The Internet Archive’s Understanding 9/11 video archive features footage from 20 news outlets spanning the period from the morning of September 11 to September 17, 2001.

Archives of an Attack

September 1, 2021

One explanation for the staying power of these memories is that we witnessed them in real time, on television. New York City–based morning programs like NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America and local news channels broadcast the attacks to the country as they unfolded, giving viewers direct access to the raw tragedy and sensory … Continue reading Archives of an Attack


Photo of Dispatches author Jarrod Bogucki

Head in the Cloud?

September 1, 2021

As access remains limited and fewer staffers work onsite than before the pandemic, launching a digital repository via traditional, onsite hardware may be impractical or even impossible. Our world may be opening up again, but trends such as remote working and online education are likely to continue. To host cultural resource collections in a remote … Continue reading Head in the Cloud?


Accessible not just discoverable; Lauren Geiger and Emily D. Harrison

Planning for Accessibility

June 27, 2021

Harrison and Lauren Geiger, metadata librarian at MSU Libraries, shared their experiences in improving accessibility in the university’s digital archives and special collections at the on-demand session “Accessible, Not Just Discoverable: Ensuring Accessibility in Digital Collections,” part of the American Library Association’s 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibition Virtual. Users encounter the four principles of accessibility … Continue reading Planning for Accessibility


Dispatches with Erin Baucom

Recipe for Success

June 1, 2021

Digital preservation is a relatively young field. And as a result, it lacks established pathways and processes. What’s more, guidance for practitioners has been purposefully written from a high-level perspective to allow for flexibility by different types and sizes of institutions. But to translate lofty digital preservation theory into on-the-ground practice, we need workflow documents … Continue reading Recipe for Success


Portrait of Dispatches author Monika Glowacka-Musial

Visualize This

March 1, 2021

Digital collections, however, are not simply representations of physical collections but resources in their own right. Unlike physical collections, their digital counterparts feature detailed metadata. Often, they also feature full text, thanks to optical character recognition conversion of text images into machine-encoded data. Both metadata and data can be mined, analyzed, and visualized—not only opening … Continue reading Visualize This


Dispatches, by Mirela Ronvevic

One Country, One Collection

November 2, 2020

This open digital library not only introduced users to a new way of engaging with digital content but also offered a sustainable business model to publishers, authors, libraries, and those who wished to support it financially. The idea for the national library did not come overnight. It was the result of working on various projects … Continue reading One Country, One Collection


Society of American Archivists Archives*Records 2019 Conference logo

Archiving Controversial Digital Materials

August 8, 2019

Presenters explored how current events are captured in collections and archives and the effect that collecting controversial and sensitive materials has on patrons and staff. Jennifer Weintraub, librarian and archivist for digital initiatives at Harvard’s Schlesinger Library, opened with a discussion on the #MeToo Digital Media Collection project from the History of Women in America … Continue reading Archiving Controversial Digital Materials


Tom Bober

The Power of Primary Sources

September 4, 2018

My 1st-grade students recently prepared for a trip to the National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis by analyzing photographs and films of streetcars to better understand the part they played in our city. Inspired to share their learning, students wrote about streetcars and built their own with simple tools like paper, scissors, tape, and … Continue reading The Power of Primary Sources


What Is Access without Equity?

March 1, 2018

For community-based or other participatory archive models, digital technologies offer a way to meaningfully engage with materials. Yet what good is a digital archive if the community does not have internet available? How can an individual fully participate in using or shaping digital heritage resources if they do not have the computer skills, or even … Continue reading What Is Access without Equity?


Angelina Zaytsev (left), collection services librarian at HathiTrust, and Kristina Eden, copyright review project manager at HathiTrust, lead the session "Harnessing Volunteer Power for Operational and Programmatic Success" at DPLAfest 2017 in Chicago. Photo: Terra Dankowski/American Libraries

The Devil Is in the Digital Details

April 25, 2017

Data and design boost engagement “A digital collection is not just scanned photographs,” said Greta Bahnemann, metadata librarian for the Minnesota Digital Library (MDL), at the outset of “Metadata: Preventing a Digital Junk Drawer.” Metadata should essentially make up half of your collection, she said. Why is metadata so important? Bahnemann and copresenters from the … Continue reading The Devil Is in the Digital Details


Patricia Bearden (left) and Raquel Flores-Clemons present “Partners in History: Chicago State University Archive and International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry Digital Collaboration" at DPLAfest in Chicago on April 20.

DPLAfest Comes to Chicago

April 25, 2017

Several presentations highlighted efforts to document, preserve, and share digital collections on social justice and community engagement. Preserving African-American history on Chicago’s South Side “Partners in History: Chicago State University Archive and International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry Digital Collaboration,” led by Chicago State University (CSU) Archivist Raquel Flores-Clemons, Patricia Bearden, president … Continue reading DPLAfest Comes to Chicago


These wine labels are part of the Shields Library's special collection at University of California, Davis. Some labels list the names of people who shared bottles with viticulture and enology professor Maynard Amerine. Photos: © UC Davis Library/Special Collections

Preserving the Vintage

March 1, 2017

One could expect that wine libraries are concentrated in California, the top-producing state, but wine collections and digital archives are also popping up in places like Indiana, New York, and Oregon. Institutions are providing for the information needs of wine enthusiasts of all stripes, and in doing so are reinventing and reinvigorating the meaning of … Continue reading Preserving the Vintage