A closer look to the new digital libraries and archives that were launched since January, 22. 

The following wordclouds were built with the words that digital archives or libraries used in order to define themselves. They were extracted from  “about” sections, which serve as a kind of introduction or presentation of their digital work and edition. We find it important to read  those statements in order to analyze an archive as a digital scholarly object and, thereby to compare between them: what are the main objectives, the ideas that are backing each project, what are its scholarly affiliations, which concepts do they want to stress (even if they do not notice they are stressing them). Through the wordcloud, we can quickly visualize all this information. This led us to questions relating to many of the topics we discussed in class: from how to define a digital archive to monetary funding. One archive or library was chosen per month.


 Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 6.39.32 PMJ A N U A R Y ]

Powered by Omeka, an open-source project, this is a historical images archive (from photographs, maps, sketches, etc.) that constitute the Basel Mission Archive. It was built by Mission 21  (a group of independent missionary societies), with the help of USC Library. It covers the period between  1550 to 2000 of many different spaces (the collection has a good photographic archive from Africa and Asia) and it presents different topics, as everyday life, education, religious practices, health, etc.

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Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 6.53.23 PMScreen Shot 2013-05-12 at 6.48.54 PM [F E B R U A R Y]

This is an interesting scholarly project on archives, databases and narratives. It is basically an anthology of seven essays published in a nonlinear form using Scalar, a publishing platform that allows scholarly texts to be interactive and multimedia. These texts analyze different kinds of digital “genres”, as electronic literature, multimedia archives, crowdsourced projects, etc.  From Montréal.

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 Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 7.11.35 PM       M A R C H ]

Built by the Wilson Center’s History and Public Policy Program, this is an interesting archive that opens access to documents that were “once-secret documents from governments and organizations all over the world”. The historical documents are, among others, diplomatic cables, high level correspondence, meeting minutes, etc.  and the digital archive supports projects related to the Cold War, North Korea and nuclear history.

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 Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 6.33.40 PM          [ A P R I L ]


The launch of the Digital Public of America was a huge event in digital archivism this year. With partnerships with the Smithsonian, the National Archives, New York Public Library, Harvard University, and the University of Virginia, among others, it represents an important step in digitizing and making accesible a whole country’s cultural heritage. It gets together different archives and libraries (like Library of CongressHathiTrust, and the Internet Archive) and makes them available in one portal.

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– Julia Tomasini


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