Digital Archives Analysis

The digital archives that were assigned to look at in class encompass a wide array of different topics. Each with their own set of limitations as well as benefits. Before getting into what the limitations and benefits it is important to understand what a digital archive is. An archive is a collection of pictures, primary sources and a large number of academic documents that are typically arranged and organized in a manner to display a specific idea or theme about a single topic. A digital archive is exactly that but is offered in an online platform.

Each of these documents offers something different. The archive on German history is very well organized and broken down into different time periods of German history. It contains mainly primary sources, which are broken down further into pictures, documents and maps. Each of these sources is accompanied by a caption of writing that is typically a paragraph or two.  I found that of the archives given the German history archive was the easiest to navigate and had the most easily accessible “useful” information.  If writing an essay on any point of time in German history this archive would become very useful.

All of these archives have their own limitations and benefits though. The first benefit is that all of these archives have a plethora of information organized for one topic on an online platform. For a historian this is very useful because it does not involve going to a bunch of webpages to find bits and pieces of information that can otherwise have been found on the well organized digital archive. The second benefit of these digital archives is that they are available at the touch of a couple of buttons.keyboard To get access to other archives involves travelling to the places that the history is about or the places that the historian did their research. This is truly valuable as I can gather enough information for a project on The Medici family from my own home rather than travelling to Florence because as much as I would like to I cannot. I mean we could do a class trip look at how beautiful it is.florence.jpg The third benefit is that excluding Ancestry.com all of these archives are absolutely free. Any human can appreciate a good deal and having an abundance of information at your fingertips for something that is essentially free is beneficial. money swag cash make it rain buy GIF Again, it beats the cost of travel and time that it would take to get to places. The fourth benefit is that these pages can be quick searched. Having the ability to type in a key phrase or word to gather information in a more efficient manner is helpful to every single historian cutting down time to do research.

There does happen to be limitations. First, just like other archives some of the digital archives have a mass of information that is difficult to navigate. The massiveness of the digital archives like The Medici archive is a deterrent to using this platform. The second limitation is for sites like the German History archive that uses pictures, you cannot feel or touch the picture. You can’t see what it was painted on or printed on which does not allow for the historian to fully grasp the history. The final limitation is that ancestry.ca is not free. Access to that archive costs hard=earned money and this is a dangerous thing for all historians. Historians should be pushing for things to become accessible and more available to the public not charging for them. If it continues on that archives push to create a monetary gain from their services this will become an issue and will be a huge limitation to students and the average citizen who will not put monetary resources to historic research and will most likely pick other alternatives to consume their time.

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