Massive digitization makes histories appear as well as disappear. While digital archives facilitate the access to documents, recordings, films, and other s urces there is the risk that offlin sources get lost. Thus, the question about how digital collections are generated is essential for today’s film and media historians. Which artefacts are getting digitiz d – and which are not? In addition, for what reasons? Who is responsible for preserving historical material? Moreover, how can we access it? How can we make sense of the abundance of audio-visual sources, which are at the same time ephemeral? In this article, we analyse tools and methods useful for coping with digital archives and databases. Presenting a case study on the Syrian Archive, we discuss how concepts of authenticity and provenance relate to current media practices. We argue that besides posing productive research questions, conducting critical online search becomes more and more important in the humanities. Therefore, we examine not only what but also how the use of audio-visual material affects us. Furthermore, we argue that regarding the abundance of material the practice of curating – of selecting, structuring, and providing access – becomes a key activity in digital media practices.

digital video archives, Syria, historiography, digital methods, video activism
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
VIEW Journal
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VIEW Journal of European Television History and Culture; Vol 7, No 14 (2018): Audiovisual & Digital Humanities; 88-102

Dang, Sarah-Mai, & Strohmaier, Alena. (2018). Collective Collecting: The Syrian Archive and the New Challenges of Historiography. VIEW Journal, 7(14), 88–102. doi:10.18146/2213-0969.2018.jethc155