You may not have written all the stories, but if you’re the moderator of an archive, you’ve accepted responsibility for keeping them online and accessible. We think that transferring an archive into the AO3 is along the same lines as changing web host or ISP, or installing an updated software package for the archive; it’s like a librarian moving a collection.
In early 2009, Open Doors launched the Fan Culture Preservation Project in conjunction with the Special Collections Department at the University of Iowa Libraries. This project is dedicated to preserving fan artifacts such as letterzines, fanzines, and other non-digital fan works and memorabilia. Contact the Open Doors committee for more information about donating zines or other artifacts of fan culture to the Fan Culture Preservation Project.
Contact Open Doors, and we can discuss your archive and create a detailed plan for import. Please let us know from the outset if you have special needs — for example, if your archive contains multimedia content. When we’ve agreed on the project, we and you will publicize the import.
What we will need from you and/or your co-mod(s):
- Commitment to working with Open Doors for at least the duration of the import. We will need to pause the import if the mod(s) are unavailable and we have no replacement to work with.
- Participation in the outreach process
- Agreement to follow Open Doors policies for attributing credit on imported works, providing background for the import, and helping creators claim their works
- If the original archive will be staying online, the ability to edit it upon creators’ request to delete works, or change creator names
We are happy to help the archive maintainers to transfer the contents of their archives into the Archive of Our Own (AO3)! While we are currently unable to mass import archives, we can help you facilitate a manual import, and provide support in:
- Outreach: publicizing the import using OTW’s media channels and fielding questions
- Procedures: provide tools that automate sending invitations (as many as you need) and e-mails that allow creators to claim their works, assistance tracking works to be imported, instructions, and help with AO3 questions (e.g., collections, tagging, etc.)
- Technical Support: if desired, we can assist with creating backups and/or setting up redirects
Archives will be preserved within the AO3 using the Collections feature, and as the mod(s) of the original archive, you would be invited to moderate the collection within the AO3. During this import, we will depend on you and/or volunteers designated by you for:
- Providing feedback on drafts and AO3 tag suggestions
- Importing the works
- Publicizing the import to archive members (e.g. by e-mail, posts to related communities, etc.)
If, after the import, you no longer wish to be involved with the archive, you can designate a new maintainer for the collection, or close the collection to new submissions. (If a volunteer later requests to maintain a closed collection, we’ll try to contact you to ask if you’d like to transfer the collection to their care; we would only make this transfer if we received approval from you.)
In cases where the original archive site domain is still available, we also may be able to set up automatic redirecting from the original URLs to the new locations in the AO3, preserving existing links, but this can’t be guaranteed.
While we often help mods import archives which are closing (or already offline), Open Doors should be involved any time one is planning to import works on behalf of another creator. For example, if you would like to back up an active archive to the AO3, use the AO3 as an extension of your archive, create a memorial account for a friend, or any other situation, please contact Open Doors.
Archives that have been integrated into the Archive of Our Own will also be listed in the Open Doors gallery.
While the Archive of Our Own welcomes fanworks of all kinds, our resources for supporting projects that can not be easily integrated to the Archive are limited. While we are open to talking to the maintainer of any fannish project which needs our help, we are not providing general hosting like an ISP. A special project that requires its own server space or other resources will need to be approved by the Board as a special collection before it is brought on.
The maintainer of a collection brought on under Open Doors also has to agree to the Open Doors Terms of Service.
There are several advantages to backing up or transferring your fanworks.
- Long-term preservation. Your archive will be maintained and supported even if you lose internet access, interest, or time.
- Infrastructure. The OTW is set up to bring in volunteers as well as provide advice and technical help for maintaining and growing your collection or project.
- Encouraging contributions. Volunteers and contributors are more likely to invest their time and energy in a project when they have a real expectation that their work will be preserved into the future.
- Financial support in a nonprofit environment. The OTW will never exploit your work or the work of your contributors for individual profit.