PUBLIC DOMAIN REVIEW: The joy of collecting, for free

By Amanda García. February 19, 2013

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In my case, I came across Ubu Web first and Network Awesome after. Both are archives –collections– of content on the internet but organised under different criteria. The former began as a selection of materials about concrete poetry and has gradually been expanding to include different types of art. The latter curates selected videos from YouTube which can even be made into a whole programme at the discretion of the collaborators.

I’m so grateful for websites like these when I identify with the selection made and it interests me. The two aforementioned archives are examples of such a situation but, because of my peculiar interests, I’ve stumbled upon a third archive that brings joy to my soul. Let me make it clear that I’m not talking about a better archive, I already said and will repeat that it’s because of my peculiar interests. The archive I’m talking about is Public Domain Review (the 'Review' part of its name appears in italics, I don’t know and can’t even begin to imagine why): an archive that selects audio, video, image and textual materials as well as any other category anyone might suggest to them. All of the materials they use are already in the public domain– as its name explains very well.

There are vast archives on the internet such as archive.org or the Public Library of Science (to mention just two of the many available), which can provoke immense feelings of anxiety. There is just too much information and it makes you want to start cataloguing it and selecting parts. On many occasions we do that, for pleasure or for our own work, but The Public Domain Review does it under the Open Knowledge Foundation’s platform for everyone. In this case, their efforts to find the strangest things possible – such as a video where they revive a dog’s head (!) – offered together with short essays about such selections too, have become not only points of reference but an inspiration for my work.

All that remains is for me to express my hope that you find some, or several, archives that fill your soul with joy, or hope that some reader shares their collections to keep the joy alive.

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