Memory Alpha (Star Trek: TOS zine archive)

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Name: Memory Archive (also called "Memory Alpha Federation Library and Bibliographic Center")
Date(s): proposed in 1974, apparently still active in some way in 1976, see embossment from Neutral Zone Outpost #1
Archivist: Sharon Ferraro and Diana Barbour [1]
Type: fiction on microfiche, and in print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
a faint footprint of this archive, embossed at the top of a copy of the 1976 zine Neutral Zone Outpost #1
Sharon adds a helpful illo to her proposal

Memory Alpha was a Star Trek: TOS zine fiction archive proposed by Sharon Ferraro.

It was interesting for many things, one of which was its illustration of early fans' interest in preserving their fiction and the realization that some materials were already disappearing from the fannish universe.

It also reveals that some early Star Trek fans believed that it was acceptable to copy fanzines for the purposes of preservation, even without publisher or writer permission. Preservation copies is a practice that is currently permitted under US law by archives and libraries that are open to the public, so from a legal, if not fannish perspective, the initial proposal was not far off the mark.[2]

Despite that fact that it was never a public resource, its contents were available to some fans. Kendra Hunter mentions using materials from it for her 1979 article Characterization Rape: An Examination of Fan Fiction: "After reading a sampling of zines, which were provided by the curator of Memory Alpha, the Federation Library and Bibliographic Center, containing stories, editorials, and viewpoints..."

In 2012, the microfilms were donated to the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle, Washington.

The Original Proposal

From Sharon Ferraro's proposal in 1974: (The original text had no paragraph breaks. See talk page.)

"The Welcommittee answers our questions; Lincoln Enterprises offers us collector's items; S.T.A.R./Central keeps track of everyone; conventions offer us enjoyable weekends and new friends and Star Trek inspires us. The Star Trek Fan Literature Archive: Memory Alpha, will preserve us. The goal of MA is to collect, catalog, and microfilm as much of the fan-produced literature as we can get our hot little hands on... Then, it will be put on microfilm at Micro-Cine-Systems, here in Kalamazoo. The hard copy (the paper) will be kept here in Kalamazoo until a better repository, such as a library with public access is found. The soft copy (the film) will be put into micro jackets and copied. One set of films will be kept here at MCS. The other will be sent to a suitable archive or library. At this point we are making the final arrangements with Mr. Durant of the National Air and Space Museum to deposit the films and files there in the centennial library that will open in 1976. (This does not mean that we are collecting ST memorabilia for the Smithsonian. We make no claim to such a position...)

We realize that Memory Alpha is as much as five years too late for many of the first, now out of print, Strekzines. But we think we have solved that problem too. Anyone having a collection of fanzines may send as complete a list as possible to MA. (We need title, publication date, editors and issue # for each zine -- preferably in an alphabetical typed list — with YOUR name and address at the top.) If we can not locate the original editor and get copies for permanent placing in the Archive, we will arrange with the closest (geographically, considering shipping charges) collector to borrow the parts of the collection we need to microfilm—via insured mail. They will be returned within a month by the same method. In this manner the Strekzine will be in the Archive and catalog and we will not need to ask anyone to part permanently with their collection. If, however, anyone wants to donate the collection permanently to MA, write us and we will make a proper arrangements... From fans we would like lists of their collections. From editors that are still publishing we would like a copy of each issue of their Strekzine. (i.e. send us a free copy each time an issue comes out—as though we were a contributor or wrote LoCs.)

To make Memory Alpha a real success, we need the cooperation of every fanzine and newsletter editor in the country. We realize that the cost of postage and the 'zine will be on the editor (except in very special pre-arranged cases) and the group, but we feel it is worthwhile. (From the Director: I publish a fanzine myself and have already set aside one copy of each issue for MA -- 3 issues are already catalogued and filmed.) Also from fans -- the addresses of defunct 'zines — maybe we can still get in contact with the editor and make the arrangements we need. Other ideas that come up related to the Archive are the selling of some fanzines in film form. Example: a full set of T-Negative, say #1-#20 on film for about $15.00. In most cases we would sell the film above the cost of each set of zines if your bought them separately or with a subscription (to avoid undermining the market). The sets would be available to clubs and libraries for purchase and would be catalogued. Another idea is a semi-annual newsletter/catalogue of MA — what's happening in the world of fanzines. Any profit from the sales of films or newsletter subscriptions would go to support the Archive. (We are getting the microfilming from Micro-Cine-Systems.)

