Post 9: Travel not necessary

Post #9 : Travel not necessary

The Montana Memory website is a great tool to learn about the history of Montana without having to travel across the country.  Similar to the Library of Congress website one can download the images at various sizes, to save on your computer.  The documents and photographs on the Montana Memory website contained a short description which had details of the item and date ranges, which was helpful.  I felt that the initial zoom which each document or image opened as was a bit too zoomed in, but did show the quality of the scans (which were good and high).  The full page books were also available on the public domain, as the description paragraph stated, and probably would have been an easier read through another service.  The Montana Memory website would be a great starting point to figure these things out and expand on research.  The educational section with the topics divided by subject as in “Montana Agriculture”,  “Maps”, and “Native Americans” was  great help to see how their collection was divided and being able to see what items were in each various subjects.  The website stated that learning plans would soon be attached, creating a helpful resource for educators not only in Montana but also across the US.

I also searched for other states’ historical societies to look at their website.  Oklahoma and Utah both had similar websites as Montana, containing images and documents, all scanned for access on the internet.  I had some technical issues with the California historical society website has I could not get past the main pages…nothing would open.  Could just be a glitch on my end.

The Digital Public Library of America was another cool website that I discovered thru Montana Memory.  The DPLA had great images and documents from all over the US, and would be another great starting off point for research of all things historical.  With the endless possibility of the internet, travel is not fully necessary to research far off places.  Researchers must also keep in mind that not all information is on the web, and that local libraries might have research only books, which are too old and fragile to even be scanned.  These rare books could be journals or county documents which would be very helpful in writing a full comprehensive history of an area.  For large research papers, travels are probably still necessary.

2 thoughts on “Post 9: Travel not necessary”

  1. Megan–you raise a great point about making sure that we know that not all historical sources are digitized. There have been discussions in the public history field that one of the bad things about so many primary materials being digitized is that we’re seeing the same images show up in every exhibition, the same documents being used, etc. Often going after the low-hanging fruit makes sense–like you said, would it make sense to travel to Montana to research a semester paper? But I fully agree that we have to be careful in assuming that everything is digitized. Great post!

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