Blogpost #2: Digital Archives

Digital History is a difficult subject to discuss. It is fairly interesting, what is also interesting and quite surpasses Digital History is the aspect of digital archives. Digital archives, while amazing resources, still have limitations. The archives have improved the speed at which historians are able to obtain data. In addition to this, they have broadened the availability of these documents to people all over the world who may not have had the opportunity to view them previously. One particular online archive is the archive of the Darwin Correspondence Project. This archive has the ability for worldwide access, as long as the researcher has an internet connection, it is assembled of letters that were written by Darwin until the year 1872, and it was assembled by the University of Cambridge.

What makes this digital archive challenging however is the fact that one only has access to information about Darwin. Some of the best research has happened by accident and this database is forcing the researcher to stay within the realm of Darwin. While there is a plethora of knowledge on this digital archive, it is surrounding Darwin. If one was looking for another topic, this database may not be right for them but it is always a good place to start. This archive also highly provides information of high value for historians. Being that it is on one topic, it makes it difficult to stray from this topic if one was doing research primarily on Darwin.

The site of Ancestry is vastly different in the sense that it based off of subscription whereas other sites are not. Ancestry does contain the contents of these other sites and just puts them all together in one area. I would much rather do my own research and form my own opinion. Above all, if not to have the satisfaction of doing the research alone, I am cheap when it comes to subscriptions and I have the means to do the research alone anyways.

Both of these digital archives have a plethora of knowledge to share, it just simply depends on what the researcher is looking for. Digital Archives are an amazing resource for today’s historians, because they take a lot of the physical work out of doing research and it is exciting to think of what is yet to come.


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