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What are you doing to preserve and archive your applied work for future generations?  So of us who have or who are at that point in life and career when we want to "shorten up" face this problem. This is especially true for those of us who do not have an academic home or base for our work product and have not producer the usual recorded of academic publications, yet have made contributions to the development and application of anthropological science and theory to real problems

While there have been some faltering steps to establish an archive -- too little and too late seems to be the case.The oral history project here at SfAA is a start but rather spare compared to the number of applied practitioner out there today and the linkage of their work with that of the founders of this Association.

 As Edward Spicer and I learned in 1973 when we put on the Across Generation Symposium at the Tucson meetings, the record for many of the classic applied cases carried out in the 1940 - early 1960s had gaps that need to be filled if they were to be of relevance to the rapid changes taking place in the 1970s. Even then, key informants and documentation was being lost  Today that is even more true.

The Edward H. and Rosmond B Foundation has been formed recently to preserve their legacy In the process of identifying former friends, colleagues, and students  list in the archive, we are discovering they are either retired, dying, or dead and the legacy is being forgotten. This is a loss to the profession and the discipline to say nothing about the loss for students.

So what are you doing?

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Comment by Barry R. Bainton on August 25, 2014 at 4:59pm

So nobody really cares what happens to their years of research, their data so carefully stored and collected. Or maybe because it was published, we don't want the next generation to come back on reexamine it and audit our brilliant conclusions.

As we age, something I'm finding happens faster and faster every year, we come to a point when the 20-30 something we carry in our head is betrayed by the image in the mirror or in PET or CAT scan at the Doctor's office. We come to realize that it is time to stop planning for the future and time to start thinking about the future that has arrived and what we have accomplished.

Time to grow up and finish the jobs and projects once started. Time to shorten up on the files, publications, books, videos, 51/4" 3 1/2", Zip, and hard drives of data, lesson plans, drafts of journal articles rejected etc., that fill the storage boxes and file cabinets in our basements, in our offices, garages, etc. Time to sort, to be hard on yourself like you were on that author who submitted that article when you were editor, and accept that most likely, nobody will care and Google will not be knocking on you door to archive the product of your professional life.

Yet what we have experienced in the mid-twentieth century is a unique time in global and human history . The decolonization of the non-Western world, the civilizing impact of urbanization and global commerce carried out by machines replacing the human agents that once were required to carry out business. A global culture layered over the regional, national, local, tribal cultures that served mankind for centuries. Generations skipping over generations of slow cultural evolution via the magic of human technology ALL dependent upon cheap available electricity.

The question that the historian and archaeologist of the future will be faced with, if the plug is ever pulled, is going to be: "What happened after 1990?" If there are no hard copies of your and mine research, will become a dark age in human cultural development? Have you given it any thought?


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