Alle Beiträge von Mills Kelly

The Archives Wiki


The American Historical Association has created an Archives Wiki that allows historians to collect and share information about archives around the world in a wiki format.

The Archives Wiki project is built on the MediaWiki platform and aims to leverage the collective knowledge and experience of historians and other archive users to create an important resource for anyone planning archival research. Registered and validated users can create entries on any library that they choose, or can elaborate current entries.

This latter feature is one that researchers will find especially useful, because it permits researchers to create up to the minute updates on what is (or isn’t) happening in a particular archive. Almost every researcher has had the experience of going to an archive, only to find that the collection he or she wants is being reindexed, or that the archive has closed for the week (or the month!) for renovations. If this project takes off, as I suspect it will (especially among younger researchers), then those planning a visit to a particular archive can know what is happening at their destination in something like real time. This alone makes the project worth participating in.

Already the site includes information on more than 100 archives, mostly in the United States. Sample entries in this newly created project include the American Library of Congress and the German Historical Association in Washington, D.C. Neither of these entries is anywhere close to complete and users of the site are encouraged to dive right in and add to, edit, or change these entries, or to create an entry on their own favorite archive.

This project is in its earliest stages and so it is difficult to assess how well it will work. But I certainly hope that scholars beyond the shores of North America will join in and add to the growing store of information in this project.

Asking the Public to Mark Up Images


The photo sharing website and the Library of Congress in the United States have created a very interesting collaboration between a Web 2.0 business and a major cultural institution. The Commons, as it is known, invites the general public to mark up (they say „describe“) images from the collection of the Library of Congress and to discuss those images via the Flickr website.

In its first phase, the project offers visitors access to 3,115 images from the Library’s digital collection of more than 1 million historical images.


As this image shows, the photographs selected for inclusion in the pilot project are of high quality. As nice as it is to have access to these images through the Flickr interface, that access is already provided by the Library, albeit in a very un-user friendly way. What will be of much more interest to historians and other researchers is the ways that visitors to the site have begun to engage in discussion of these images.

Back in 2006 I speculated that one day large institutions like the Library of Congress (LOC) would begin to make their collections available for public tagging and I wondered what that tagging would look like once it began. What I did not anticipate at the time was that rather than setting up their own interface to permit the public to begin tagging their digital collections, institutions like the LOC would simply take advantage of existing platforms like Flickr. Weiterlesen