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  3. William McDonough to be Stanford University's First Living Archive

William McDonough to be Stanford University's First Living Archive

William McDonough to be Stanford University's First Living Archive
William McDonough to be Stanford University's First Living Archive, NASA Sustainability Base / William McDonough + Partners and AECOM
NASA Sustainability Base / William McDonough + Partners and AECOM

William McDonough of William McDonough + Partners has decided to become Stanford University's first "living archive" in an effort to change the way we as humans remember and record our daily lives. Although technologies such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo have made verbal and visual documentation a much larger part of our lives, McDonough has decided to record nearly every moment of his day - every day - for the greater, intellectual good.

Read more on McDonough's archiving process...

McDonough said in an interview with the New York Times that “the benefit to me [of archiving] is that I’m excited about a lot of things, and I like to share. That feels good. I can get to do my work, and if someone’s affected by it, that’s great.”

McDonough will now be filming all of his meetings and recording all of his telephone conversations. To help him with gathering the material, he'll have a full-time archivist working right next door to his office and another archivist or two working on the project for the next two years. Instead of waiting until old age to sell his archives to the highest bidder, as is traditional practice, McDonough will be sending the material to Stanford University as close to real time as possible. He'll still own the intellectual property rights of his content, but Stanford will own the actual recordings and will make his information immediately available to the public through the Internet.

Roberto Trujillo, head of the Stanford University Libraries’ Special Collections, asked the question many of us are wondering: "How many of our daily discussions are worth keeping a detailed record of?” McDonough, however, is a good candidate for this kind of constant surveillance, as his leadership in sustainable architectural practices implies endless participation in the exchange of relevant and influential knowledge.

Stanford is already thinking about who to start archiving next and many perceive McDonough's system as revolutionary to archiving and library practices, at least in terms of depth and timing. Making the system run in real time will ensure a more continuous, fluid supply of knowledge... but is there such a thing as information overload? 

Reference: New York Times

About this author
Barbara Porada
Cite: Barbara Porada. "William McDonough to be Stanford University's First Living Archive" 26 Mar 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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