Brookings: With Obama’s official papers living online, what might be lost?. “The announcement that President Barack Obama’s official papers will be digitized is a break from tradition. It is clearly a nod to contemporary life, and some might view it as a welcome change from driving for miles to sift through paper documents in presidential libraries. But the decision to go digital rather than place the paper records in a research library has created a stir in the community of people who make a living doing research in presidential libraries. With presidential libraries already facing challenges, a transition to online-only resources could come at the cost of one of their greatest assets: the knowledge and commitment of the archivists, whose expertise in both the presidency and the organization of the collection is an immense resource for researchers.”
Library of Congress: New Online: The AP Washington Bureau, 1915-1930. “The Associated Press Washington Bureau News Dispatches between the tumultuous years between 1915 and 1930 are now online at the Library, providing readers and researchers with a look at how some of the biggest events of the era were reported to millions of readers across the nation. The 378,082 images in the collection fill 375 volumes and cover World War I, women’s suffrage, the Roaring ’20s, the Jazz Age and the stock market crashes of 1929 that ushered in the Great Depression. “
New York Times: Save the Recordings of School Shootings. “The news media has been notoriously reticent about showing graphic images of mass shootings. But the students caught in the gun violence plaguing American schools are not. Ms. [Lillian] Duarte’s videos and texts are the latest example of students documenting what it’s like to live through a school shooting for all to see online. While it is encouraging to see the news amplify the students’ accounts, there needs to be a broad effort to collect and preserve these firsthand accounts of America’s mass shooting epidemic. Otherwise the horror, as witnessed by the victims, may be lost to the digital ether.”
California Lutheran University: Students documenting nuclear shelters. “The students, all born since the Cold War ended, will try to identify, map and photograph every shelter in The Dales development with permission from homeowners. In their past visits to fallout shelters throughout Southern California,[Michaela] Reaves’ students have found some stocked with decades-old cans, clothes and magazines. The students will return to interview residents who have Cold War memories of the shelters. Eventually, Reaves plans to share the information through an online resource and a public event.”
The Iris: Creating a Digital Museum to Memorialize America’s Slave Past. “Scholar James Young once posed this provocative question: How does a nation memorialize a past it might rather forget? Art historian Renée Ater is exploring this question by researching 25 monuments to the slave past located in the South, Midwest, and Northeast of the United States. A 2018 Getty Scholar and an associate professor emerita of the history of art at the University of Maryland, College Park, Ater plans to publish her findings in a forthcoming digital project, Contemporary Monuments to the Slave Past: Race, Memorialization, and Civic Engagement.”
Augusta Free Press: JMU graduate students create digital archive of Rockingham prohibition records. “During the 2018-2019 academic year, a team of JMU [James Madison University] graduate students uncovered and digitized 6,379 prohibition-era legal records to create an interpretive website that seeks to put the documents into historical contexts.” I would not normally cover an archive like this in RB because of how it’s oriented toward a fairly small area. But the topic is so unusual, and the documents so specific, I think it’s worth a mention.
Washington Post: How activists used photography to help end slavery. “…while social media makes this act of sharing protest imagery seem like a new innovation, it’s actually an organizing tool with roots almost two centuries old. Antebellum abolitionists pioneered the use of photography as a tool for social movements, and in the process, they heightened their sense of solidarity and urgency, exacerbating the political crisis over slavery.”