Digital Archives!

Some thoughts:

  • I really liked the way Famous Trials was organized. Maybe that home page is a little bit less useful if you’re looking for something specific in an academic context, but I think the arrangement of names and faces in combination with a capacity to filter is a very effective way to draw in an audience. The accounts and further resources on the trials themselves are also very well-organized.
  • I found the site design of Lost & Found to be both visually appealing and effectively reflective of the site’s content. This is also the first online archive I’ve seen where you have to pay for content. I guess it makes sense that they exist anymore, but it’s worth noting that this seems rare. Also, I’m curious about the themes around which the ‘series’ are grouped around.
  • Searching for Residential Schools is a very effectively presented project. With how the parts of it transition to one another, though, it doesn’t necessarily read like an archive in the way the other examples do. This isn’t necessarily a critique, but I am curious about what specifically categorizes it as one.
  • The American Archive of Public Broadcasting is nothing if not incredibly impressive with regards to the sheer mass of information it collects and the topics it sorts them into, and the amount of collected effort it must have taken. I’m not sure how I feel about the organization of the front page, but I do like that it gives multiple openings as to where to begin with the wealth of information the archive offers.
  • The general design and structure of the September Eleventh Digital Archive was also impressive. The information seems to be organized effectively, and this archive sets itself apart interestingly in terms of its capacity to let users contribute to it.

That factor actually makes me think of whether that’d be possible to factor in for the Farmer Project somehow – if we do go through with doing alumni interviews, and if that generation of UMW alumni ends up being part of our intended audience, it could be cool to give them the options to contribute their own experiences. That’s a very hypothetical situation, but it is a thought that I thought was worth putting down.

Also, speaking of digital archives: this one is not on the list, but the other day I extensively used the Chilean National Library’s archive for a project and was keeping our class in mind! I really loved this site, and if I navigated it effectively even with my rusty Spanish, the organization has got to be pretty good.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree that the 9/11 Archive was incredibly impressive with the amount of content it contained. Between the 9/11 Archive and Famous Trials, you can tell a lot of hard-work and passion went into these projects. Having extra resources for the audience like Famous Trials did might also be a good idea for the James Farmer project.

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