Among the other collections that have been digitized are 3,400 glass plates documenting the daily lives of African-Americans in South Carolina and Alabama, immigrants at Ellis Island and Seminole Indians in Florida in the late 19th century; records of expeditions by Carl S. Lumholtz, an ethnographer, to Mexico during the same period; lantern slides of plants, animals and people around the world; and programs for school children during the 20th century. “We constantly find things that surprise us, even pictures of the museum,” he said. “Looking at an image that looks pretty regular, we look a little closer and there’s a doorway or a window that we didn’t know was there. We recently rediscovered a panorama photo print that had been rolled up like a little white cigar. It wasn’t from Asia or Africa. It was on Central Park West, shot in 1922 to 1924 from the steps of the New-York Historical Society looking due north. ”
The future of digital preservation is less about defining a hegemonic set of best practices than it is about scholars, curators, conservators and archivists working together to define what it is that they value about some kind of digital content and to then go out and collect it and make it available for use to their constituencies. It is about setting definitions that are often at odds with each other but that are coherent toward their own ends.
Digital Preservation’s Place in the Future of Digital Humanities by Trevor Owens
Ask any archivist — or most anyone for that matter — what the importance of historical materials held by archives is and they will likely tell you that it is so large it is immeasurable, assuming that that is true and flattering. True, yes, to a degree, but definitely not flattering. In fact, that is one of the big problems with archives — that their value or impact is not directly measurable. We try to measure, and, despite the strength of the adverbs we use (very, extremely, critically, etc.), the measurement is soft because it lacks numbers.
How Do Archives Measure Up - Joshua Ranger