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Communicating Memory & History

Edited By Nicole Maurantonio and David W. Park

Communicating Memory & History takes as its mission the job of giving communication history its full due in the study of memory. Taking three keywords—communication, history, and memory—representing related, albeit at times hostile, fields of inquiry as its point of departure, this book asks how the interdisciplinary field of memory studies can be productively expanded through the work of communication historians. Across the chapters of this book, contributors employ methods ranging from textual analysis to reception studies to prompt larger questions about how the past can be alternately understood, contested, and circulated.

Communicating Memory & History is ideal for teaching, including case studies that elaborate different ways to approach issues in memory studies. While some foundational knowledge would be useful, it is possible to use the text without extensive knowledge of the literature. This book is of particular interest to professors, graduate students, and advanced undergraduate students of communication and media studies, as well as scholars and students in cultural studies, history, and sociology—disciplines where one finds steady consideration of issues related to communication, communication history, and memory.

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9. Building an Archive for Future Generations: Archival Digitization at the National Library of Israel (Sharon Ringel)

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9. Building an Archive for Future Generations: Archival Digitization at the National Library of Israel

SHARON RINGEL1

Over the last decade, governments, organizations, museums, libraries, archives and other traditional information gatekeepers have gradually begun converting their information into digital formats. The digitization of libraries and archives is not just a technical act, but a process with potential epistemological ramifications for generations to come. When cultural texts are digitized and made publicly accessible on the web, they become an open resource for a variety of cultural agents, including historians, authors, teachers, screenwriters, and others. Therefore, the formation of a digital corpus is not simply a mirror image of the library or an online archive, but a new means for storing and retrieving information that provides new affordances for cultural production.

The transformation of libraries and archives into digital corpuses has been celebrated as a democratization of knowledge, making texts that had previously been limited to those physically present in the archive available to a broader audience. In this chapter, I caution against wholly embracing such a claim, in turn arguing that digitization of national archives and libraries can also serve as a technologically advanced means to control information that will eventually be accessible. By examining the digitization of archives at the National Library of Israel, this research shows how new digital technologies revisit old dilemmas regarding curatorship and filters of information, and digitization can also serve as a...

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