Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Abstract

This article focuses on the creation and subsequent development of the September 11 Digital Archive (www.911digitalarchive.org), currently one of the largest digital repositories of historical materials on the September 11 attacks. The article reflects on archival and methodological questions and on issues raised by the efforts of staff members at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University and at the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning (ASHP) at the City University of New York Graduate Center to preserve and present via the Internet digital resources related to the epochal events of a decade ago. The authors, two of the project's three executive producers (the third being the late Roy Rosenzweig), discuss various collecting and organizational issues involved in building a digital archive. They also discuss the effort to balance the development and deployment of an open and accessible Web interface for individual online submissions of digital materials with targeted outreach to and solicitation of contributions from members of underrepresented communities, including the Arab, Chinese, and Latino communities. The article proposes that historians must also function as archivists and preservationists in an era of fragile and ephemeral digital communications.

 
 

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