In many countries, UFO research is carried out by private individuals or groups that document their activities, collect and archive relevant material autonomously. UFO organizations and researchers in Germany also have their own document collections and archives. In times of digitalization and disclosure of national UFO files in more and more countries (overview from the end of 2009), the amount of digitally available material on the internet as well as in private collections keeps increasing. Thus, there is a growing demand for enabling and supporting UFO research by a suitable management of data, information, and knowledge. This applies to discoverableness, searchability, consistency, conservation, protection and security of data, documents, and material that is relevant for scientific issues regarding UFOs.
Throughout the world, several organizations and researchers devote time to tasks concerning archiving and provisioning of UFO-related materials. In particular to be mentioned are the Archives for the Unexplained, resident in Sweden, being the biggest independent foundation for archiving of material related to fringe science phenomena, and being responsible for the preservation of numerous archives of well-known UFO researchers. Established in Texas, USA, the non-profit Anomaly Archives keeps US-american research materials in their library. A long list of further personal and institutional archives and collections can be viewed on the website of the Anomaly Archives.
Special contributions towards digitalization, searchability and conservation of numerous publication and materials have been made by Isaac Koi (UK) , Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos (Spain) , Mikhail Gershtein (Russia), and Igor Kalytyuk (Ukraine).
Considering the amount, multilingualism, and the requirements to conservation of UFO-related materials, a worldwide central archive does not seem sufficient, neither do independent collections without reference to one another. Researchers with scientific problems related to existing material pose the question: Where can I find the information that I need? For this reason, the German-speaking UFO organizations in the German Cooperation Initiative UFO Research work together to establish a Common Archive for Documents and Material Concerning UFOs and Fringe Sciences.
Its aim is a safe long-term archiving of materials related to UFOs and fringe sciences. These materials include national and international publications, questionnaires, case files, investigation reports, correspondences, newspaper articles, magazines, books, documents, photos, audio and video recordings, etc.
Digital versions of paper-based materials and of analog photos, video and audio recordings are created, and digital material will be saved as printouts. The archive prioritizes material in German, to secure publications and private archives from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and to include files and documents of the UFO organizations from the cooperation initiative. Concerning international material, a cooperation with other archives from around the world is planned, for example, in the form of an international exchange of publications.
Material which includes personal data is subject to the German privacy law. Therefore, historical case files will be archived in anonymized form, unless the persons concerned have agreed to a publication of their names, or have gone to the public themselves.
In order to achieve a transparent and sustainable archiving, the development of standardized methods of storage and metadata creation is planned, which can be published themselves later. Here again, international cooperation would be necessary.
Website of the Common Archive for Documents and Material Concerning UFOs and Fringe Sciences: http://www.uap-archive.org/
Facebook Page of the Common Archive: https://www.facebook.com/Archiv-für-Fachveröffentl-zu-ungewöhnlichen-Himmelsphänomenen-GreWi-482989621742727/