AO3 News

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2013-10-02 15:27:39 -0400

Sometimes fanworks vanish from the Web when they weren't intended to. Hosting services shut down; software becomes obsolete; archivists pass away or simply find that they no longer have the time or money to keep up their sites. Any of these occurrences can result in the loss of thousands of fanworks. The OTW's Open Doors project is a resource to help fans prevent such losses.

Open Doors works with fannish archivists to import fanworks from endangered archives into the Archive of Our Own. Approximately 11,600 works have been imported to date. Some archives can be imported automatically, but in most cases the Open Doors staff assist archive mods to manually import their archives into the the AO3. Manual importing involves creating an AO3 collection for the archive, contacting as many fanwork creators as possible, and then importing the works and editing them to indicate their original creators. These archives can be large or small — we’ve worked with designated archivists to import small collections of works of deceased fans, and we've worked with archives containing over 5,000 works. The process of manual importing can be time-consuming, but we think it’s worth it!

Open Doors has completed imports for three archives so far. The Foresmutters Project, an archive of early Star Trek slash that is also mirrored on OTW servers, has been migrated to a forever home on the AO3 where it is more accessible. The Smallville Slash Archive and 852 Prospect, an archive for The Sentinel fanfiction, have been imported as well. We also imported Kista and Demeter, two early Star Trek novels, which were first hosted on OTW servers as scanned PDFs. This involved using optical character recognition to turn the PDFs into editable text and then, in the case of Demeter, painstakingly comparing the results to a print copy of the original 304-page zine to correct any errors in the electronic copy.

Imports currently in progress include The Good Omens Library; GSSU - German Speaking Slashers United; the Dannell Lites Collection, a memorial archive consisting chiefly of DC and Marvel comics fanfiction; the Leah Adezio Archive, a memorial archive consisting chiefly of DC Comics fanfiction and fanart, and original comics; and Stargatefan, an archive of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis gen fanfiction and fanart.

We also have several archives stored as backups in case of failing hardware, software, and/or hosting issues, and are working with the mods to manually import them or to keep them safe until automated import code is available.

To inquire about preserving an archive, please contact the Open Doors committee. And to support our ongoing preservation efforts, please donate to the OTW today! Your support will help to ensure that the fanworks you love will be around for future generations of fans to enjoy.

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.


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2013-04-09 11:20:07 -0400

Today is the final day of the OTW's April 2013 membership drive, and we're thrilled to announce that it's already a record-breaking success!

Since April 3, the first day of the drive, we've received more than 1,879 donations totaling more than US$48,508. That blows the record from the April 2012 drive (when we received 1,276 donations totaling US$38,379.50) out of the water.

We're immensely grateful to everyone who has supported the drive so far. Thank you for sharing testimonials, reblogging and retweeting, and, of course, for your generous donations. This success is thanks to you.

If you haven't participated in the drive yet, there's still time to show your support! The drive will continue through the end of the day on April 9 so please donate today to be part of the drive. However, if this time isn't a good one for you financially, you can also donate throughout the year to keep the OTW and its projects thriving into the future.

Fandom Is Love: Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 3-9

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2013-04-05 12:19:07 -0400

The Archive of Our Own is growing rapidly! We now have over 145,000 registered users, and about 275,000 unique visitors a day. All these visitors rack up roughly 4.3 million pageviews a day (that's almost 3,000 a minute on average). It cost more than US$52,000 to keep the Archive up and running in 2012. Our costs will only increase as the Archive continues to grow, and we anticipate spending at least US$70,000 in 2013.

The Archive is funded entirely by donations to the Organization for Transformative Works. As part of the OTW's membership drive, we'd like to share some details of what we have to pay for and how much it all costs.


The Archive of Our Own is hosted entirely on servers which are owned by the Organization for Transformative Works. This is a key part of our mission: fanworks often disappear from the internet because a site goes down without warning, or because a takedown notice is issued and site owners are unable or unwilling to resist it. By owning the servers, we ensure we're in a position to protect fanworks and keep them available.

