Presenting the Stark Electronic Archive
By Digital Archivist
June 27, 2012
You may have read the headline and sensibly asked yourself, “what is an electronic archive?” In a few words, the Stark E-Archive is the latest in our ongoing efforts to facilitate physical culture scholarship and education.
The words “electronic” and “archive” might seem strange in apposition, but they fit. We plan to have this new system house the bulk of our new born digital and newly digitized materials. In addition, it will serve more and more as the central store for many of our available, but variously located, ebooks and other e-materials. In this way, the Stark E-Archive will simplify and ease access to our electronic materials. The miracles of the digital age made manifest at the Stark!
More than a Web portal to our archives, the Stark E-Archive is an archive itself. With the World Wide Web, the definitions of and roles for archives have enlarged. No longer are they solely physical places. The Stark E-Archive reflects traditional archival roles of stewardship, of curation, of preservation, while incorporating the excitement of the Web, of instantaneous and always available access. This is why the E-Archive is more than just a Web ready consolidation of previously and newly available Stark Center material–it is a radical step forward in how we manage our electronic materials in the charge of serving our users.
What we find particularly interesting about the Stark E-Archive is that it is a near raw space. As a counterpart and extension of our physical archival, it functions as a resource for creators and seekers. Unlike the items in the stacks, however, the E-Archive materials are constantly in public view from moment one. In the Stark Center’s capacities as a library and museum, we marvel at the tremendous efforts of librarians, archivists, scholars, and otherwise, to process and exhibit the materials in our archive. These context building and descriptive activities surrounding objects of historical importance are essential to our mission. But these activities come at the cost of access, time and space constraints. And for every featured exhibit, there are countless items wanting the same treatment. The Stark E-Archive permits a transparent environment where many physical culture objects may be accessed and used throughout the various stages of processing and context building.
The Stark Digital Archive is available at archives.starkcenter.org or by selecting “Stark Digital Archive” from the Stark Center’s main navigation menu. The Stark E-Archive is powered by Dspace. If you have any questions, technical or otherwise, or comments, please contact the Digital Archivist: firstname.lastname@example.org.