A Rising Market for Digital Archives


Digital Archives: The Future of The Past, An Abraham Lincoln Case

There are many reasons that generating income from digitising collections is a good idea, whether you are a publisher who owns a magazine or journal archive, or work for any other council or organisation that keeps an archive. As long as your collection is valuable and interesting, it will be suitable for driving revenue.

With the increasing growth of hobbies in social history and genealogy, there is a rising market for digital archives. Most researchers and historians are more than happy to pay a fee to access a digital archive, instead of costing them additional travel fees for visiting physical location of the archive.

Take the case of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln project, an effort to track and develop digital archive for all of President Abraham Lincoln’s papers. It’s currently getting a boost since its announcement. Originally posted by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld, below is an article that details this digital archive project. Prepare to get ignited!

And if you’re considering a similar project, you might be concerned of the in-house skill and time you will be incurring to publish your collection digitally. But with a digital publishing solutions provider like Realview, you’ll find that it’s really easy and not in anyway perplexing to create and maintain a digital archive!

As the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination approaches, a massive online archive has gone live containing 99,525 documents related to the Civil War-era commander-in-chief.

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a joint digitization project sponsored by The University of Illinois and the Abraham Lincoln Association, is dedicated to identifying, imaging, transcribing, annotating, and publishing all documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln during his lifetime. Lincoln was assassinated in Ford’ Theater in Washington, D.C.  on April 14, 1865.

Data storage vendor Iron Mountain has provided 40TB of online cloud storage for the project, which is expected to grow by another 50% over the next five years. So far, the archive includes more than 67,000 written documents available in image form online where users can browse or search by title and date.

The Papers consist of three types:

  • Series I: Legal Papers, which cover Lincoln’s time practicing law from 1836 to 1861; The collection encompasses the surviving record of his quarter-century career in the federal, state and county court systems.
  • Series II: Illinois Papers, which encompass Lincoln’s non-legal life from his birth in February 1809 through March 3, 1861, the day before his inauguration. The papers include personal and political correspondence, political speeches, and all other non-legal materials
  • Series III: Presidential Papers, which include a massive documentary record of an active president engaged in leading a nation during wartime.

Digital Archives: The Future of The Past (An Abraham Lincoln Case)

For example, the day before his assassination, Lincoln sent an aide to deliver a message with a simple note attached to make sure it arrived promptly: The note stated: “Let this man enter with this note. A. Lincoln April 14, 1865.”

The archive also contains images of some of the most historically significant documents penned by Lincoln, such as one of the five original copies of the Gettysburg Address.

The archives also contain documents illustrating a more personal side to the Civil War-era president and his constituency — no matter how old they were.

For example, the archive contains a Letter to 11-year old Grace Bedell on Oct. 19, 1860 who had suggested Lincoln grow a beard because his face was so thin. And there’s a note to U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner (R-Mass.), who lead anti-slavery forces in that Commonwealth, that simply asks him to swing by because Mrs. Lincoln needed his help.

Documents include a hand-written pass dated April 29, 1964 for someone named Mrs. William R. Smith to cross enemy lines so she could get to New Orleans.

There’s also the report of Dr. Charles A. Leale on the assassination of the President.

More recently discovered letters and documents are also being added to the digital archive as time passes. For example, as an attorney, Lincoln penned a letter in 1847 to the 11th President of the United States, James K Polk.

Read Lucas’s full article on Computerworld, here.

The Realview Archive solution allows you to convert your collections into useful online digital archives that can be read on any device at anytime. The simple pdf conversion will see each of your issues presented as exact digital replicas of the original publication. Not only does our software allow you to retain the look and feel of your original assets, but allows you to comply with the original copyright. Unlock your potential revenue, download our free e-book to guide you!