Just a couple of weeks after the incidents at Virginia Tech, the university’s Center for Digital Discourse and Culture (CDDC) with help from George Mason University’s Center for History of New Media (CHNM) have created the April 16 Archive, an electronic archive to share and preserve related information in digital format. Their press release announces that people from around the world are encourage to look at the site and contribute as desired.
This site has been created using technologies previously used in projects such as The September 11 Digital Archive, Mozilla Digital Memory Bank, and the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank (full list of projects). These technologies arose from the CHNM, and have been created to democratize history by including a wide variety of voices to the narrative that will eventually make it to posterity. Among the tools that you can access for free to create a similar site, are tools to build a web scrapbook, create polls, and others to help you keep track of the websites you’ve visited for citation purposes. There are also other tools specifically designed for historians, which include help with understanding history preservation in digital format, blogs, and wikis. All of these tools can be used for free (I assume they are based on opensource software, but I can’t find anything on their website that clearly states this).
All of these digital banks clearly show just how technology has evolved to allow us to witness history as it is unfolding. They also help diversify accounts, including the voices of literally anyone, not just those in power. It’s a perfect example of Wed 2.0.
Thanks for your thoughtful write-up on our project. As I understand it, the memory bank application that the CHNM has developed – and which provides the open source software infrastructure for the April 16 Archive – will be released publically for beta testing sometime this summer. The folks at GMU can probably provide more details, but this is good news for all who have been looking for an open source memory bank or archival solution.