IS THE INTERNATIONAL TIME CAPSULE SOCIETY AN AMERICAN ORGANIZATION?
The ITCSOC has been running since 1990 and we are global - 37 countries have registered time capsules with us! We have our home base in Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, USA
IS THE PROCESS FREE?
The service we offer is entirely free.
We are a public library and the International Time Capsule Society offers the mapping and cataloging in service of building the historical record of time capsules. We are run on volunteered time and donated resource and happily manage to offer this service to the time capsuling community at zero cost.
WE WOULD LOVE TO PARTICIPATE! WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?
As a start we would love you to register your time capsule using this form here:
Please upload any article / photos as part of the registration for time capsule and we will do the rest!
CAN I REGISTER A TIME CAPSULE WHICH IS ALREADY OPENED?
As a Society we absolutely are interested in the history of all time capsules. We in fact record already opened and recently discovered time capsules about 40% of the time, so yours would be perfect!
DO I NEED ALL THE DETAILS OF MY TIME CAPSULE BURIAL BEFORE REGISTERING?
Yes, you would need to have those details together to make best use of the library and mapping tools, and we are very much look forward to receiving your registration!
WE DON’T HAVE AN EXACT DATE YET FOR WHEN WE’RE GOING TO BE SEALING/BURYING IT. WHEN SHOULD WE REGISTER OUR TIME CAPSULE? CAN WE REGISTER THE TIME CAPSULE IN ADVANCE?
Yes, you would need to have those details together to make best use of the library and mapping tools, and we are very much looking forward to receiving your registration!
WHAT IF I CHANGED LOCATION TOGETHER WITH MY TIME CAPSULE?
We can change your library record containing the location of the time capsules. Many time capsules get moved from time to time! You would just need to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
DO I NEED A LOGIN TO ACCESS WORLDCAT?
No. It is searchable at worldcat.org directly from any browser. Hint: Use Time capsule name + the words "NotForgotten Time Capsule"
CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT YOU WOULD ACTUALLY DO WITH THE CONTENTS OF OUR TIME CAPSULES?
We do not keep any physical time capsules or their contents, we only prepare records of the existence and history of the time capsules. A local library might take any history
DO YOU HAPPEN TO HAVE ANY RESOURCES THAT CAN HELP US OPEN THE CAPSULE AND PRESERVE THE CONTENT?
We would love to assist and will if we can. We can reach out to local archivists too to enlist support - so please let us know where you are and we will do our best to help
WHAT STEPS ARE TAKEN TO KEEP THE EXACT LOCATION OF THE TIME CAPSULES ON THE REGISTER SECRET?
Time capsules usually are lost due to thievery, secrecy or poor planning. Some time capsules are entirely public and others need high levels of secrecy. The international register accommodates different scenarios for secrecy. Each of the four options comes with some level risk which you will need to evaluate for your circumstance:
- Do you want people to know that you have a time capsule? where it is buried? what's in it? and when to open it. If not HOW will the future know this information?
- What is the likelihood someone else will use the public information and dig it up before its opening date? Are the contents valuable?
- What is the likelihood no one remembers where it was buried?
- What is the likelihood of you being around at the opening date? If you are in doubt, who will know where and when to open it
With this in mind when registering, you have four options for your time capsule record:
SECRET : I do NOT want any public library record of my Time Capsule. I ONLY want my time capsule recorded on the list with the International Time Capsule Society Digital Preservation Trust. They will know it exists and this information will remain private until the public opening date.
PUBLIC: I DO want a public library record published about the existence of my Time Capsule. ALL of the information I have provided about my Time Capsule should be published. The library card will show the owner, opening instructions, public opening date, location and contents.
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE: I DO want a public library record published about the existence of my Time Capsule. But with minimal information shared publicly. The location, opening instructions and contents of my Time Capsule are to remain private on the list held by the Trust and released only after the public opening date.
SELF MANAGED: I DO want a public library record published about the existence of my Time Capsule. But I have only provided minimal information about my Time Capsule to the Preservation Trust. Instead I used another method to share information about my Time Capsule location, opening instructions and contents - entered below to be included on my public library card.
DO YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW SOME ORGANIZATION IN EUROPE OR ELSEWHERE WHICH WOULD BE AVAILABLE TO STORE A BOX LIKE THAT FOR A VERY LONG TIME?
You are identifying a known problem in the genealogy and GLAM (gallery, library, archive and museum) world. Unfortunately there is an increasing demand for space in these institutions and its incredibly difficult to have valuable documents, and film preserved these days in their original state. There are governments looking for institutions to do exactly this.
There is no simple solution unfortunately, but these are potential options for you
1. Ask your local museum / library if they will store and archive these papers for you. Record them with ITCSOC so they can be mapped and cataloged
2. Banks would do it, but you would need funding for that on an ongoing basis. Record them with ITCSOC so they can be discovered for centuries
You rightly identify a time capsule burial is a bad idea for paper. Preserving paper is in fact a very difficult business
Temperature, humidity, light (UV light breaks down pigmentation) and dust (leads to mold, traps damp, and is acidic) can all damage your papers
Make sure the papers are being stored in acid free boxes in a dry, dark environment.
Then there are alternatives which would not involve the originals (which might not be right for your circumstance) – and these would be a one off cost:
3 .You could reach out to the Memory of Mankind and have the pages copied onto ceramics which last a millennia. They are stored in a salt mine in Austria. They will survive, but of course you have the question of accessibility
4. You could contact companies like NotForgotten that have a trust fund that will care for and preserve digital media (you would need to digitize your work first). They can then preserve these for you for several centuries, and they would be accessible.
Although these services cost around $500, perhaps as a not-for-profit your local community would raise the money towards preservation?
Perhaps you want to consider if the value is in the original paper or in the words on the paper and the history it represents. Always the best way of archiving history is to make multiple copies stored in multiple locations. So you might want to consider a combination of physical archive and digital archive?
If you would like further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.