Conference: Archival Innovations for Preserving the History of Space Exploration
This award supports a three-day conference that will occur in the Washington DC area in spring 2018. Its goal is to address unprecedented challenges and opportunities in creating and preserving the history of space exploration. It will bring members of the historical and archival communities together with representatives of the space industry, records management, digital humanities, and libraries to examine the critical issues in creating, collecting, preserving, and accessing space archives worldwide. Conference organizers will disseminate these strategies and practices, encourage space stakeholders (especially international organizations) to incorporate these recommendations, and encourage underrepresented minorities and communities to create and archive their contributions to space history. Strategies for developing better archives that are broadly accessible will increase public interest in space science and technology. In addition, they will benefit the larger historical profession by promoting accessible tools and techniques together with best practices for their use. The conference is both timely and important. Creating and preserving the history of space exploration face unprecedented challenges and opportunities. As early generations of researchers, engineers, administrators and users retire, the number of countries, organizations, and companies involved in space is sharply expanding. In addition, new forms of electronic communication and data including oral histories and social media are changing the nature of historical records. If historians, archivists and the space community do not act soon to encourage the creation and preservation of space archives, the future record will be incomplete, inaccessible, and possibly incomprehensible. If successful, this conference will develop data management strategies and toolboxes of exemplary best practices that greatly assist in preserving humanity's heritage. Outreach efforts will provide guidelines, promote support networks, and engage with both domestic and international space actors.