Digital Archives Discussion

Cohen’s Becoming Digital is an in-depth look into trends of archival acquisition and accessibility in the modern world. The article discusses the many facets of digitization and the role it plays among historians and scholars both past and present. Prior to the development of the internet, research was much more tedious, often requiring expensive travel costs, hours spent with microfilm readers, and lack of access to a wide range of resources. Oftentimes, documents would be illegible and missing parts of the collection that might take a collector years to complete. Today’s digital world has shaped the way research is done, allowing academics to utilize multiple search engines at once. Retrieval services for acquiring books have expanded and e-resources have quadrupled, meaning quicker results but not necessarily accurate ones. Part of being proficient with the internet is knowing how to search using key terms as well as what resources are credible.

After looking at the digital archive websites, I felt the most similar to my group’s was the Hull House and Neighborhoods site. It has a captivating image/pluggin on the homepage which links to a timeline section, historical narrative, and important people page. The other sites had more photography than our page will have, but the ones we do have will be showcased like the Hull House site. Digital archives are the perfect way to present historical information in the New Digital Age. They allow the participant to see history with photographs, interactive plugins, and more depth than if they were strictly reading it from the source. My topic, the Unitarian Church has a long history that I think would benefit greatly from having a digitally archived website. There are already some great sites that exist on the web today that people can explore to learn more about the Unitarian Universalist religion. I think that in the years to come, many more digital archives will surface on the web, which is a great thing!

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