About six months ago we received a notice via an R&R friend, notifying us of someone in Boston who was trying to emulate the type of service provided by Roots and Recall. Of course this peaked our curiosity and we took a few hours to examine the work undertaken by two scholars at Harvard University’s incubator program which had received a top innovation award from the institution. As it turned out their work was an infringement on the patent protected intellectual property that Roots and Recall has been based on since it’s inception. Surprisingly, it seems with no one at the institution ever reviewed patents issued in this space or researched what was already up and running on the internet. A subsequent letter to this group requesting that we jointly look at collaboration opportunities was never acknowledged. It appears that the wonderful work which they were performing had unfortunately ceased prior to our attempt to contact them.
One of the interesting parallels between R&R and the Harvard project was that their group of inventors called the project preserving Shoe Box History. Roots and Recall, has for years been using the term Suitcase History, preservation through sharing. Really, we don’t think this group had a clue about our preservation work in South Carolina, their focus was international. We are disappointed that they have ceased operations as their work offered potential for technically enhancing Roots and Recall’s services and we still hope to make their acquaintance someday. We like the phrase Shoe Box History and will adopt it’s use to describe opportunities to preserve hidden and forgotten histories.
A few shoe box sites to enjoy:
Each of us has a shoe box or suitcase of treasures that need preserving. It took about three years to get a cousin of mine to open her collection and share our joint family images. Don’t wait until the older generation has passed, as so many of us do, to begin this process. Their knowledge of family, history and memories worth preserving are all to important to wait until the last minute. As one of R&R’s members recently did, just have your grandchildren digitize your Shoe Box history and submit it to R&R. I promise you, they too will enjoy and benefit from the exercise.
Recently, we were privileged to meet with a family in Chester, S.C., to review and outline the digitization of their collective data for posting on Roots and Recall. Members of the family who live in different sections of the state, will be pooling their shoe box resources, and R&R will digitize their collective family history. The collaborative sharing of shoe box history for posting and preservation works! What stories do you and your family have worth sharing?
R&R Note: I have always been delighted to serve as a guest speaker for various groups in order to help foster interest in preservation causes. Yet, over the past few months my schedule has become so tight that these types of requests have become a challenge to adequately fulfill. Regrettably I can no longer justify the time and expense involved in providing these programs. Starting in 2018, I will be limiting public engagements and lectures. However, I will try and inform members in advance so that they may attend. The next R&R program is scheduled for Nov. 9th, 7:30 pm, at the Laurens County Library, Laurens, S.C., hosted by the Laurens County Historical Society. I am confident quests would be welcome!
A note of sadness: We recently learned of the death of Laurens County historian and retired librarian Elaine Martin, who generously and personally provided Roots and Recall ample assistance in building our digital collections and constantly answering our questions. We will miss her warm professional help.