At a time when the world is flooded with information from a variety of sources, it’s important to have a trustworthy resource to help them comb through, synthesize, and understand information. That’s where digital librarians, archivists, and historians come in.
Tracking and analyzing historical information is at the heart of their work; however, just because many people believe librarians aren’t necessary in the internet age, that isn’t the case. In fact, the internet can be a powerful tool to harness if you’re a librarian or archivist, speeding up your workflow and granting you access to information from millions of sources. From video search engines to periodicals, here are some top online tools to consider.
JSTOR is an incredible tool when it comes to finding work published in journals or books, as well as primary sources. Offering hundreds of free articles and journals available for anyone to access, as well as other digitized works, the repository of information available from JSTOR is especially helpful for researchers, students, and historians.
They’re even paving the way for future ways to search for sources, by rolling out the beta version of a powerful text analysis tool. This text analysis tool allows you to upload an existing document you are working on to be run through a text analysis program that identifies recurring topics in your document.
After analyzing the piece, JSTOR then suggests complementary sources and essays to further your understanding and research that already exist in their database.
Video content is becoming an increasingly important aspect of our history and how information is shared and spread. Just look at the rising concerns about doctored video and “deepfakes” to see how powerful video is in the information age.
It’s also worth noting that videos appear in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of websites, from sources like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to websites such as Minds.com, Bitchute, and, of course, YouTube. Video search tools crawl and index video content from all of these sources, thus democratizing internet video by showcasing sources beyond YouTube.
This makes them very useful tool for researchers and librarians looking to find a wide swath of videos, and not just content filtered through one large company.
Another excellent repository of internet ephemera and content is Archive.org. Also known as the Internet Archive, this website grants users access to millions of movies, audio files, images, computer programs, and books. The Internet Archive also archives websites through its search engine, the Wayback Machine, which allows you to view historical records and previous iterations of websites from over the years.
The videos available for viewing through archive.org are also indexed as part of Petey Vid, allowing for an exchange of utilization between the two platforms. One of the best features of the Internet Archive is the fact that everything is provided to users completely free of charge, thanks to its role as a non-profit organization. Perhaps most impressively, the Internet Archive boasts the preservation of a whopping 45 petabytes (or 45,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) of data.
While some associate search engines like Google with the demise of libraries and historians, the internet is empowering researches to work better, smarter, and more deeply. The above resources are just a few examples of the way that the internet is revolutionizing and revitalizing research.