Digitization practice in archives and libraries is now generating digital content and associated tools and practices that are transforming the relationships among archivists, users, and archival collections. The transformative nature of digitization derives in part from the power of the complex technologies to represent images and facilitate their use. This article explores how experienced, but for the most part nonacademic, users see the visual, material, and archival properties of digitized photographic archives while undertaking innovative and insightful projects that push the boundaries of visual interpretation. The study is a qualitative investigation involving independent case studies of seven people who have extensive experience using the photographic archives preserved by the Library of Congress. This article contextualizes the research in a range of literatures, summarizes the research methodology, and presents findings from in-depth interviews that focus on how visually experienced users choose digitized photographs for inclusion in a given project. By understanding these "modes of seeing" the contemporary digitized visual archives, archivists are in a better position to understand the representational implications of their digitization processes.
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Research Article| November 17 2010
Modes of Seeing: Digitized Photographic Archives and the Experienced User
The American Archivist (2010) 73 (2): 425–462.
Paul Conway; Modes of Seeing: Digitized Photographic Archives and the Experienced User. The American Archivist 1 September 2010; 73 (2): 425–462. doi: https://doi.org/10.17723/aarc.73.2.mp275470663n5907
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