Why don’t archivists digitize everything?

Fascinating. Inspiring and daunting.

Archives @ PAMA

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Today on the blog we’re tackling one of our most frequently asked questions: “Why don’t you digitize everything?” and its related runner-up, “When will you be putting all your records on the web?”

As archivists we like these questions because they tell us that people are eager for access to archival records. They also show that people realize that not everything is digitized. Indeed only a tiny fraction of the world’s primary resources are available digitally. This doesn’t mean that undigitized records are inaccessible or not worth consulting, but you will need to visit us archivists to use them.

In fact, archivists and librarians themselves are behind the abundance of primary sources already available on the internet. From rare books to official records and from diaries to sound recordings, digitized resources have spread the word (literally) that the past informs our present and our future. In the meantime, both non-profit and commercial organizations whose…

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