Date: September 21, 2012
Creator: Nylander, Elisabeth Mueller
Description: This presentation discusses digital archives and looks at the history community's presence in digital archives. The purpose of digitizing cultural heritage collections is often presented in terms of preservation or distribution. Concerns center around how to best ensure the sustainability of materials or how to enable user interactivity. However, especially within the field of history, there is a push to think in terms of how to create community through the narratives the authors produce. The authors orientation is shifting from author-centered to reader-centered, and how the authors construct knowledge is becoming increasingly social and democratic. This can be explained as part of a greater cultural shift where, "until recently, public memory was constructed and disseminated for the people but not by the people." This presentation explores such issues through the examination of three digital archives: 1) The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War site (http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/). 2) The Virtual Vietnam Archive (http://911digitalarchive.org). After a brief description of each project, a critique is provided covering the four aspects of: motives, preservation, interactivity and barriers. While all three digital archives place a focus on personal narratives and deal with the complexities of conflict intimately, none of the projects ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries