William McDonough To Be Stanford University Libraries’ First “Living Archive”

William McDonough Headshot-formal 2013

Pulling The Present Into The Future: William McDonough To Be Stanford University Libraries’ First “Living Archive”
Renowned university chooses the internationally recognized thought leader, designer, and author, William McDonough, to manifest a real-time archive—a prototype for the future of digital archiving.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., March 20, 2013  — William McDonough, co-author of Cradle to Cradle, sustainability advisor to business and government leaders, and renowned green architect, has been chosen by Stanford University as the leading academic institution’s first living archive—including digital and hard copy artifacts from the past and present. This archive will give current and future generations the opportunity to see inside the creative mind of one of the sustainability movement’s most important champions.

Roberto Trujillo, head of the Stanford University Libraries’ Special Collections, hailed McDonough’s partnership with Stanford and sees the potential in digital archiving to include real-time and more universal access that could increase collaboration and exposure to one of the foremost green thinkers of the decade. “We see the possibility to capture not just the writings and artifacts but the activities and conversations of a designer and thought leader—and the many influential individuals he works with—as they happen. It’s a real-time archive.” Stanford announced the acquisition at the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute gala honoring McDonough in San Francisco in November, which also featured Susan Sarandon as the emcee and Meryl Streep as a guest speaker.

The extensive historical collections of McDonough cover more than 40 years of the designer’s professional career and the archives will continuously grow in tandem with the generation of McDonough’s work. Creating this new type of archive will be no easy task. One challenge will be to perpetually manage new material and keep up with a living donor’s many activities, appearances, projects, writings… and even his Tweets.

Stanford is an international leader in creating standards and best practices for realizing the digital library—one of the reasons McDonough was attracted to Stanford in the first place. McDonough also has a long-standing relationship with the university; he has served as a Consulting Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department for nearly a decade.

The Stanford University Libraries and McDonough have agreed to collaborate on a comprehensive approach to archiving the McDonough collections, which include paper and born-digital material. The libraries will use the digital components to create a set of open-source archival technologies that will allow creators, archivists and selected contributors to actively participate. Speaking to the collaboration with the libraries, McDonough said he is “especially excited about their interest in new ways of archiving and looking forward to working with their team. We are doing something new here. It’s not just pulling the past into the present. We are pulling the present into the future.”

Stanford acquired the Buckminster Fuller archives in 1999, and it is one of the libraries’ most in-demand collections. It is also one of the most extensive personal archives anywhere. In a sense, the new McDonough acquisition is an extension of that visionary effort. It is a connection, also, that is personally meaningful for McDonough.As a student at Dartmouth, McDonough heard one of Fuller’s famously long lectures (more than three hours)—an encounter that left an indelible mark.

ABOUT William McDonough
William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. Trained as an architect, McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular. Time magazine recognized him in 1999 as a “Hero for the Planet,” stating that “his utopianism is grounded in a unified philosophy that—in demonstrable and practical ways—is changing the design of the world.” McDonough is the founder of William McDonough + Partners, McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. McDonough co-authored Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things in 2002 with German chemist Dr. Michael Braungart; the book is widely acknowledged as a seminal text in the sustainable design movement. Their eagerly awaited follow up, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance—which includes a foreword by President Bill Clinton—will be out next month.

SOURCE: William McDonough + Partners

RELATED ARTICLE:  The Era of Deep Archiving Begins
By David Streitfield, NEW YORK TIMES

Excerpt from the article:

“That evening put Mr. McDonough on the path to becoming a prominent architect, but it exists only in his memory, which used to be where just about everything about our pasts resided. Now Mr. McDonough is in the forefront of efforts to change that, to record instantaneously the major intellectual events in our lives. He will be the first living archive at Stanford University.

This means that the architect, a leader in sustainable development, has started filming all of his meetings and recording all of his phone conversations. He will send them in something close to real time to Stanford, which will be making much of the material immediately accessible on the Internet. Even presidents are not observed so closely and so continuously. Mr. Fuller, whose archives are also at Stanford and is something of a guiding spirit to the project, would be envious but probably not surprised.”

RELATED ARTICLE:  Stanford Selects Cradle to Cradle’s William McDonough as First Living Archive
By Mike Hower, Sustainable Brands

Excerpt from the Article:

Stanford University has chosen William McDonough as its first living archive, which will include digital and hard copy artifacts from his life to give current and future generations an insight into the sustainability design leader’s mind.

The archive will use digital methods to include real-time and universal access to McDonough’s historical collections spanning more than 40 years of his life so far and will continue to grow in tandem with his work as it progresses, the announcement says. The record will constantly be updated to keep track of the living donor’s activities, appearances, projects, writings and even Tweets.

“We see the possibility to capture not just the writings and artifacts but the activities and conversations of a designer and thought leader — and the many influential individuals he works with — as they happen. It’s a real-time archive,” said Roberto Trujillo, head of the Stanford Libraries’ Special Collections.