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Course & Subject Guides

LGBTQ Digital Archives in the Classroom @ Pitt

A guide to aid students in using digital archives and to give instructors ideas about how to use these archives in the classroom

Taking It Further

Primary sources in academia provide context and history we would otherwise lose. The archives house many of these primary sources, and they complicate history, make the past understandable, and allow us to empathize with those who came before us. Archival materials give us an opportunity to look at the historical narrative dominant powers have created in a new light, whether from the writers of this narrative or from those who were purposefully left out of this narrative. 

Archival studies can give us a look into those who were marginalized in the past, and this has the potential to act as a wealth of resources for humanities that now seek to rightfully give attention to these often abandoned stories. In our project, we study the queer archives, but this is only one lens through which to view the archives. The past is queer, but it is also racially diverse, full of people with different abilities, and full of people who do not fit the homogenized narrative we have been presented. 

Bringing this past to the present is vital, especially in our digital age. With the onset of COVID-19, the need for accessible, digital resources has become widespread. These resources come both in the form of material that was originally digital as well as archives that have been digitized. These tools are invaluable, both in an increasingly-digitized age and in a time where visiting an archive is complicated. 

The digital archives are an often under-utilized asset to research for those working at all levels of academia, providing authentic experience without the filter of a secondary creator. These sources can be used to create new projects and digital tools - like the StoryMap and timeline linked within this LibGuide. The potential for what can be created and inspired by digital archival material is as limitless as the materials within the archives themselves.