Posts Tagged ‘This Old Site’

  • Session Proposal: The Problem of Old Digital History Sites


    The graphical world wide web is closing in on 20 years of existence. Some of the earliest digital history sites are almost as old. While some of these sites are tied to people or organizations who update them in one form or another, many are not as funding ran out or creators moved on. As a result, I’m sure we can all think of sites that we’ve run across that are, at a minimum, up to today’s visual and user experience expectations, and at worst, are simple unusable by some or even all of today’s users.

    Since we know that old sites don’t fade away (though they might blink in and out), but linger on virtually forever (unless they were on GeoCities), what might we do with some of these abandoned or no longer funded projects going forward?

    I know that digital history is typically about new projects and new digitization, but how might we build on the work that has already been done, and do so in a way that is more than just an aesthetic facelift for these sites? Is it worth considering ways that we might make such previous work more accessible (both in terms of accommodations and in terms of something that more people would want to use) and usable?

    I’m particularly interested in those sites which preserve and present primary sources, but would like to talk about a broader set of historical websites as well.

    So, I’m proposing a session where we brainstorm the ways that we might individually or systematically work on updating older digital history sites, as well as the issues with doing so. [In the latter category, I know questions of copyright/permissions are a factor, as are technical aspects of how the material was stored and presented, and no doubt a host of other concerns I haven’t thought of yet.]

    Who’s with me?

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