3 archives: History on a Modern Platform

The internet has an uncanny ability to express and transfer information at instantaneous speeds and reaches farther than any communication network in the world. This ability to access information as fast as a person can type is an ability that the historical community has looked to take advantage of for almost two decades.

The online archives on the events of September 11th 2001, hurricane Katrina, which touched down in the southern United States in late august 2005, and the occupy wall street movement in 2011 are historical collections of information regarding the specific event that have been preserved digitally in what digital historians are referring to as “digital memory banks”. These digital archives are formal online tools in providing the information regarding a specific historical event. All archives provide an about page as an informative process of information gathering and its dissemination, as well as gatherings of items and collections of materials of personal accounts and witness reports, video evidence of the events and these archives provide additional links to contribute your story about the event. Theses are very significant events that occurred in a modern day and mark the milestone of dissemination of historical information via the world wide web. There are a number of historians and individuals at the forefront of the digital history movement, like our own Dr. Ian Milligan in History 303 at the University of Waterloo, and those at institutions such as the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media who are dedicated to preserving history digitally. These factions work in conjunction with one another in a coordinated effort to preserve historically accurate information on an up-to-date platform such as the internet.

The existing cooperation among federal aid and informative institutions such as the Library of Congress and the American red cross are a fundamental relationship in the dissemination of accurate information to those who search for it. Without the collaboration of several disaster relief and aid organizations researching certain events can have limitations. For the most part these archives save a researcher time when searching for information on an event by providing the majority of the information in one location. This collection of specific information located within one domain name prevents a researcher from having to travel from different sites and different web locations that give regards to the exact same event. Furthermore regarding the more personal accounts of personal witnesses who experienced the event, searching for these bits of information would be a grueling and impossibly tedious task, especially when these bits of information are scattered throughout the web in the form personal blogs that could have potentially limiting characterizations. As well as providing quick and easy access to historical information, the coordination and collaboration of organizations ensures that the information is valid and trustworthy.

These sites rely on personal accounts and contributions that, gathered with and authenticated by several relevant organizations, create an accurate historical archive. However with the ideas of contributions as a vital role in the functionality and authenticity of the archive, it is important to note that these archives do not function like Wikipedia in that inaccurate and or insensitive information is not a right to free speech and can be removed.

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