Blog Post #2. Archives

When looking at the archives listed, it is clear that there are a wide variety of archival sites which, while serving the overall same purpose, go about sorting and displaying their archived information in very different ways. With the exception of one site, Ancestry.ca, all of these archival websites are free to use and open to the general public. While some of the archives are catered toward historical researchers who have an expert knowledge in a specific field, there are others who through the use of visuals, easy to navigate database systems, and easily presentable online exhibits, work to present their information to the general public or those with little to no prior historical research experience.

ancestry.ca

As mentioned earlier, Ancestry.ca is a pay to use site that is intended to allow the user to trace their family tree and discover relatives who they otherwise would have never known about. For the low low price of $14.99, users gain access to a variety of research tools and access to names, birth dates, and family histories through the Mormon Genealogy Archive. Rather than providing the user with a large quantity of information to sift through, ancestry.ca works more in the sense of an aggregator site which provides the tools to sift through large amounts of information but that information is far more broad and difficult to find than in other sites.

medici archive

The Medici archive project chronicles more than 4 million letters written over the span of 200 years from 1537 to 1743. My first impression of the site was that it was unorganized and that the cluster of pictures all crammed together on the main page was messy and confusing. This opinion of the website changed after going through the different sections of the site and using its search engine to look up more specific information and letters of a specific topic. I began to find that Medici.org was very easy to navigate and was good at displaying their information on the individual pages, unlike the messy looking homepage.

darwin computer

The Darwin Project organizes and sorts 8,500 letters written by Charles Darwin and more than 15,000 letters total. I found that this was by far the easiest site to navigate and it was easily my favourite one to use. The pages are not clustered in the way that they were with the Medici site and the use of visuals provided and overall stimulating experience which is accessible not only to professional researchers studying Darwin, but also to amature historians, teachers, and students.

Between these three sites I would have to say that The Darwin Project is the most well organized, well thought out, and easily accessible in the group. The Medici project, while useful and informative could use some work in the organization and display of their information. Ancestry.ca comes in last for me due to its expensive subscription fees, unclear information as to what you are specifically getting with these payments, and overall broadness of information.

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