Thursday, February 10, 2011

How is a physical archive still relevant in today's hyper-connected world?

How is a physical archive still relevant in today’s hyper-connected world?
Published: Wednesday, Feb 9, 2011, 2:27 IST Place: Mumbai Agency: DNA
It helps address the digital divide
With scarce archiving of women’s perspectives, every effort counts. An outfit such as ours is completely digital and has its own audience. But there is still a vast digital divide; there are voices that still struggle to find a place in cyberspace. So the SPARROW archive plays an important role. At the same time, I relate to their need to be financially independent. When you're trying to build an organisation, you need consistent funding.
Sapna Shahani, director, Women Aloud: Videoblogging for Empowerment (WAVE)
It rescues and preserves lost voices
CS Lakshmi started SPARROW at a time where it was not very common to have things dedicated to women. Instead of just archiving published material, she has rescued creative works by women that would otherwise be languishing in a cupboard somewhere.Despite the move towards digitisation, I believe some things have to be kept in the form they were created in. So there is definitely a place for real archiving. Just because it’s expensive, it shouldn’t be made redundant.
Chandita Mukherjee, director, Comet Media Foundation, NGO
It helps documents personal histories
I became involved with SPARROW when CS Lakshmi began documenting the lives of Indian women artistes. In their oral history workshops, a lot of spontaneous creation took place. I remember doing an improv dance and music session with the late Kathak dancer, Damayanti Joshi. I admire Lakshmi’s resolve in documenting the inner struggles of artists, instead of just seeking out celebrities. In that sense, SPARROW serves a great purpose in documenting cultural history.
Neela Bhagwat, Hindustani classical singer
It provides reliable information
I remember flipping through these little booklets SPARROW had published about Indian women in cinema history. I still have them in my collection. There’s something about the physicality of a book that is comforting to me. As a journalist, I use a combination of the internet and books for my research. The internet tends to be limited to excerpts and cross-references, but for in-depth knowledge about a subject, I prefer referring to books, where the likelihood of errors is far lower than on the internet.
Meenakshi Shedde, journalist
Source: DNA dated 09/02/2011

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