HIS 218
Unit 11: Digital Online Archives

View of the Alhambra palace, Grenada, Spain. Photo courtesy Michelle Hidalgo.
Blue Separator Bar

Short introduction

Earlier in the course we looked at online historical resources, such as library databases. (Databases that are often gated.) In this unit we'll examine some tools that can be used to create online, archival databases. This is something that is pretty easy to do now, using the Omeka software. See Amy Bertsch's Charles M. Robinson's Schoolhouses in Northern Virginia.

What you must do in this unit

  • Review the final exam.
  • Read Rosenzweig's textbook (chapter 6: Collecting History Online).
  • Read this week's note.
  • Watch the video for this unit of the course on ItunesU for NVCC (look for HIS 295) or on YouTube.
  • Look at the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank and the Omeka software project site.
  • This week you will look at the Northern Virginia Digital History Archive, my Omeka-based, online archival project. Post some images to the archive and try it out using the contribute feature (sometimes it is a bit slow). You can also look at my other Omeka projects.
  • Check out the Omeka.net hosting service (if you are interested).


  • Post on your blog (10 points): (a) Upload five photos of Northern Virginia sites to the Northern Virginia Digital History Archive and assess its ease of use (Please let me know if you have any problems with size limits on the photos that you are uploading.); (b) locate a digital archive online and comment briefly about strengths and weaknesses (or you can describe a proposed online archive relating to local, Northern Virginia history); (c) post an update about your project status.
  • Submit the URL of your blog post on Canvas for grading.
  • Submit the Pinterest Board assignment (100 points), if you've chosen to do this assignment.

Extra credit options

  • Please suggest any materials relevant to this unit of the course.

Unit learning objectives

  • Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to (1) explain the use of a digital tool to create an online collection of historical materials and (2) show how such a tool can use social media to expand the gathering of related materials.

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