The Future of the Archive

Thursday, October 20, 6:30 pm | mp3
A discussion with Tanya Hollis and Rick Prelinger

Will digital media help or hinder us in preserving cultural artifacts? Who should own the rights to digitized material? What happens to a physical object once it's been digitized? Join archivists Tanya Hollis and Rick Prelinger in a conversation about the many issues facing archives, libraries, historians, and individuals in the electronic age: the importance of preserving material culture; the pros and cons of digitizing physical objects; the irreducibility of the material; the difficulties in preserving digital artifacts and the potential for a "digital dark age"; the fate of the common person's personal archive as more and more personal effects migrate to electronic form; the future of history in the face of these developments.

RICK PRELINGER is an archivist, writer, filmmaker, and founder of the Prelinger Archives, a collection of 60,000 advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur films, almost 2000 of which are available on the Internet Archive. The archive was acquired by the Library of Congress in 2002. He is also co-founder of the Prelinger Library, an appropriation-friendly reference library located in San Francisco. He has worked for the Comedy Channel, HBO, and taught at the New York School of Visual Arts. He is currently president of the board of the Internet Archive.

TANYA HOLLIS is currently employed as an archivist at the Labor Archives and Research Center at San Francisco State University; former positions include Literary Collections Archivist and Environmental Collections Archivist at the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, and Manuscripts Librarian at the California Historical Society. She holds a Masters in Library Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a BA in Religion from New College of Florida. Tanya is also a visual artist and a founding member of the Nonsite Collective. Her work can be viewed online at


Home About Events Books Links Contact