Servers are a one-off cost, although over time they have to be replaced or added to. Over the lifetime of the Archive, we've spent US$58,099 in total on hardware. This was spread over several years:


When we launched the Archive in 2009, we started with two servers with upgraded RAM, which cost a total of US$8,165 (including shipping).


In 2011, we expanded our server family substantially, adding four more servers and a switch. The total cost for the new hardware was US$17,234.


By the end of 2012, the extremely rapid growth of the Archive meant that we needed to add more new servers. After some extensive research by our Systems team we settled on three new machines, at a cost of US$28,200. In the same year we upgraded our existing machines by adding some solid state discs — a cost of US$1,650 — and upgrading the RAM — this cost approximately US$2,200.

The size of the Archive codebase and the number of volunteer coders we have working on it meant that in 2012, we also needed to upgrade our testing and development environments. These are used to host web-based coding environments so that our volunteers don't require very high performance computers to code on, and a test environment where our testers can test the new code before it goes onto the live site. We were lucky enough to have these machines donated, so we didn't have to pay up front for them, but we bought a hardware-based firewall for these servers at a cost of US$670.

Our total cost for hardware was US$32,720.

Colocation and hosting costs

The servers themselves are only a small part of the cost of running the site. We also have to pay for them to be physically hosted in a colocation facility: we rent the space for them and pay for electricity, bandwidth, and the physical maintenance of the machines (so if we need to add a new disc, for example, our colocation hosts do it for us). We also pay for a managed firewall at one of our colocation hosts.

Our hosting costs are US$1,365 per month, which breaks down as follows:

Hosting costs: US$1,315 per month
Managed firewall: US$50 per month

Additional tech costs

In addition to paying for hardware and hosting, there are a few other ongoing costs in keeping the Archive up and running. We pay a licence for a product which enables us monitor activity on our servers and to identify performance problems. This cost us US$1,400 in 2012 for June-December and will cost an estimated US$3,500 in 2013. (The cost goes up as we add more machines.)

We pay for backups and image hosting (only used for icons and collection header images). This costs an average of US$65 per month. In 2012, we also paid US$835 for cloud hosting to do some enhanced testing of the Archive code, prior to launching our new tag filters.

We currently pay to use a hosted ticket system for our Support and Abuse teams, which is used to keep track of queries from users. This costs US$180 annually.

And the rest

The above costs don't include smaller sundries such as the cost of our volunteer chatrooms, mailing lists, or other volunteer tools. The Archive is a project of the Organization for Transformative Works, so these costs are rolled into the OTW's overall expenses and it's not really possible to break them out as individual Archive costs.

Finally, there's one big cost which isn't included above: volunteer time. The Archive is entirely designed, coded, tested, and run by volunteers, who give many hours of their time to develop the site, support users, wrangle tags, and manage the servers. Their work is priceless. <3

Support the Archive!

As you can see from the above, it costs a lot of money to keep the Archive up and running. These costs will increase in years to come as more users join the site, and we expand the types of things we host (multimedia hosting is still very much part of our plans). In the next year, we expect our expenses to grow by nearly 50 percent, to a minimum of US$70,000, and you can help get us there.

The Archive is entirely funded by donations to the Organization for Transformative Works: we don't run ads on the site or charge people to use it. If you enjoy using the Archive and have a little money to spare, please donate to the OTW to help keep us thriving! A donation of US$10 confers membership in the OTW and the right to vote in organizational elections. At higher donation levels there are some awesome thank-you gifts to choose from, like our AO3 Kudos Water Bottle at the US$75 level.

Thank you to all our donors, past, present and future! We appreciate your support!


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2013-04-03 11:56:53 -0400

Why do you participate in fandom?

