Of global reach yet of situated contexts: An examination of the implicit and explicit selection criteria that shape digital archives of historical newspapers

Tessa Hauswedell, Julianne Nyhan, Melissa Terras, Melodee Beals, Emily Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A large literature addresses the processes, circumstances and motivations that have given rise to archives. These questions are increasingly being asked of digital archives, too. Here, we examine the complex interplay of institutional, intellectual, economic, technical, practical and social factors that have shaped decisions about the inclusion and exclusion of digitised newspapers in and from online archives. We do so by undertaking and analysing a series of semi-structured interviews conducted with public and private providers of major newspaper digitisation programmes. Our findings contribute to emerging understandings of factors that are rarely foregrounded or highlighted yet fundamentally shape the depth and scope of digital cultural heritage archives and thus the questions that can be asked of them, now and in the future. Moreover, we draw attention to providers’ emphasis on meeting the needs of their end-users and how this is shaping the form and function of digital archives. The end user is not often emphasised in the wider literature on archival studies and we thus draw attention to the potential merit of this vector in future studies of digital archives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-165
JournalArchival Science
Volume20
Issue number2
Early online date24 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • digitization
  • critical heritage
  • newspaper
  • selection rationale
  • cultural heritage
  • Digital Humanities

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