How You Can Help Build the SHARE Archive

With contributions from Anne Caluori

SHARE Past President Anne Caluori is spearheading an effort to collect and catalog important documents from SHARE’s 60-year history. But, she’s not alone.

Long-time SHARE members are sending her volumes of content – from whitepapers to technical reports to industry literature. She’s been lucky in that some members held onto a lot of that material over the years. Even so, the effort has happened mostly out of the public’s eye, meaning that other members who might have important documents likely don’t know about the project at all.

That’s why she’s working to get the word out.

“The organization has a lot of members who were key contributors to the industry in the ‘70s, ‘80s and up to the present day. These are people who did fabulous foundational work,” she said. “It’s likely that some, if not all, of their papers still available. We just need to find them.”

Ready to do your part? Here’s how you can help build the SHARE archive.

Step 1: Send Your Documents to SHARE

A few flickering embers could turn into warm leads, according to Caluori.

“I have some ongoing conversations that could result in three to four banker’s boxes of content from the ‘50s into the early ‘70s,” she said. “It’s exciting because people at the time were discussing and deciding the definitions of a database. They were laying the groundwork for things we took for granted in the ‘80s, never mind today.”

But, she needs to hear from more of these members, including those who might not realize that their office desk or filing cabinet is filled with a treasure trove of mainframe history.

“Even folks who don’t think that what they did was important have committee reports and whitepapers that lay the foundation for people today who want to understand how mainframes developed,” she said.

Members can send content to Caluori, or even just provide her with a general sense of the type of content they have on hand before they pack it up for shipping.

“Some folks will just take photos of the spines of documents and literature they have on their bookshelf,” she said. “I can tell just from that if they have something we need for the inventory.”

Step 2: Tell SHARE What You’re Looking For

At the same time, part of the challenge of creating an archive is prioritization. How do you know what’s needed for the inventory if you not sure what’s valuable to the people who will use the archive?

Some use cases were immediately obvious. For example, Caluori knows that saving meeting minutes could be helpful to SHARE leadership and senior management, who change roles every few years. During this stage, new leaders are involved in transition meetings, where they learn about past assignments, ongoing projects, and the responsibilities of their role.

“It seemed obvious to me to create a digital vault of all board meeting minutes for the transition stage,” Caluori said. “This became a huge PDF collection that went to new board members, which gives them the ability to do PDF searches by topic or keyword.”

Beyond that example, Caluori would love to hear from SHARE members about the types of content they might find useful and the reasons why. That information would allow her to prioritize the material that’s retained, and help her make important decisions on taxonomy.

“As with any archive, we don't know how the data might be used by members in the future, and we can't project how or why a piece of paper might be valuable,” Caluori said. “But we do know for sure if we don’t capture it today, it will be gone.”

The SHARE Archive is a work in progress, and you can help build it. If you have a lead on material you think should be in the archive, don’t hesitate to reach out to Anne Caluori at archive@share.org

 

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