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Historical research using email archives
, V. Piratla, C. Manovit, P. Chan, G. Edwards, M.S. Lam
Published in Association for Computing Machinery
Volume: 18
Pages: 735 - 742
Archives of letters and documents belonging to individuals provide valuable insights into history. In the digital age, such history is being captured in personal digital archives, especially in the form of email. Archival organizations have recognized the importance of email archives and often collect email when they acquire the papers of eminent donors; however they find it difficult to screen, process and provide access to email for research, due to its sheer volume. We describe the considerations we encountered with the email archives of two prominent individuals in the special collections of Stanford University Libraries. We have designed novel approaches to the challenges of (1) Reconciliation with authority records, (2) Making "finding aids" of the archive available to the general public, without revealing confidential information, and (3) Browsing an email archive when one may not know what exactly to look for. Our solutions have been implemented in a publicly available and open source system called ePADD. As a result, we enable donors and archival organizations to appraise, process and screen large-scale email archives, thereby unlocking the historical value embedded in them.
About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
PublisherData powered by TypesetAssociation for Computing Machinery