Online Archives

As the use of digital media to create online archival spaces increases, it is interesting to note some of the themes that are being dealt with. While an overarching theme of memory and remembering is apparent, here are a few unrelated examples that use ‘archive’ in very different ways.

Alaska’s Digital Archives presents “a wealth of historical photographs, albums, oral histories, moving images, maps, documents, physical objects,  and other materials from libraries, museums and archives throughout our state.” While the archive aims to document the social history of the state of Alaska, there is also a section on “Alaskan Native History and Cultures Page“. This suggests some form of cultural recognition or restitution for the state’s original, “native” population.

The September 11 Digital Archive uses “electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath.” The archive is a collection of digital items that deal with a traumatic experience. It allows for public contributions to an ongoing archive that promotes a collective, online catharsis for those affected by the 911 bombings.

The Simpsons Archive is “the Internet’s clearing house of Simpsons guides, news, and information, voluntarily maintained by members of and other fans around the world.” While it may seem odd to create an archive around a television series, the Simpsons is a seminal animated sitcom that deals with American culture, society, television and many aspects of the human condition. One might suggest that contributors to the archive see it as a form of nostalgia, as they recount old episodes, characters and little know facts about a series that they could relate to growing up.

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