All of us here at AU and in this class were alive on September 11, 2001. Not only that, we all have direct firsthand knowledge of the event, whether we lost loved ones or just remember hearing about it on the news for the first time. However, as the years role by, and generations grow up who never remember it, how will history describe 9/11? What will learning about that event look and feel like? In previous times, people went to libraries to read books or hear recordings of radio broadcasts and televised speeches. What will it be for our children?
If they will be using the September 11 Digital Archive, then they will be in good hands. The organization, “funded by a major grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and organized by the American Social History Project at the City University of New York Graduate Center and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University”, organizes and records stories and facts from 9/11 (Abo 9/11 archive).
What’s so great about this database? What I was struck by was how precisely it was organized. When you go to the front page, go to the top and click on browse. You then go to another page which breaks the available information down into categories like stories, documents, etc. Within these categories, there are further subdivisions, like for stories, which break the information down into categories based on where the stories came from. This preciseness makes finding information a process that is easy because of the way everything flows. It’s quick, efficient and to the point, perfectly suited for the internet age.
That being said, the site isn’t perfect. The fact that some of the same pieces of information appear under the link browse as for the link research seems a little redundant. Also, there is information about flyers that were on the streets of NY during 9/11. It seems meant to capture the mood, but the website puts so much information into the attack rather than setting up what a day in NY would have been like back than that it makes little sense…It seems like something that belongs in an exhibit made years after the attack. But overall, the website is a solid way to record and present information on 9/11 that could serve our children well.
“About the September 11 Digital Archive”, American Social History Project (2004): http://911digitalarchive.org/about/index.php