Yesterday an article published by Federal Computer Week’s online magazine announced a key partnership between the National Archives and HistoryPin.com, a social-networking/geo-tracking/photo posting site, which allows members to post personal photos and their locations around the globe. HistoryPin.com is a non-profit company in partnership with Google, which aims to provide a better, user-constructed understanding of the world and its histories. NARA’s contribution comes from their recent collection of user- and archivally-tagged images, which also include “photographs by Mathew Brady dating from the Civil War, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Documamerica project, and historic photographs from Washington D.C.”
The project illustrates the advantages of a socially-networked archive, and how collections, no matter their subject, can be accessed, evaluated, and used for further learning. Although it does not bode well in the realms of maintaining the sustainability and interest in a physical archival repository, it’s an essential step into the further evolution of creating interest in historical materials and proving that their existence (whether physical, digital, or both) is essential.