When I closed my office at New York University many years ago, I
removed along with myself a lot of books and a set of ugly green file
cabinets. These latter contained most of my archive. Other cabinets and
stuff were in two or three secondary residences and storerooms. Every
scholar has or has had an archive. These are destined except in rare
instances to the wasteland or to a remote corner of a public building,
there to remain unmolested except on some rare occasion by some
unimaginably imaginative student or scholar.
I hate waste and claim some merit to whatever I have put my hand to, so I transported my papers to numerous strange quarters, losing hardly any of it on the way. Then I became alert to the value of what is stored in relation to what is being created, not only in my case but in most others. (Compare the waste bin for the archive vs. $100,000.00 to send a girl to college to get married or somehow recycled!) So began my war on behalf of archives.
Abetted by a stream of inventions of instruments for manipulating symbols -- hardware and software -- the meaning of an archive sharpened, clarified, was enhanced.. I began with an interest in content analysis in the 40's and 50's, in information retrieval and automated teaching in the 60's and 70's, in computerized bibliographies in the 60's as well, and in the 70's took to autobiography and memoirs, which sent me diving into those mouldy green and black file cabinets.
The Grazian Archive was conceived to be and has become increasingly a Living Archive. Every effort has been made to use all the old and new devices and systems of the age of communications, information retrieval, computers, multi-media, and the internet to make the events of the past recuperate their vigor and revive for the present and future in old and new forms. Let them be forever handy and useful to anyone anywhere in the world.
It was during this experience and in this spirit that I ventured onto the Web in 1997 with the Grazian archive. I intended only do a job, expecting to spend money out of pocket, and therefore resented calling my domain by the famous ".com". I headed my venture with the following explanation and apology:
EXPLAINING THE GRAZIAN-ARCHIVE
Here now is all about the Grazian-Archive and where you come in and go out on it.
In this Year 2000-minus-3, millions of Earth's people who are troubled
and restless and eager are drawn to the vast anonymous movement known as Internet.
There they can stake a claim to a domain on the World Wide Web,
where they can be joined by persons cruising the Internet or targeting them.
Alfred de Grazia qualifies for a stake, too:
a. He has long suffered from malnourishment in public expression.
b. He has elaborated numerous avantgarde plans, schemes and ideas.
c. He has not told of significant matters, old and new, to which he is privy.
d. His philosophy and proposals are controversial and obstructed.
e. He has found the publishing industry seriously defective and grown worse.
f. The dismal fate of useful archives has concerned him for many years.
g. Only rarely have active creative writers and philosophers espoused Internet.
h. Serious literary, literary, and political compositions are scarce on Internet.
i. Works might grow and flourish on the Internet beyond all prior possibilities.
So Alfred de Grazia surveyed his archive of materials (1939-1997)
and decided to place it where it might be viewed or not,
studied or passed over -- like the stuff at the Frankfurt Book Fair
or the Elizabethtown Flea Market. By stretching classifications somewhat,
he could divide them into six categories, a hexagon of concerns. (But now they are twelve.)
From day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year,
therefore, this Domain will, like a comet,
move along with a head that pushes into new realms and a much more voluminous tail trailing along,
and if, from time to time, it appears that the tail rushes alongside or before the head,
that, too, is like the part-time behavior of comets.
As of March 2001, with no advertising to speak of, the Grazian-archive had
achieved an annual rate of over a million Visitors. This happened without employment
of our full reserves: one half of Alfred de Grazia's archive had not been processed
and placed on line; the forceful multi-media that were available and readied
for action had not been employed, and the day to day messaging of the universe
had not begun. But in the 12 month ending june 2007 the living archive had welcomed
over 3.2 million visitors. It is still far from its goal of including the full
archive. So, the Living Archive has gone far but not by any means to the end
of its journey. Our pledge is to go on and fulfill in every way that our minds
and means permit the promise of the Living Archive of the future.