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‘That physicians in the Anti-Vaccine Society (England, early 19th C) were concerned that Jenner’s smallpox inoculation gave people bovine-like features.’ – historian’s tweet in reply to author asking about memorable finds. Twitter/Wellcome

I asked historians what find made them go ‘wait, wut?’ Here’s a taste of the hundreds of replies

Historians, archivists and other researchers got in touch with tales of their archival finds and bizarre research moments. These ranged from the quirky to the disturbing to the profound.
People are warned that what they post on the internet will live forever. But that’s not really the case. 3alexd/E+ via Getty Images

The Internet Archive has been fighting for 25 years to keep what’s on the web from disappearing – and you can help

Portions of the internet disappear every day. Preservation of this historical record requires a proactive approach by archivists and everyday citizens.
In our current context of rapidly improving technology, archives and museums must constantly make tough decisions about what to keep, what to refuse or even remove. (Shutterstock)

From erasure to recategorizing: What we should do with Dr. Seuss books

Media coverage of the recent Dr. Seuss controversy are rooted in both a lack of awareness of the challenges and realities of maintaining collections and a false understanding of history.
A re-imagined production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town was cancelled five days before opening. Anne-Louise Sarks

A litany of losses: a new project maps our abandoned arts events of 2020

In a year of lockdowns, The Impossible Project gives life to shows that never reached the stage. More than 150 events are listed on this online archive, and sadly, more are likely to come.
Jeanette W. Jones holds the September 1957 issue of Ebony magazine, which features the article ‘Mystery People of Baltimore: Neither red, nor black, nor white. Strange ‘Indian’ tribe lives in world of its own.’ She is pictured at center, with her hand on her hip. Photo Sean Scheidt; author provided

Repatriating the archives: Lumbee scholars find their people and bring them home

Two Lumbee scholars who have mined local archives in search of tribal history raise the profound question: Who has the rights to memories and artifacts of their people’s past?
Canada lags behind some countries with preserving public digital records. (Flickr/BiblioArchives / LibraryArchives Canada)

2020 is a year for the history books, but not without digital archives

Policymakers should mandate Canada’s national library to archive the entire Canadian web domain so future reserachers can make sense of 2020 and ongoing responses to the pandemic.
The archives of academic institutions can tell previously untold stories of eugenics. Universities can begin to undo oppressive legacies by opening them to artists and communities. (Pakula Piotr/Shutterstock)

Universities must open their archives and share their oppressive pasts

To confront colonialism, universities must open their archives and let communities see their pasts, eugenics and all.

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