Digital archives have become a gateway for us to delve into the past. Just by clicking a single browse button on http://911digitalarchive.org/ we are able to “explore the collection for stories, images, emails, documents, sounds, and videos of September 11”. The very fact that we are able to research with the click of a button over a screen in our living room is astonishing. A decade ago, even investigators who need solid evidence of the horrific accident would have to physically go to the crash site, go to the library and pull up archives of what happened that day and of course video may not have been available online like it is today.

 

The digital archives are not just a means of easy accessibility; they are a method of preservation. Physical evidence often fades, and now matter how advanced our science has become over the years, one cannot truly say that physical evidence will perfectly stay in tact forever. In this digital age we live in, documents being available online is something that is of great convenience, not only to scholars and students, but to all those who wish to learn about world events or natural disasters. Lets take for example the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. The site uses electronic media to record and film natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina and Rita. The beautiful thing about this site is how this electronic information is attained. Just as we are learning in class right now, “the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank contributes to the ongoing effort by historians and archivists to preserve the record of these storms by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts”. These methods are prime examples of information that we’ve been studying and will be studying in class, being used first hand in the world of digital history.

 

Another intriguing fact of digital archives it’s recordings of the present to show future generations of historical events that are happening right now in our world. The occupy archive website gives us a first hand look into the “occupy wall street” movement. The site posts photos and short videos of eyewitness events. In many ways, this site can be said to be a site of the people, the very people who are occupying wall street and suffering due to the American economic crisis. No longer are historical archives made for intellectuals, but made for our every day regular citizens who wish to broaden their knowledge on what is happening around the world. This may lead some to say that it leaves room for digital history to be toyed with, as we read in the “How the Professor Who Fooled Wikipedia Got Caught by Reddit,” article. As discussed in our tutorial today, this is a debate can be beaten over and over again but the results of history becoming available online will not be know for the next decade of so due to the fact that it is in it’s early stages right now. One thing is for certain and it’s that the digital revolution is certainly under way. 

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