The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries.
A great article in yesterday’s New York Times. The digitalisation of US archival collections has, over the last two years, received a great boost from the philanthropic donations of the Leon Levy Foundation. It seems the US are stealing a march over the UK on archive digitalisation.
Since 2007, over twenty leading academic, historical and cultural institutions in the US have received funds totalling $10.3m from the Foundation to “identify, digitalise and preserve their archival collections and make them available online and to the public”.
Two sizeable donations have been made in the last week alone. The Institute of Advanced Study received $3.5m to digitalise the academic papers of its famous scholars, including Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer (both pictured) and George F. Kennan.
In addition, the New York Philharmonic received $2.4m to collect and publish online over a million pages of music, including handwritten work by Mahler and Leonard Bernstein.
Projects such as these are a fantastic way to secure a cultural and academic legacy for future generations. NDotM has for some time been calling for similar digital archiving in the UK.
Certainly projects are under way. NDotM has been in discussions with institutions such as the British Library to find ways of tapping into the popularity of online, oral and amateur history in this country.
Still, more needs to be done. Until wealthy, philanthropic, former Wall Street financiers such as Leon Levy start pumping money into digitalisation projects in this country, it seems the UK is bound to lag behind.
Unless of course the Government were to step in. Such projects would surely fit within the broad remit of the Government’s Digital Britain framework and would tie in closely with increasing educational technologies in schools and universities.
It’s a cross-party issue. NDotM will follow it closely.