For many of us, the answer to that question is love — love of a favorite TV show, video game, or band; love of fannish communities and the friends we make there; or love of the creative process involved in transforming canon to create something new. Fans put in long hours making and consuming fanworks, traveling to conventions, moderating communities, and chatting about their latest fannish passions — not out of obligation, not for pay, but because it brings us joy.

Like so many other fannish endeavors, the Organization for Transformative Works is a labor of love. We’re a nonprofit organization run entirely by fans, for fans, which relies on the generous support of donors and volunteers. During our membership drive from now through April 9, we invite you to become an OTW member by making a donation of US$10 or more. Your donation will help to sustain Fanlore, the Archive of Our Own, Transformative Works and Cultures, Open Doors, and our legal advocacy work. If you donate US$50 or more, you can opt to receive a thank-you gift to proudly show off your support.

Donations to OTW are tax deductible in the United States. If you have questions about donating, please visit our membership FAQ (located at the bottom of the donation page) or contact the Development & Membership committee.

The OTW and its projects depend on the support of fans like you. Be a part of this ongoing labor of love — please donate today.

Fandom Is Love: Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 3-9

<div style="text-align:center"><a href=""><img src="" alt="Fandom Is Love: Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 3-9" /></a></div>

Help share the love! Please repost this graphic by copying the code from the text box and pasting it into your blog or website.

Mirrored from an original post on the OTW blog. Find related news by viewing our tag cloud.


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2012-10-16 08:48:11 -0400

You may have seen the banner on the site this week asking for donations: our parent organization (The Organization for Transformative Works) holds membership drives twice a year, and the money raised is what pays for AO3's hardware, hosting, and maintenance costs. We don't have paid accounts or advertising, so donations from regular users are what keeps the site running and allows us to expand.

If you enjoy using AO3 and you're able to help support us, please donate today!

OTW: 5 Transformative Years

OTW Membership Drive
October 13-17, 2012

A few common questions:

What is the Organization for Transformative Works and how is it related to the Archive of Our Own?

The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) is a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of fans by providing access to and preserving the history of fanworks and fan culture in its myriad forms. It's the parent organization that runs AO3 and several other fan-oriented projects.

What do you spend donation money on?

Neither OTW nor AO3 has paid employees or offices - all of the work of building and maintaining AO3 is done by volunteers like you. OTW funds and supports other wonderful projects as well (legal advocacy for fans! a fan wiki! an academic journal!) but because of the scale of the Archive, its hosting and hardware costs do make up a good chunk of the organization's expenses each year.

If you're interested in more detailed information, you can find an expense breakdown in our annual report.

Can I get an Archive invitation if I donate?

No, sorry! For privacy reasons, donations and organization memberships are entirely separate from AO3 user accounts and invitations. It's free for everyone to use the Archive, and invitations are granted by our automated queue in the order that requests come in. There may be some indirect benefits to donating: how much funding we have determines how much we're able to expand our systems, which affects the rate at which we can send out invitations. But it's not possible to directly purchase an account.


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2012-04-26 17:11:14 -0400

Dear friends of the OTW,

Thank you. Your generosity over the last eight days has made this the most successful membership drive in OTW history.

Between April 18 and 25, we received 1,256 individual donations totaling US$35,744 — numbers that will grow once we've had a chance to count the donations sent via postal mail. On top of that, you successfully secured for us a $2,000 matching grant from our anonymous donor, bringing the current grand total for the drive to $37,744. And on top of that, more than 120 people have come forward to offer their time, energy, and skill as OTW volunteers (and 150 more have joined a waiting list).

These numbers are astounding, and they're all thanks to you. We are tremendously grateful to each and every one of you who donated, volunteered, or helped spread the word to make this drive such an enormous success.

Thank you, too, to all the OTW staffers and volunteers who supported the drive by writing and betaing posts, responding to donor inquiries, designing graphics, sending e-mail blasts, mitigating server traffic, monitoring donation receipts, contacting new volunteers, and myriad other tasks. This was truly an organization-wide effort.

