Digital Vaults
July 17, 2008 4:46 AM   Subscribe

This is a collection of the National Archives stored in the Digital Vaults. You can browse through hundreds of photographs, documents, and film clips and discover the connection between some of the National Archives' most treasured records. With the Pathways tool you can see the unique and surprising connections between events and people and test your knowledge of history. As you travel through the site and collect documents, images and films, you can then merge the objects to create your own poster or movie from your collection.
posted by netbros (16 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Cool site. Cool flash.
I hates cool.
posted by hexatron at 5:08 AM on July 17, 2008

This is fabulous - even the sucky interface cannot mar the joy of an archive that will essentially pile a whole heap of fascinating crap into your lap and say "Sort through this at your own speed."
posted by Jofus at 5:10 AM on July 17, 2008

I wanted to click on something new again but dreaded being assaulted by the twirling documents.
posted by stbalbach at 5:13 AM on July 17, 2008

I like that it doesn't seem to break the back button. Pretty neat. Thanks.
posted by Dave Faris at 5:26 AM on July 17, 2008

Very slick. It occurs to me that this would be, among other things, a simply brilliant way to get your newly-digitized collection metadata-tagged in such a way that it would be more natural-language searchable by nonexperts. I'll stash that one away for future reference when I need to both supply a justification for getting a large document collection scanned AND for building a snazzy front end.

This sounds a lot more cynical and troll-y than it's intended. I honestly think it's an almost-workable idea, right out of the box.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 5:43 AM on July 17, 2008

Slick to the point of useless. I wrote about the site on my blog here. I can't imagine what the site is good for.
posted by LarryC at 6:17 AM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

It is sort of fun to poke around, but I agree with LarryC that the inability to tap the whole archive and do research on it seriously undermines its usefulness. It's merely a toy, a fun toy, but still a toy and not a tool. Bad on the National Archives. Still, an interesting post.
posted by caddis at 7:55 AM on July 17, 2008

color me old but I still like a think I can pull up at myh direction. Read when I want, in full and in readable format. And then move to the next others have said: too slick (or too techie for oldsters like me).
posted by Postroad at 8:10 AM on July 17, 2008

> I wanted to click on something new again but dreaded being assaulted by the twirling documents.

Yeah. The first round of whooshiness was interesting. Seeing it again every time I clicked on anything made me want to throw things. And there's no simple way to access the large source file image, or know if one's available online for a given record.

It's sad, because whooshiness aside the presentation of the individual records is useful -- most of what proles like me want from ARC data without the (important, but I'll never use it) metadata.
posted by ardgedee at 9:02 AM on July 17, 2008

Having failed to mention that this is the American National Archives in your post, maybe you can stick america or usa in the tags. Cool site though. Search [chappaquiddick] 'No results found'. Hmm.
posted by tellurian at 9:12 AM on July 17, 2008

Thanks tellurian. Done.
posted by netbros at 9:22 AM on July 17, 2008

I'm in the minority, but I thought the flash was kinda pretty. I usually don't like flash presentation. There is an html button at the bottom, too.
posted by green herring at 9:23 AM on July 17, 2008

Search [chappaquiddick] 'No results found'. Hmm.

They've only got about 1k of docs. I doubt the bugaboo of a particular subset of political nutjobs was their top priority over Lincoln and such.
posted by DU at 9:24 AM on July 17, 2008

They've only got about 1k of docs.
Zeta version then :-)
The Kennedy clan (a particular subset of political nutjobs, aside) was to my mind, the best of America. I believed in them.
I believe in transparency. I feel this could be a revisionist version of history (through omission) though. The way that it guides you through a series of links providing information that the site creator feels are relevant or germane seems dangerous to me.
posted by tellurian at 11:19 AM on July 17, 2008

Fun, but short on content. Still, fun! In five years, this will be one of those sites I will get lost in for hours. Then someone will be able to click on a picture of me, lost in the site. Then they will join me, as we remain distracted, accumulating more fellow distracteds, andthe dishes pile up in the sink, the gerbils go unfed, etc.

And that's how the librarians are planning to take over America.
posted by not_on_display at 3:56 PM on July 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

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