Introducing The Unwritten Record!

Today we’re debuting our new name!

From now on, the blog of the National Archives’ Special Media Services Division will be known as The Unwritten Record. We’ll feature the same great content—film, photographs, videos, sound recordings, and other non-textual records from the National Archives’ holdings– just with a new and improved name! Media Matters was fine, but we had an opportunity to make a change and wanted a name that better conveyed what we’re about.

In arriving at a new name, we wanted it to express both the ideas of non-textual records and history at the same time, in just a couple of words that would be easy to remember and easy to find. A quick check of synonyms for “media” made us realize that, to most people out there, the word doesn’t mean what it means to us. Luckily, we have a crack group of bloggers that brainstormed long and hard to arrive at our new name. By “unwritten” we’re emphasizing the fact that we work with materials that were not technically written; for the most part they were recorded by cameras or other equipment, or perhaps drawn as is the case with the maps and patent records in the Cartographic Branch. And with “record,” well, we’re the National Archives, and we’re in the business of preserving the records of the United States government. These items aren’t just interesting, they’re bits and pieces that make up the record of our nation’s history.

Over time, the details may change, but our mission is the same! Still from The Archives (1940)

Credit goes to Richie for the stroke of inspiration. We’re very happy with our new name–I hope you like it, too!

3 thoughts on “Introducing The Unwritten Record!

  1. FWIW, President Wilson reportedly said that the film “The Birth of a Nation” was “like writing history with lightning.” And I know a photographer who has said his work is “writing with light.”

  2. Changing this NARA blog name was a good decision. When I see media, as in “Media Matters”, I infer that it is for the Press, i.e. issues specifically for news media organizations.

    I didn’t realize, until now, that the subject was multimedia, as a format type. Non-text archival content is so important AND fun! Maps, patent drawings and photographs are my favorites.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! As immersed in our world as we are, it really didn’t occur to me that “media” meant the press to 99.9% of people until we were considering a new name.

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