Website Review (1/29/20)

For this review, I looked at the sites “American Archive of Public Broadcasting,” “Fold3” (formerly known as “footnote.com”), “Photogrammar,” “JSTOR,” and “Internet Archive”. These five databases seem to be a bit more on the professional side than sites we’ve looked at in class up to this point, and they include a much larger variety of information than would be expected from a college- or university-based site. This is likely because many of these websites allow users to upload their own pieces of digital history for public use.

I was impressed by the “American Archive of Public Broadcasting,” “Fold3,” “Internet Archive,” and “JSTOR”. The first of the four, “American Archive,” is a site run by the Library of Congress and WGBH Radio and is home to over 7,000 radio and TV episodes from America’s history. It is fairly easy to navigate, though the episode titles are somewhat confusing; the simple and clean design of the website, as well as the content, however, make up for this flaw. To test the site, I listened to a bit of “War of the Worlds,” and found myself in awe of the fact that I could access it so immediately.

“Fold3” is an ancestry.com site through which subscribers are able to browse historical records such as census data or military documents. The site is aesthetically pleasing and seems to be well-maintained; the only issue I found with this database is that a paid subscription is required in order to view its documents. This, I believe, goes against the point of digital humanities, as the field aims to make artifacts easier to access, but Fold3.com does not.

I must admit that I am biased when it comes to “Internet Archive,” because I use it all the time. It’s a nonprofit site that hosts historical videos, audio clips, and images, and it works in conjunction with the Wayback Machine, an archive of since-removed web pages. Everything is free to download; in my experience, the only thing to make sure to do when using “Internet Archive” is to search using very specific terms and filters.

I have used “JSTOR” quite a few times as well, and I have found it to be most useful for finding high-resolution digital photographs of art pieces and historical documents in PDF form. It is a database that includes a vast amount of sources and information; there is not much I am unimpressed with when it comes to JSTOR, as it is easily navigable, accessible, and is provided through UMW, (and likely many other colleges).

“Photogrammar,” I found to be interesting in topic and easy to use, though I felt it lacked information. While the other sites I looked at included pictures, audio, video, documents, art, and more, “Photogrammar” specializes only in American photographs dating from 1935 to 1945. The system the site uses for its map is very simple, so I believe the site could expand, eventually.

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