators and organization on digital preservation initiatives and education. Digital preservation combines policies, strategies, and actions to ensure access to content that is born digital or converted to digital form, regardless of the challenges of file corruption, media failure, and technological change. The overarching goal of digital preservation is establishing effective strategies to secure the most accurate rendering of authenticated content over time.

How are we preserving the feminist internet?

The internet is, by nature, ephemeral and a critical place for organizing and information sharing. Intersectional feminist activity is often shaped by digital organizing; of late, we’ve seen the shutter of essential resources, including Feministing, Bitch Media, and Feminist Frequency. In addition to the shuttering of digital projects, websites can disappear from the web over time, including maintenance issues, unmanageable hosting costs, or content being censored or removed. Defunct websites can leave their traces through link rot, or the deterioration of hyperlinks over time, on other sites.
As a part of the digital culture record, we feel it’s critical to document the feminist internet. Our approach is shaped by feminist ethics of care, where all websites and social media we capture are in partnership with their creators with permission and collaborative capture and description. We feel it’s important to work with our partners to not only accurately capture and document their digital records but also help raise awareness of the importance of digital preservation and to think critically about how digital content is created, stored, and disseminated. In addition to being publicly available in the TFI Digital Archive, we share the web archive file with our partners for their records, as a key tenet of digital preservation is that lots of copies keeps stuff safe.
In theme with WDPD, Preserving the Feminist Internet is a concerted effort between our staff, partners, and the greater feminist community. Contributing to our Kickstarter provides essential support for The Feminist Institute to preserve feminist digital documentation for the next generation. We hope you’ll consider pledging your support today.