In this group of Flickr “sets” the Magnes presents online for the first time a wide selection of digitized items from its Western Jewish Americana and Global Jewish Diaspora archival collections.
The decision to give direct access to (often unprocessed) archival digital files reflects the attempt to integrate digitization technologies and social networking with traditional archival practice, and expands a “minimal processing” approach to collections. While our archival holdings are processed at “collection level,” access at “item level” is provided digitally, and users can browse these items as they become available online.
The “code name” for this operation, From the Dusty Archives…, is of course a bit ironic. Often, archives are seen as dusty and inaccessible places, as our users often remind us. While dealing with our own share of dust, we also strive for openness and accessibility. Online access and social media features are certainly a way to achieve that. While encouraging researchers to visit the archives to access the primary sources, and to unearth the many documents that have not been digitized, we are also eager to recreate, in a digital form, the sense of discovery that archival research constantly provides.
New files representing our archival holdings are uploaded to these sets on a weekly basis, on the basis of the online publication platform already established for the Magnes Jewish Digital Narratives and thanks to the software MemoryMiner, which allows to digitally archive each upload, and thus to keep increasing the volume of metadata as archival descriptions are expanded).
Comments and social tagging features are open to all Flickr users, and the use of the files (and, of course, of the history and cultures they represent) is encouraged under a Creative Commons License. All other uses of these materials are allowed under the Magnes’ Rights and Reproduction terms and conditions, which are available here.
Enjoy! (And please provide your feedback).