Have you ever felt a nudge when you were listening to a presentation that made you want to go investigate a website right away? Maybe it was a tidbit of information about a site you thought you already knew. This happened to me at the Genealogy Society of Marion County conference last week when Tina Beird, an engaging family history speaker from Illinois, talked about the Internet Archive. I was already of the opinion that IA was a useful resource because so many institutions and individuals contribute content. But Tina mentioned some potentially cool features that I didn’t recognize. For one, she pointed out that not only can I have my own account to create collections that I find there. But, she says I can upload my own personal materials. She asked us to think about what we might use this for. Tina planted a seed.
I went home and immediately checked back into Internet Archive website. And over the past week or so I’ve been digging deeper and having a lot of fun. I can’t begin to describe the wealth of knowledge and unexpected genres free for anyone who visits the website. There are multitudes of books, images, sound recordings, websites and other contributions from around the world. For instance, I clicked on the the Audio button on the top left and saw Live Music Archive. It’s been a flashback fest superb! I found the Beatles Rehearsals for the Ed Sullivan Show and Grateful Dead and 78 rpms and more. My ear buds were working wonders with by Bose speakers. In the Videos I found footage of the 1937 Ohio River Flood (Family history connection to that tragedy to follow.). And there are more history references in my favorites list now from my family lines in Indianapolis and Fayette and Dearborn Counties. And in the images tab, for example, I downloaded this costume plate of a German woman from 1558 – 1570 from the Metropolitan Museum collection (citation below).
Although there’s so much more included, I’ll mention just one more place that’s great for exploring. When you click on the book icon entitled Texts in the tabs at top left you’ll see a selection for Open Library. This takes you to openlibrary.org where there are over one million free ebooks. When I started meandering around on a list of Indiana History I came across: Sons of the wilderness, John and William Conner By Charles N. Thompson. What caught my attention in the description of the book was this sentence: “To depict their lives clearly it has been necessary to set out the historical background of the Ohio Valley (particularly Indiana) for a little over a hundred years.” This book is now saved in my lists at Open Library.
But something else happened on my way through the Open Library. On the page with this Conner book I noticed other related outside links posted. Clicking on the first one brought me to the fantastic site called History of the Great Lakes States (link below). Here's another treasure trove of free books online for history of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan & Wisconsin. The categories include fiction, maps, periodicals, social history, military and much more, all organized by state. So much to discover.
And now…back to my Internet Archives account and my personal uploads. I’m thinking that uploading my own stories to my account is another way to distribute the family history I’m writing on my blog. Could this be a way of sharing the research I’m gathering more widely? It’s an idea I will be pursuing. I think there’s a lot more to be learned about Internet Archives. What do you think about it? Any other features you enjoy?
Thanks for visiting Indiana Ties,
Links to above websites:
History of the Great Lakes States