OA Network

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Access Harmonization

Summary: preserving and providing access to cultural works, records of nature, scientific writing, datasets and news-worthy information in public interest.

In times crisis people organize in solidarity. In the time of crisis of internet infrastructures we are lucky that our history and legacy of building infrastructure was self-organizing in the first place. That's why we run internet with free software, aggregate encyclopedic knowledge with wikipedia... why we understand the internet as a means of access beyond barriers of geography, economy and institutions. That's why the internet is ultimately about resources built, shared and held in common.

But after two decades of successful corporate appropriation of our infrastructures and monetization of our interaction, often with the illusion that they do good or help people connect and discover, we arrive at a crisis where almost every institutional, political, economical corner adds to the crisis. Online advertising transforms media into machines of political polarization. Data collection enables blanket surveillance and targeted social control. Legal enforcement of intellectual property rights makes infrastructural providers into an extension of the economic interests of the Global North.

This has unfolded against a background of a host of crises offline: accelerated climate change, growing social inequality and evisceration of popular democratic sovereignty, enhanced by globalization, militarization and other consolidation of power. Against the compounding wealth disparity of communication and software hubs stands the unrests around the world, rising authoritarianism, the dissolution of bastions of liberalism that had grown since 1989.

The internet is not anymore about rough consensus and running code. It is time to gather together, rethink and discuss how diverse tactics + approaches may address the crisis. Where do politics of access, technologies of distribution and internationalism of social justice movement intersect?

In this meeting we want to bring to one table interventions, organizations, technological projects that act to preserve and provide access to culture, science and information in the public interest.

Needed: a decentralized network of archives, by both individuals and institutions

to robustly preserve human culture across censorship, conflict, and technological change.
including archivists, shadow + traditional libraries, museums and preservation centers.
including publishers, galleries, local and cloud repositories.


  1. There is a deadline. Archives and libraries are destroyed every year, by natural or manmade disasters. Inevitably before full digitization and off-site mirroring.
  2. Censorship and historical revision are real. Targeted destruction of culture is happening somewhere on the planet every year.
  3. Many cultural works are never properly archived by their initial publishers / authors / creators. [cf. the Wayback Machine]
  4. Some casual digitization is insufficient for effective search & translation & reconstruction. Iterative feedback loops engaging attentive experts w/ digitization process is needed.


A number of networks exist to archive cultural works, and to coordinate them. Official and unofficial, visible and dark, curated and uncurated.


<links to relevant calendars>

  • Radical OA workshops: June 15-16, 2015, June 26-27 2018 (at Coventry University)
  • Proposal: Safe havens - technology, institutions and politics for distributed knowledge resources (Possibly: June 28-29, 2018)
    A two-day workshop on how to preserve and make available -- with or without permission -- politically vulnerable data sets of critical public interests (e.g. purging of climate change data from US government websites). Map existing examples of data conservancy, methods of scraping and storing, legal implications. Where do politics of access, technologies of distribution and internationalism intersect?
  • ...

Interested venues[edit]

Coventry; Calafou; <add yours!>

Examples and instances[edit]


  • Internet Archive (particularly: the Wayback Machine & TV archive)
  • Digital capture before death: WikiTeam
  • Traditional GLAM networks. Particularly:
    • National Libraries -- LOC, BL, BNF, DNB, LAC, &c.
    • Completionist Museums

Indexes of materials[edit]

  • Library catalogs [LOC,DDS,?] -- Art & Music specialist catalogs
  • Data catalogs [by field: Astronomy]
  • Search engines [torrent search for data / science / culture]


Shadow libraries[edit]

Data repositories[edit]

  • Wikipedia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Publicly_available_global_data_sets
  • Nature's recommended repos

Conservancies for datasets (mirroring official repositories)[edit]