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Digital Archives: Democratizing the Doing of History

International Journal of Social Education Volume 21, Number 1, ISSN 0889-0293


The creation of digital archives has shifted the dynamics of doing historical research by changing who is able to conduct the research and how historical research is done. Digital archives are collections of numerical data, texts, images, maps, videos, and audio files that are available through the Internet. The majority of digital archives are free and accessible to all Internet users. Beyond offering access to resources that were unattainable by many before, digital archives offer users the opportunity to interact with resources in a non-linear fashion. Digital archives are one model of how technology can be used in the social studies classroom to teach and to learn in a way that was virtually impossible before the advent of the Internet. This study seeks to understand how teachers interact with digital archives by examining their experiences using digital archives to prepare a hypertext paper. The participants in this study were seventeen middle and secondary social studies teachers. Three primary sources of data were collected to inform this study: digital history inquiry projects, reflective narratives, and online discussion postings. Analysis of the data revealed three assertions related to the democratization of doing history. Each assertion explores one aspect of how digital archives can be used to democratize the doing of history. Here, the author explores the three themes that emerged and discusses the limitations of the study. (Contains 1 table and 19 notes.)


Bolick, C.M. (2006). Digital Archives: Democratizing the Doing of History. International Journal of Social Education, 21(1), 122-134. Retrieved December 8, 2022 from .

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