Where can one personally meet bloggers from 50 countries and discuss the urgent issues of digital society in Europe? Right in the heart of Berlin, Germany.
This year, BlogForever once again presented our consortium’s efforts at re:publica, Germany´s biggest conference for social media issues and innovation (http://www.re-publica.de/). The conference took place for the seventh year in Berlin with about 5.000 visitors. 450 speakers presented workshops, discussions and talks from the 6th to the 8th of May about the latest developments in social media all over the world. In such an environment of active bloggers and fresh ideas, it was a great pleasure to be included and have the chance to discuss our project with the people whose content we hope to preserve.
It was both interesting and promising to see that the content of those discussions had changed from the previous year at re:publica. Many of our booth visitors were already informed and convinced that weblogs should be acknowledged as an important piece of our cultural heritage. Additionally, they were supportive of a more robust preservation, one that can better accommodate future research and improve accessibility for the public. The current situation in Syria and other crisis regions in Northern African countries were especially noted as underlining the necessity and importance of independent blogging and the access of such information for journalists, researchers and the public in general.
While bloggers wanted to inform themselves about ways to preserve their own blog more completely and securely, they also asked for ways to disseminate their blog more efficiently. Some individuals indicated interest in a large-scale solution, similar to the internet archive (http://archive.org) in the United States, for European weblogs. BlogForever also met with researchers at several European universities who represented communities of expert bloggers focusing on specific thematic areas, such as science or technology. Several of these individuals expressed the need for a blog preservation solution which could strengthen research networks.
We have come a long way in spreading the message about the importance of digital preservation, in particular of weblogs. The public is now ready to dream about the ways in which preservation can be valuable in the present as well as the future.