While scrolling through my twitter feed, I found a link to an article from the Daily Mail in UK about new Civil War artifacts that are being “discovered” and digitized as part of the sesquicentennial celebrations. Historians and archivists are working to expand the types of primary sources they include in their online databases by reaching out to families and encouraging them to search their attics for relics.
One statement that I found particularly interesting is: “In Virginia, archivists have borrowed from the popular PBS series ‘Antiques Roadshow,’ travelling weekends throughout the state and asking residents to share family collections, which are scanned and added to the already vast collection at the Library of Virginia.” This is a different sort of crowdsourcing from the transcriptions and rectifying maps that we discussed in class. These photos and documents are being made public by state libraries and archives, in fact you can see some of them within the article as well.
From these initiatives we can see the value in opening up the digital humanities to public use. By making these artifact accessible to the public and by expanding public interest we can ensure the preservation of our nation’s heritage as well as expand our knowledge of the American Civil War.