Our lives are increasingly lived online. This is especially true for expatriates, who use social media and other Internet-based applications to more easily keep in touch with their home bases, friends abroad, and other communities. The focus of this project is on blogs written by any people who have lived abroad.
We regard blogs as a type of diary. Since these writings are digital, they are also vulnerable. Often blogs started by expats are meant to transmit stories and other information from foreign homes. However, there are many reasons why a blog may cease to exist: the blogger may stop writing while still abroad or when they move to another location, or a blog may evolve into a different purpose once the creator repatriates, among other possibilities. Rarely is there discussion about what happens to this particular type of blogs once they are created or finished. We want to preserve these blogs and their contents because we recognise their cultural and historical value.
Adding a blog archive to our collection will enrich the research opportunities for students and other academics who choose the EAC as a place of study. The archived blogs will be selected based on very specific criteria and their quality will be checked on a regular basis. Of course, we cannot preserve all blogs or even all the blogs that may fall within our parameters for this particular project. The EAC encourages bloggers to archive their work, regardless of whether they participate in our project. The U.S. Library of Congress has a step-by-step guide to help those interested in preserving their online social history.
This collection will grow over time. It will allow for growth of the size of the EAC holdings and cover countries, nationalities and demographics that are currently missing, all without adding physical material. It will also become a collection that can be accessed wherever a researcher is located.
As we published on a blog post about this project last year, the Digital Preservation Coalition regards blogs and blog comments as a 'vulnerable' digital species. If we don’t start archiving blogs now, we are risking their total disappearance and will have very little written material that would document digital lives. This project will also let us learn more about how to archive web-based material, of which quantity and relevance will only increase over time.
Are you interested in submitting your blog for research? For a blog to be considered for this project, a few basic criteria must be met:
At this time the blog archive is a pilot project. We are collecting only English-language blogs for testing purposes but hope to expand the scope of languages we include in the future. If you wish to donate material — digital or not — in a language other than English, please read how to donate to the EAC.
The EAC defines 'expatriate' as someone who lives temporarily in a country other than his/her 'home' country. Additionally, blogs can discuss or focus on topics adjacent to expatriation, such as repatriation or Third Culture Kids.
Please read the Blog Archiving Agreement to get started. Send the completed agreement or any requests for more information on this project to firstname.lastname@example.org.