Monday, September 24, 2007

archives on the web

Technophilia lists Where the Web Archives Are. Here's what they say:

Some of the most intriguing resources on the web are located in archives—compilations of data that in the past, could only be found by making appointments in dusty libraries. Today, I'm going to take you on a quick tour through some of the most fascinating archives on the web.
So where are they? If I am reading the list correctly, they're pretty much not at any academic libraries.

In the "Government" section, there is the National Archives and the Library of Congress. There is the Internet Archive, which is indeed a library. There's the Rockfeller Archive. There's NASA. There's David Rumsey, possibly the best private map archive in the world. There is the British Library.

Otherwise, it's Calvin and Hobbes, Smithsonian Magazine, the Smoking Gun, and The Balcony Archives of movie reviews.

I don't want to knock their list -- it's an interesting list full of great collections of very worthwhile content. But where are all the other myriad Library special collections and archives on this list? Is it that we aren't visible enough? Or perhaps not cool enough compared to PBS's Nova? Where are our extensive online archives on runaway slaves or civil rights or early American literature? Or political cartoons or penny dreadfuls or sheet music? Or puzzles or jazz or the civil war?

I think we have to remember that our target audience is not just our very local community, but the global community, including non-academics. We all need to think a bit more about how to get the word out about what we've made freely available. Being available in a Google search isn't proactive enough. We need to work to get noticed.

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