[BCMA] Phase 2 of the SUCHO Initiative

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[image: Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online logo]
<https://opencollective.com/sucho> Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online
Phase 2 of the SUCHO Initiative
by Anna Kijas <https://opencollective.com/anna-kijas>
[cross-posted at https://www.sucho.org/press-release-20220808-phase-2

Since its launch on March 1, 2022, Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online
(SUCHO) has brought together over 1,300 volunteers to create high-fidelity
web archives of around 4,500 Ukrainian cultural heritage websites, amassing
over 52 TB of data. These websites range from national archives to local
museums, from 3D tours of churches to children’s art centers. We have
identified these websites in many ways: crowdsourcing, examining DNS
records for all websites registered in the Ukrainian namespace or with
Ukrainian contact info, and manually walking through Google Maps for cities
under attack, looking for the museum icon. As we find fewer and fewer new
websites to archive, SUCHO is moving into a new phase of the project with
three goals: *Curate*, *Donate*, *Educate*.

*Web archives*
The web archives created by SUCHO were done quickly, using a distributed
network of volunteers’ laptops, individual servers, Browsertrix Cloud
and the Internet Archive
The archives are stored using Wasabi
<https://opencollective.com/redirect?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwasabi.com%2F>, and
mirrored across five institutions in three countries. To achieve our goal
of digital repatriation, we need to connect these archives with the contact
information for the site owners. We will also ensure the archives have gone
through a thorough quality control pass, apply some basic metadata to
support findability, and establish a list of sites where SUCHO needs to
periodically update the archives, in order to capture substantive new
content. As a first step towards these goals, we’re migrating from the
giant Google sheet that served us well in the first phase of the project to
a more robust long-term option using Baserow. Georgii Korotkov has been
leading that migration effort.

A selection of the web archived content is being curated in a gallery,
“Exploring Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online.” The purpose of this gallery
is to raise awareness of Ukrainian cultural heritage, which we hope in turn
will encourage visitors to donate money for the purchase of digitization
equipment that is needed by Ukrainian institutions. Objects represent a
range of heritage materials from institutions including (but not limited
to) archives, libraries, museums, local history organizations, schools,
theaters, and monasteries across Ukraine. Each object is described with
Ukrainian and English metadata along with details about the institution
where the object is physically housed and hosted online. The gallery can be
viewed at https://gallery.sucho.org/

Ukrainian war memes are an important born-digital element of contemporary
culture. They are disseminated mainly through social media and transmit
very powerful war-related messages in a playful manner. Because memes are
strongly rooted in current events and ideas, their life span is very short
and if not preserved, they will be lost. To preserve this cultural
phenomenon SUCHO has begun building an archival collection of visual
internet memes related to the Russo-Ukrainian war. The collecting is
carried out by harvesting social media accounts dedicated to memes and by
manual submission of individual memes via a public Google form
Each meme is described using a complex metadata structure. The collection
can be previewed as an interactive “SUCHO Meme Wall
where memes can be filtered or searched by content, language and template
as well as by the names of individuals and countries mentioned. The SUCHO
“meme team” is led by Anna Rakityanskaya, with Simon Wiles developing the
meme wall.

*Situation monitoring*
Since 24 February, Ukraine has suffered extensive losses in all aspects of
life, including in the cultural sector. Cultural artifacts have been
destroyed along with the physical structures that house them; objects have
also been removed from their locations and taken away without approval.
Situation Monitoring has been transitioning from prioritizing archiving
efforts to maintaining that awareness of damages and looting for the group
and for the websites in our stewardship. We are also working with other
groups monitoring the movement of Ukrainian cultural heritage to make sure
the country’s cultural heritage is not lost to war by digital–or physical

At the beginning of the project, SUCHO’s focus was on publicly-available
websites for Ukrainian cultural heritage institutions. Those websites
depend on materials already having been digitized before the war. As noted
by President of the Ukrainian Librarian Association Oksana Brui in a recent
UNESCO meeting, only about 0.6% of the cultural heritage documents in the
State Archives have been digitized to date. These institutions have more
than 36 million documents of cultural heritage. More than 735,000
manuscripts, 734 incunabula, 5,300 Paleotypes and about 500,000 old prints
should be the basis for the National Digital Library of Ukraine.

The urgency of digitizing cultural heritage has only grown since the war,
and many institutions are beginning – or scaling up – digitization efforts.
High-quality digitization depends on physical equipment, such as cameras,
scanners, and computers. SUCHO is working with a number of partners to
gather information about Ukrainian institutions’ needs, procure those
items, and get them delivered to people who can use them.

The National Library of Sweden
and the Society of Archives and Records Management in Sweden (FAI)
have donated digitization equipment, such as scanners, cameras and
computers that are being delivered to cultural heritage institutions in

And thanks to a generous donation from the Pearl Jam Vitalogy Foundation
we have begun procurement for additional digitization equipment requested
by Ukrainian cultural heritage institutions.

Please donate to the SUCHO equipment fund
<https://opencollective.com/sucho/projects/equipment> to help us purchase
digitization equipment that still needs funding.

SUCHO has begun work on educational materials for our partners at Ukrainian
cultural heritage institutions who have limited prior exposure to
digitization tools and methods. In addition, we are building on the meme
curation work to develop pedagogical materials for Ukrainian language,
literature, and history classes.

*Training for digitization*
While some of our partners at Ukrainian cultural heritage institutions are
scaling up their existing digitization programs, other organizations are
new to digitization. SUCHO volunteers are adapting open-access materials
and translating them into Ukrainian, and planning on developing additional
materials and workshops based on the needs of Ukrainian cultural heritage

*Memes in education*
SUCHO volunteers Yuliya Ilchuk and Anna Rakityanskaya are working with
at the University of Illinois to prepare classroom materials out of memes
and other materials collected by SUCHO. These pedagogical materials will be
available as an open-access issue of SourceLab’s publication in the coming

How you can help
We are seeking volunteers to help with very specific tasks: meme gallery
curation, gallery metadata curation, Internet Archive metadata curation,
and quality control of web archived content. You can view additional
requirements for each task and submit this form if you’d like to volunteer:


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