Digitization & Preservation

The transformation from analog to digital is inevitable. Earlier in one of my posts, I went over the advantages and disadvantages of digitization and in the same vein, it is important to take these elements into consideration when taking first steps to building a site. From Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig’s Digital History: A Guide To Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting The Past On The Web, I learned that some of the elements I consider to be attractive and functional for creating a website are the addition of hyperlinks and content materials and design that in a way that “attracts contributions with other contributions and offering information or materials that will bring attention to the website – essentially its distinctiveness is key to an effective outreach” (Cohen & Rosenzweig). Through these types of content materials, for example, hyperlinks allow direct access to other sites that intrigues us to keep researching for more information.

It’s essential to consider that “becoming digital” has as much costs than benefits. Some of these costs revolve around the monetary cost it takes for both creating and preserving a website. However, I think the benefit of open flexibility and manipulability should be taken advantage of while the process in itself is already difficult. Another benefit is the endless opportunities the net offers researchers and scholars, because of the internet’s fluidity, information is constantly changing and offering new research outlets. As Cohen and Rosenzweig claim, “the internet shuttles information between and among people.” Though Cohen and Rosenzweig mentioned how difficult it was to digitize history, it’s clear the digital future will be permanent. I do want to emphasize that I personally think that digitizing history does not necessarily mean preservation of history. Online resources are not always reliable. More times than not, I’ve lost academic research essays and journal entries due to forgetting to save my document. In other occasions, I’ve made sure I saved my academic work but my computer would freeze and all of a sudden my work is gone. Even in the transition of switching phones, I’ve lost pictures, music and files because of the lack of storage capacity. Digitizing information, I believe, is essential to publicizing history and the preservation of this history is imperative to continue historical legacy passed down to our generations. I agree with Cohen and Rosenzweig in their offer of preserving digital history, “the archive of specific historical sites should be stored in a larger archive of the web.” I think that this way it’s as if second-saving information, as a back up almost. It would be interesting to look into this further.

As for model websites, I have to mention the Wadsworth Atheneum’s official website Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art because of its easily accessible contents, openness and inviting presentation. It has eight pull down tabs with extra links to access related information. In addition to his it has six extra tabs at the very top highlighted in black against white text as quick links to essential information about the museum. The very middle has moving images to advertise the upcoming events along with a calendar to showcase all the important dates the museum will be holding events, lectures or films!

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Another model website is the Smithsonian’s History Explorer (Smithsonian’s History Explorer). I really appreciate how informative and organized its contents are and the amount of hyperlinks leading to more online resources! Like the Wadsworth Atheneum website, the moving images promote events, discussions and websites that provide further relevant information. The moving images, color, alignment, proximity within these both model websites make all the difference as part of the attractive elements in engaging audiences. I often use this website to find information on museum artifacts. It doesn’t only locate artifacts but it provides fast access to where those artifacts are exhibited whether it’s digitized online or located in an actual museum. I love looking through the online exhibits, however, it really can’t compare to the unique experience of walking within museum walls and admiring the art in all its glory!

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