Interfacing with the past: Archival digitization and the construction of digital depository

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the construction of a digital collection. Using a theoretical framework adapted from digital history and historiography, it will investigate the implications of archival digitization. Through an empirical study of the National Library of Israel’s digital depository of ephemera entitled ‘Time Travel’, the article demonstrates how the selection of archival records for digital preservation, the design of the search interface, and the crowdsourcing of metadata collection are all directing archive users toward certain narratives about Israeli history and away from others. Drawing on interviews with professionals, analysis of reports, and investigations of user experience, I will unearth the political, religious, and cultural tensions that lie beneath the surface of ‘Time Travel’. This research demonstrates that digitization of archival documents is not just a technical process but a cultural, social, and political one as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1308-1323
Number of pages16
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Crowdsourcing
  • digital archive
  • digital humanities
  • interface
  • mediation
  • metadata
  • search engine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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