Although this membership drive is over, it's never too late to contribute to the ongoing work of the OTW. In addition, our OTW Community Survey remains open through May 2 and is a great way for you to share your feedback with us. We also encourage you to check out our Strategic Planning Roadmap to learn about how we're working to enhance the long-term success and sustainability of the OTW and its projects.

Like all fan creations, the OTW relies on fans for its existence — and in the last eight days, your support has been inspiring. Because of your generosity, the OTW's efforts to preserve fanworks and fannish history, advocate for fans' legal rights, and promote positive representations of fans in academic and mainstream media discourse will continue to thrive.

On behalf of everyone at the OTW, we thank you.

Aja, Alex, Anna, Kat, Kristen, Lesann, and Liz
OTW Development & Membership Committee


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2012-04-18 09:28:54 -0400

Fanworks come in many different forms — audible, visual, textual, tactile, and even edible — but they have something in common: they would not exist without the passion, creativity, and effort of the fans who produce them.

The AO3's parent Organization for Transformative Works is a fanwork, too — a nonprofit organization created by fans, for fans, which runs on generously donated time, money, and imagination. Through our projects, we preserve fanworks and fannish history, advocate for fans' legal rights, and strive to ensure that fannish voices are included in the growing public conversation about fandom.

During our membership drive from now through April 25, we'll be highlighting each of our projects and inviting you to lend a hand in this ongoing labor of love. If you create or enjoy fanworks; if you use Fanlore or the Archive of Our Own; if you read Transformative Works and Cultures; if you want to help rescue at-risk fanworks from destruction and defend fans' rights to create and share them; then please donate. Volunteer. Tell a friend.

Your donation is tax-deductible in the United States. If you have questions about donating, check out our membership FAQ or drop us a line.

Like all fanworks, the OTW depends on fans for its existence. Be a part of this ongoing creative endeavor — please donate today.

OTW: By Fans, For Fans. Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 18-25, 2012.
<div style="text-align:center"><a href=""><img src="" alt="OTW: By Fans, For Fans. Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive, April 18-25, 2012." /></a></div>

Help us spread the word! Feel free to repost this graphic by copying the text below the image and pasting it into your journal or website.


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2011-10-16 13:28:18 -0400

Today is the last day of the OTW's membership drive! Donate now to ensure you have voting rights in the forthcoming Board election!

Donations to the OTW help to support the Archive of Our Own - and given the rapid expansion of the site, we certainly need support! We bought our first set of servers in September 2009, expecting these two servers to last us for three years. By the middle of 2010, however, it was evident that the site was expanding much faster than we had ever dared to hope - on 20 August 2010 we hit 100,000 works on the Archive - and we started planning for more servers. We bought four new servers and a switch in January 2011, massively improving our site capacity. However, fandom seemed to take this as a challenge, and at the time of writing the AO3 has:

  • 23,528 users

  • 232,357 works

  • 7,449 fandoms

We add approximately 300 new users every week, and the fact that our invitations queue now stands at over 1800 shows that there's a lot more demand beyond that! We're already thinking about what we need to do for futher site expansion - more servers are definitely going to be needed, as well as some structural/database changes which need some careful thought.

We have added a bunch of great new features this year, including subscriptions, prompt memes, tag sets (coming in our next deploy), and a whole host of enhancements across the site. We're still working on more subscriptons, improved bookmarking features, fanart hosting and support for vids (in collaboration with the OTW's Vidding committee).

All of this amazing stuff is only possible because of YOUR support! Donate to the OTW now and help ensure the AO3 continues to thrive!

OTW logo: red circle with an arrow. Text reads: Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive October 9-16, 2011

<a href=""><img src="" alt="OTW logo: red circle with an arrow. Text reads: Organization for Transformative Works Membership Drive October 9-16, 2011" /></a>


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