Friday, May 4, 2007

The April 16 Archive: Preserving the Memory of Virginia Tech

To maintain a historical record of the recent Virginia Tech tragedy, the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture at Virginia Tech has launched The April 16 Archive. Hat tip.

The project is launched with assistance from George Mason University's Center for History and New Media, which has been involved in other important web archive projects including The September 11 Digital Archive, and the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank.

According to the announcement, the Archive

uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the stories and digital record of the Virginia Tech tragedy of April 16, 2007....Numerous Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff members have generously volunteered to help curate and maintain the archive.

This project contributes to the ongoing efforts of historians and archivists to preserve the record of this event by collecting first-hand accounts, on-scene images, blog postings, and podcasts. It is our sincere hope that this site can contribute to a collective process of healing, especially as those affected by this tragedy tell their stories in their own words. The April 16 Archive is part of ongoing efforts to use the Internet to preserve the past through "digital memory banks," with these records accessible to a wide audience for generations to come.

After September 11, reactions from around the globe were particularly striking. Condolences from other nations poured in after Virginia Tech as well. But what seems new here is the memorialization of a "real world" event in a virtual space, as shown in this image, SL VT Memorial, from Åsa Rosenberg, showing the creation of a Virginia Tech memorial within the virtual world Second Life.

Image credit: Åsa Rosenberg, "SL VT Memorial." The April 16 Archive, Object #54 (April 30 2007, 10:21 am).