Open Doors

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Name: Open Doors Committee of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW)
Date(s): 2008 - present
Profit/Nonprofit: Nonprofit
Country based in:
Focus: Preservation of at-risk fanworks
External Links: http://opendoors.transformativeworks.org/
http://archiveofourown.org/users/Open_Doors
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Contents

The Open Doors project of the Organization for Transformative Works is dedicated to preserving fanworks for the future, particularly fanworks which are at risk of disappearance. Anyone who knows of fanworks that are at risk (e.g. large collections of zines being thrown out, archives in danger of failing/crashing/abandonment, fans gafiating and abandoning their fanworks) should contact the Open Doors Committee.

Mission

The project provides a point of contact for archivists and others who seek preservation for fanworks they made or are otherwise responsible for. This includes, though is not limited to:

  • Housing collections of extant stories in the Archive of Our Own once it is out of limited beta;
  • Hosting fanworks that are not easily housed in the AO3;
  • Arranging, assisting, or brokering the donation and/or digitization of zines, VHS vids, and other artifacts to major university research collections.

From the time the org was founded, the intention has been that once the AO3 is fully up and running, Open Doors will help maintainers of typical fanfic archives preserve or backup their collections by transferring the contents of their archive into the Archive of Our Own. The OTW plans to collect these stories under the name of the archive from which they came, as well as to set up automatic redirecting from the original URLs if desired and whenever possible. These collections would be listed on the Open Doors project page and linked to the archive/collection/zine's wiki page here on Fanlore.

Fannish projects that cannot be integrated into the Archive at this time may also be preserved as special collections, resources permitting. (A current example is Missed the Saturday Dance by Zoetrope, which, because of its multimedia nature, cannot at this time be hosted by the AO3 and so is hosted as its own project. ) Open Doors is also responsible for the Fan Culture Preservation Project, a partnership with the University of Iowa to facilitate the transfer of analog fanworks and physical artifacts that contribute to the record of fannish history (particularly fan-produced materials made or collected for public consumption) to the university's research collection.

History of Chairs

2008: Francesca Coppa
2009: Francesca Coppa
2010: Heather Cook
2011: Heather Cook[1]
2012, January - March: Heather Cook
2012, April - December: FishieMishie
2013, January - June: FishieMishie & Jay Bee (co-chairs)[2] 2013, July - : FishieMishie[3]

Mass Importer: Test Case - SSA

In early March of 2012, the first archive was imported into the AO3 using the beta mass importer; the test case was the Smallville Slash Archive. The announcement post on the OTW blog read, in part:
Our Open Doors are now opening wide to at-risk archives! The first generation mass archive importer is now ready for testing: this importer will allow us to import archives built on the popular 'Automated Archive' software into the Archive of Our Own. Many archives were built with this software over the last 15 years and some are now slowly sinking into the sea: four years ago, one of the things that brought the initial wave of fans together to work on the OTW was the desire to save these archives from extinction. We're really excited to have finally developed the infrastructure and functionality needed to move this work forward.[4].
Many fans responded to the news with jubilation:
It's taken a lot of time and effort on the part of many people, but the import of the Smallville Slash Archive into an AO3 collection has been scheduled. This should be great news to everyone who's encountered the 'out of bandwidth' error that's been occurring the latter weeks of each month.[5]
I'm really glad this part of my fannish history won't disappear.[6]
To me, the capability of preserving at-risk archives is a net good for fandom. (Honestly, I think it's net awesome.) When an archive vanishes from the internet, all of the love and joy and heart that went into creating those stories and putting them out there to be shared is gone in the blink of an eye. Every time an archive goes belly-up, it's as though a fannish library has burned down.[7]
OTW's Open Doors project is taking on the SSA, which, THANK GOD. I had this up on my recs page, years and years ago: It strikes me that if the SSA ever goes down; this fandom is screwed. In short, SSA, you are *never* allowed to go down. Or I'll be reduced to trading "favors" to people who have these stories saved somewhere, man. / So it is a big relief that all the stories will be maintained.[8]
I am so glad that this is finally happening. Minotaur's passing was a great loss and I value all the fans, the archivists and friends and Minotaur's family, for keeping the Smallville Slash Archive alive while a solution was discussed and planned (and discussed and planned...) with our fandom. I feel this particularly as an author. It will be nice to have access to that public face of some of my stories. [9]
I just wanted to congratulate you all on finally getting to a point where you can put this into practice. I've been worried about the Smallville Slash Archive for years now, ever since I heard that Minotaur sadly died, and it's good to know that all that work will be preserved.[10]
Some fans felt that the whole idea of moving an archive without first seeking permission from the author of each story in the archive was inappropriate:
This is deeply concerning to me. When we put stories on websites we are not entering them into the public domain, and for them to be reposted to another site without our permission or knowledge is deeply troubling. Whether one chooses to use An Archive of Our Own should be the decision of the author, not something decided by the board of the OTW.[11]
You're not talking about rescuing a baby here. You're talking about archiving fanfics. There's no justification for trampling over authors' rights and basic fannish courtesy from an overwhelming need to save these stories. Yes, it's sad when stories disappear from the Internet, but if the options are let them disappear, or take them without asking, the latter is not the right choice. The right choice is to find a middle path and take only the ones the authors agree to let you take.[12]
But others noted[13] that most of the fans crying foul over the archive move weren't actually part of Smallville fandom, and that SV fandom-at-large (or at least Clex fandom-at-large) had been working on the SSA move for two years[14] and had reached reasonable consensus that this was the best way to save their fannish history.

As of March 5, 2012, the SSA move was complete[15] and was received with joy[16].

Subprojects Managed by the Open Doors Committee

Fanworks Hosted by Open Doors

Archives Auto-Imported by Open Doors

References

  1. OTW's "How You Can help Volunteer - List of Contact Names, accessed 19 November 2011.
  2. OTW's "How You Can help Volunteer - List of Contact Names, accessed 2 February 2013.
  3. OTW's "How You Can help Volunteer - List of Contact Names, accessed 22 July 2013.
  4. Our Doors are Now Opening, accessed February 28, 2012
  5. SSA Migration to AO3 update - Import Scheduled!, 26 February 2012. (Accessed 29 February 2012)
  6. SSA rescue coming!, accessed February 28, 2012
  7. On saving fannish libraries (or: why I'm psyched to see the SSA hosted at the AO3), accessed February 29, 2012
  8. OTHER GOOD THINGS (IMPORTANT SSA NOTE, accessed February 29, 2012
  9. comment from Vera, accessed February 29, 2012
  10. comment from Zellieh, accessed February 29, 2012
  11. Serious concern, accessed February 28, 2012
  12. comment from azarias, accessed February 29, 2012
  13. comment from ciaan, accessed February 29, 2012
  14. comment from tallihensia, accessed March 1, 2012
  15. AO3/SSA = OTP ♥, accessed March 5, 2012
  16. *happy tears*, accessed March 5, 2012
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