Sept. 11 Digital Archive Re-Launches with New Collections

Posted: September 11, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Today, on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mason’s Center for History and New Media (CHNM) has released thousands of previously unavailable historical content collected through its September 11 Digital Archive.

With more than 150,000 digital objects, such as e-mails, photographs, stories and videos, the archive has become the world’s largest repository of digital materials related to the attacks of Sept. 11.

In June 2004, the archive ceased publishing new material, though it continued to collect stories, images and other artifacts. With today’s re-launch, the full scope of the archive will be accessible to both researchers and the public, tripling the number of shared memories.

“History is no longer interpreted and told by a select few,” says Tom Scheinfeldt, assistant director of CHNM. “In what has become a growing trend, actual eyewitnesses to world-changing events are now able to add their reflections, through digital archiving, to the historical record. The September 11 Digital Archive is a major part of this effort.”

The archive has contributed to the effort through historians and archivists who record and preserve the record of Sept. 11 by

  • Collecting firsthand accounts of the day’s attacks and aftermath

  • Collecting and archiving e-mails and digital images of these events
  • Organizing and annotating the most important web-based resources on the subject

  • Developing materials to contextualize and teach about the events

These digital materials offer a spectrum of opinions and perspectives, ranging from recordings of Manhattan residents’ voicemails on the morning of Sept. 11 to drawings depicting the attacks contributed by children from Los Angeles.

In addition to providing increased access to the collections, the new web site includes several improved search functions and a digital notebook for researchers.

The archive is funded by a major grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and organized by CHNM and the American Social History Project at the City University of New York Graduate Center. In 2003, the September 11 Digital Archive became the Library of Congress’ first digital acquisition. The archive continues to collect and archive retrospective stories of the attacks, which can be posted at

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