The creation of digital online archives has been a vital part of digital humanities work, transforming everything from practical access to the kinds of questions we can ask of our subject. Now that we’ve got them…what do we do with them? The idea for this session comes from a literature person who isn’t a “maker”–I don’t make digital archives, I’m not an archivist–but I do want to use them in my research and writing. Specifically, I’m interested in the position of the reader/user of digital archives of intimate life writing, like letters (for instance, the online Carlyle and Browning archives); perhaps digital archivists (those who do the making) and those who benefit from their work could come together to explore broader questions like:
+ How do theories of the archive accommodate digital archives? Do they? Does the idea/work of the digital archive subvert/interrogate archive theory?
+ Does the position of the reader/user change in the digital/online space? Are ways of reading transformed?
+ How does access change our experience of the archive: the actual physical experience of the two spaces and how we navigate them and how it impacts our work?
+ Future possibilities for researchers/writers/teachers to take advantage of the work done by digital archivists? Journals like Archive, etc.