Blog Post

Ten Interesting Archives Online

Ten Interesting Archives Online

Now that we have concluded all the introductory webinars to the Digital Collections project, it is time for me to post a blog entry kicking off our work in this group together.

All of you have such amazing ideas for projects that you would like to work on, that it almost seems a little redundant, but I thought that I would share with you some of my favorite websites of archives or other digital archive-related projects.

Let’s keep up the conversation here on HASTAC and via Twitter and the hashtag #digitalcollections!

#1 - Emily Dickinson Archive

The Emily Dickinson Archive is a beautiful website where you can not only browse through hi-res images of all of Dickinson’s manuscripts in the open access (across multiple libraries and collections). You can also search, under "Lexicon" for specific words and variants (9,275) that have been used in her collected poems. Truly an impressive and thought-inspiring gem of a digital collection!

#2 - Performing Archive: Curtis + "the vanishing race"

Performing Archive contains 2,500 items related to Edward S. Curtis, an early 20th century photographer, and his both ethnographic work and his photographies are collected together with teaching resources to teach Curtis’ work in relation to questions of indignity. Notably, this website is built on Scalar, a free open-source platform I will discuss in my next post in this group, where I want to discuss different tools for creating online archives!

#3 - Ensemble

I have been working on collecting an archive of digital humanities projects in the field of theatre and performing arts — a project I will keep working on within the parameters of Digital Collections myself. Ensemble might be one of the neatest websites I have come across in that project. Not only is it a great archive of playbills from Broadway productions through the years. It is also a crowdsourced way of digitizing the information on those playbills. The New York Public Library, who created the site, is asking its users to contribute to the continuously growing database of texts in the pictures. Many of you have described projects that involve crowdsourcing in one way or another, and Ensemble might be a good source of inspiration!

#4 - The Arapesh Grammar and Digital Language Archive

Almost all of the websites on this list contains material related to the artistic side of the humanities. But the Arapesh Grammar and Digital Language website is an example of a different kind of archive, which is trying to preserve the endangered Arapesh language group, especially interesting to many linguists because of its grammatical structure. Most of the texts are not open to the public, out of respect for the privacy of the Arapesh speakers, but you can read and listen to some sample texts, and you can also see some maps, field notebooks, and image galleries on the website. Most of the people who spoke Arapesh are now dead, and this UV linguist attempts to save the language with the help of a digital archive.

#5 - Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory website has, as its goal, to collect, digitize, and make accessible, all the archival documents related to Nelson Mandela’s life. It is a work in progress, that is curated around certain themes that scroll by on the beautiful first page. The multimedia website sometimes feels like walking around at a well-curated museum but at the comfort of your own home or office.

#6 - Sydney Film Festival Archive

The Sydney Film Festival has worked on creating a beautiful ongoing archival website, which focuses on each year’s specific festival, complete with contexts for each of them, which films were shown, stories about it, photos, videos, and audio clips related to them. Another inspiring example on how to curate online content in an beautiful, yet accessible way.

#7 - ACT UP Oral History Project

While the design might not be the thing to focus on, when visiting the ACT UP Oral History Project website, it contains plenty of great resources for anyone interested in AIDS activism through the years, specifically in relation to activist organization ACT UP. Click "Interviews" and watch videos of interviews with the activists engaged in the fight through the years, a fight that is still going on!

#8 - Documenting Ferguson

Following the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, some librarians, faculty, and administrators at Washington University in St. Louis decided to create a digital archive seeking to preserve and make accessible content focusing on the events and experiences that transpired after that August day in 2014.

#9 - British Pathé Archives

Pathé is one of the oldest media companies in the world. Their founder was one of the pioneers of early film, and when he stopped producing the cinema newsreel in 1970, the archives contained 3,500 hours of filmed history. Much of this material is being used today as "stock footage" in everything from television, to advertisement, and on the Internet. The site gives you some really neat previews of this archival material. One of my personal favorites is the gallery with Her Majesty the Queen’s hats.

#10 - Around DH in 80 Days

Not really about archives, but an archival project in itself - of different digital humanities projects around the world. It’s a very inspirational website that I only recently learned about. Every day, starting with the initial launch of the website, the creators posted one new project, and geotagged it on their map of digital humanities projects. Now, the website is an archive of eighty different projects, communities, tools, and kinds of work that people in the DH community are working on.

What are some of your favorite websites with or about archives online?

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8 comments

Great information here, and very much appreciate all of the ideas/work done! We are working on creating a digital repository of musical content in an online digital archive of some type in collaboration with the Country Music Hall of Fame here in Nashville. We've struggled with quite a few things including copyright issues so it is great to see many of the links here. Looking forward to continuing all these conversations.  

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Thank you, Lauren! Yes, I had totally forgotten about adding the DPLA's website! It is truly a great resource. Did you also know that they have a plugin for Wordpress that automatically displays things from their databases related to your blog posts? You can find more information about it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-dpla/!

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I am so happy to hear that your project is going forward, Connie, and I, too, am looking forward to read about the progress of other participants' projects in this group!

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Thanks Lauren for that information. I will have to visit this holiday. Good luck in getting your archive up and running. 

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Here is an archive that I've created with Izzy To: digitalmanifesto.omeka.net.

We plan on moving it to a new site in the next few weeks.

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Great list and write-up here and very exciting project you all are working on! I hope digital archives continue to increase greater access to more work.

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I’d like to add my excitement for this initiative. I’m traveling now, but I plan to get my own digital archive (based on my personal collection of vintage educational technologies) up and running over the holiday break and I look forward to sharing it with you.

For now, I’d like to add this resource to the list Kalle has started: http://dp.la

The Digital Public Library of America is constructed as a “portal” to a number of different archives in the U.S. It collects digitized materials from universities, libraries, and other organizations and is a kind of clearinghouse for researchers. There is SO much here and the project’s mission—to collect and publicize the many important, but often isolated, collections— is commendable.

They also have a very active Twitter: http://twitter.com/dpla

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After giving a great talk about our webinar in class a couple of weeks ago, my excitement inspired my mentor to help me seek some ways to find funding to begin to digitize all the letters I have so far. {Since talking to those in our webinar group, I've gotten two new collections in, so my data base is growing.} :) 

Clemson is really seeking to establish a Digital Humanities PhD. I hope that this happens, because if it does, the Letters in War project might be the first of its type in the new program. But, as I have said in my blog, I've got the idea in my head how I want to create the archive, just not the expertise. 

I would love to hear about project progress from some of the others in our group. I think this is so exciting. 

Connie

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