Digital Archive Project
The digital archive project is Great Leap's effort to make history available online. It was instigated by Great Leap's Board of Directors, who wanted to use the 2018 40th anniversary year as an opportunity to look back as well as forward.
The idea of making Great Leap archival materials available online has its roots in the organization's first website. Great Leap's Managing Director Jenni Kuida took it upon herself to manually upload as much information she could regarding performances, artists, and activities. She noted that as the online documentation of Great Leap's activities across the country grew, so did interest in access to it. She reported regular inquiries from researchers and scholars who considered the website a source of information on Asian American performing arts culture. When Jenni stepped down from her Great Leap role in 2004, her work curating the online archive was not continued.
In 2015, the Great Leap board of directors held a strategic planning session and in that session Artistic Director Nobuko Miyamoto identified the archiving of Great Leap's videos and photos to be of significant importance. Eugene Ahn, who had helped Great Leap create its websites and who by 2015 was serving as a member of the board, was identified as a resource to help in the planning and supervision of this archiving task. Eugene recommended to the board that archiving efforts should also include some component of making materials available online, because past use of the website already demonstrated an online archive performed a valuable service to the community.
In 2016, Nobuko contacted scholar Deborah Wong to advise on the concept of forming an online digital archive.
By the end of 2017, a working group had formed to formally launch Great Leap's online archive project and organize a series of events celebrating the history and stories being made newly accessible by those efforts.
A working group that began work in 2017 included the following people:
Formally, Great Leap's efforts to produce and maintain a digital archive became known as the Great Leap Online Archive. An advisory committee was formed to guide the efforts.