Government grant-funding agencies have spawned an explosion of images from historical collections on the Internet. They have encouraged collaborative projects in which institutions share resources for capital-intensive digitization projects. These Web ‘exhibits’ are neither publications nor exhibits in the traditional sense, most often without identified authors, curators, designers, or sources. Reviews in journal literature are one mechanism for accountability, but not all humanities journals offer exhibit reviews. In those that do, the space allocated in history and archival studies journals reveals the relative importance they place on peer review of these exhibits, compared with that for book reviews. The type of analysis in these reviews is nearly always strictly textual and does not address the interplay of text, image, and design in Web exhibits. The lack of historical context for visual sources, in digital media is of concern for those in the archival, art history, and other cultural studies disciplines and professions. Sheer numbers of digitized items may be a worthy goal for textual materials; visual sources require interpretation and context to render the complexities of their meaning. Collaboration on digitization projects must go beyond financial resource sharing to include involvement of experts in content areas for visual resources.
Salsich, Anne Cuyler. 2006. "Collaboration: Paradigm of the Digital Cultural Content Environment." Journal of Archival Organization 4(3/4): 119-131.
Journal of Archival Organization
Libraries and Archives
Oberlin College Archives
Visual resources, Web exhibits, Journal reviews, Digitization projects