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The death of an Archive

Rob Harper Rob.Harper at CONVEX.CSC.FI
Tue Feb 18 03:09:06 EST 1992

You don't know what you've got till its gone.
They paint paradise and put up a parking lot.

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For those of you who follow the macintosh newsgroups, you may have
already seen this.  I was going to write my own version of this, but
I felt my collegue had already summed it very nicely.  So here is his
letter which echos my feelings.
 Dear mac-archive-user....
 I have some very very disturbing and shocking (at least for me) news
 to relay to you....
 Due to budget constraints at the U-M Information Technology Division, 
 a tenative decision has been made to cut and cease support of the largely
 volunteer archive service (i.e. mac.archive.umich.edu, msdos.archive.umich.edu,
 next.archive.umich.edu, linguistics.archive, atari, etc.).
 Here is a copy of the message I received about a half hour ago
 from my supervisor on the project:
 Message-Id: <9202140448.AA08771 at terminator.cc.umich.edu>
 To: all-archivists at terminator.cc.umich.edu
 Subject: Death of the Archives?
 Date: Thu, 13 Feb 92 23:48:01 -0500
 From: "Fred Swartz" <swartz at terminator.cc.umich.edu>
                            ... ...I don't know exactly how this will
 affect the 0.25 part of Allan and Mike that RS pays for, perhaps CSS
 and CITI will pick it up.  I'll let you know when/if I find out.
 When I talked to Mike Clark (my manager in Research Systems) about
 continuing the archives on volunteer power (as it largely runs right
 now), he was very negative on the idea, but failed to supply a
 convincing argument for abandoning it.  I'm stunned and upset.
 The Archives have managed very well on volunteer effort up til now and
 it seems to me that something else is going on other than a genuine
 concern for serving the users.
 I don't know what this means for the Archives, although they aren't
 going to be turned off tomorrow.  I'll let you know whatever I find out
 as soon as I can.
   -- Fred
 I talked on the phone with Fred and we both agree that this decision
 seems very unfair to both the students/faculty who use the archives
 here at the University of Michigan, and you... the users on the
 Internet, Bitnet, UUCP, etc. 
 To me, it doesn't make much sense to cut off support for the archives.
 Both I and Allan make around $70 a week working on the archives (I work
 on the Mac side, he works on the msdos side).. the rest of the time
 we spend is voluntary, like the twenty or so other people who add/keep
 up the archives here.  The archives are probably one of the most popular
 and beneficial services that ITD offers.  There may be other ways to trim
 the budget, but cutting off something that costs nearly nothing
 to begin with doesn't seem very wise.
 Please help us out.  E-mail in support of our archives can be sent
 to archive.support at mac.archive.umich.edu.  We don't want to flood the
 senior managers' mailboxes, and we're still thinking about what we
 can do to save our archives.  Comments can be sent
 to us at "comments at mac.archive.umich.edu".  To address the entire
 archive group, you may send e-mail to "all-archivists at terminator.cc.umich.edu".
 mike at mac.archive.umich.edu
As for myself, I'll willingly continue to maintain the archives for
free.  I just don't know at this time if I would have anything
to maintain. 
We (the msdos archive) probably haven't become as popular as our
mac counterpart, but we would very much like to continue to operate
so we can finish all the plans we have and become a truly first rate
Please, if you have found our service useful (minimal as it is right
now) send a message of support to archive.support at mac.archive.umich.edu.
Thank you.
allan at terminator.cc.umich.edu

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