Any editors out there that are interested, please send me a note and a SASE. I will send you the form we need to film the 'zines you send. We have to have permission to film them. Fans, collectors that want to help — send a complete list of your collection/list... If we need to borrow part of your collection you will hear from us. We will be starting the filming of the Basta Loan Collection in mid-September. Already the Archive has: a set of Star-Borne, Babel, Menagerie, Despatch, and an amount of yet unread and uncatalogued material on loan from Margaret and Laura Basta. On film, we have the Concordance, Kraith 2, 6, 3, Memory Log, Star Trek Showcase, Masiform-D, Menagerie and some Tholian Web. We have been filming our own collection and have not received permission from all the editors. In the future we may have to incorporate MA as a non-profit organization for a lot of
reasons. Write if you are interested please enclose a SASE to: MEMORY ALPHA: Sharon Ferraro. [address redacted]." [3]


Another description, this one from January 1976:


Among the many accomplishments of "Star Trek" is the catalytic affect [sic] that it had on many would-be journalists, editors, and fan writers. A surge of amateur publications have come on the scene since 1966, which I will call (for convenience sake) "Trekzines." Fanzines, of course have been around for many years, but Trekzines are only about nine years old.

Sharon Ferraro of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is seeking to preserve the Trekzine genre through her work on Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Fan Literature Archive. Sharon states that she realizes "that Memory Alpha is about 5 years too late to record some of the first, now non-existent, fanzines dealing with Star Trek." But she feels that with the help of collectors willing to loan any of these publications to Memory Alpha for filming, the problem would be solved.

All publications received go through a process of:

1. Thorough reading
2. Index card for author, title, and subject of each article, story, etc. is filled out.
3. A Tale of Contents card is filed under the publication's name.
4. Staples, pins, or bindings are carefully removed.
5. The entire publication is then microfilmed.
6. It is then reassembled and filed with the other issues.

Once the publication is filmed, the film:

1. Is processed and checked.
2. Is copied and rechecked.
3. Copy is deposited in the Waldo Library (Western Michigan University) Archives along with a duplicate index file.
4. Original remains at MCS (Micro-Cine-Systems) for further copying on request.

This process differs slightly with collectors' donations. In these cases the donator loans the publication via insured mail, then it undergoes the same process as any other process as any other publication that is received. After microfilming, the item is returned to the donor via insured mail. In this manner, MA will retain a copy, on film, "and will not need to ask anyone to part permanently with any part of their collection."


Memory Alpha does NOT want any non-fan produced materials. "To make Memory Alpha a real success, we need the help of every fanzine editor and newsletter editor we can get." The postage is on the editor, but it is a worthwhile effort. Any and all profits of Memory Alpha will go towards postage, index cards, etc.

NO items should be sent without prearrangement.

All items should pertain to Star Trek. Sharon loves "science fiction dearly, but Memory Alpha was established as a Star Trek fanzine "archive." [4]

Mentions of this Archive

1973 letter printed in Sol III regarding the Smithsonian proposal, click to read
  • "This archive was a fine concept, but I have no information about it after the mid-1970s. Perhaps somewhere in the Smithsonian one may find a stack of fanzines, dating from 1967-1974, gathering dust in a corner somewhere." [5]
  • "'Phoinix' also has an interesting informational ad on 'Memory Alpha' -- its function, duties, and how to submit fanzines for immortality. Anyone who still doesn't know about this ST fanzine archive should contact Sharon Ferraro." [6]
  • A fan says she has come into Trekdom late and is frustrated about the already out-of-print zines. "Being a librarian makes me think of a ST fanzine library -- like 'Memory Alpha'." [7]


  1. ^ Diana's bio mentions this in the third ZebraCon program book, see ZebraCon/1981.
  2. ^ See 17 USC Section 108 Exception to the US Copyright Code. Stanford University's Digital Preservation and Copyright Guidelines.
  3. ^ from A Piece of the Action #17
  4. ^ from an article in Flight of the Phoinix #1
  5. ^ from Boldly Writing
  6. ^ From a review of Flight of the Phoinix in The Halkan Council #16
  7. ^ from The Halkan Council #18