One year ago today, 32 Virginia Tech students and faculty lost their lives in the worst school shooting in our nation’s history. Tech will be honoring the victims of this tragedy today with special events and webcasts. And a dedicated web site will continue the remembrance in the future.
Shortly after the events of a year ago, the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture at Virginia Tech along with the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University created the April 16 Archive to be used for “collecting and preserving the stories of the Virginia Tech tragedy.”
Over the past year the archive has grown into a diverse collection of over 1,600 items: op-eds and articles (in English, Romanian, Spanish, German, Korean, Chinese, and more), blog posts, poetry and artwork, screenshots from Second Life, audio, original/official university e-mails, and more. The archive has also expanded to cover related events, like the memorial dedication, concert for VT, the Hokies Thank the World project , NIU vigil, and the Yankees game at Tech.
The archive will be undergoing more changes soon as it upgrades to the newest version of Omeka web platform*, created by CHNM at George Mason. The new format will offer new features, allow for easier uploads to the site, and allow for add-ons like “commenting and ranking features that make the site more interactive and community-driven.”
Even though the site continues to evolve, the spirit behind the project remains the same. Brent Jesiek, manager of the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, explains that “As originally envisioned, the site was framed as contributing ‘to a collective process of healing.’ I don’t think this mission will ever go away, but over time the archive will naturally become more of a resource for researchers.”
Today, on the anniversary of the April 16 tragedy the archive staff will collect materials related to the remembrances taking place today, like news stories, blog posts, and photos from campus.
Visitors to the site are still encouraged to submit files to the archive, both items that have to do with April 16, 2007, and also events that have taken place since. Jesiek wants to emphasize that “The archive isn’t just by and for people in Blacksburg – it is by and for the people of the world.” For more information, or if you need assistance with a large collection you’d like to contribute, please contact the archive staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See our past blog post on the April 16 Archive here: “Archiving Tragedy, Promoting Healing.”
*This sentence has been revised. The April 16 Archive has been using an earlier version of the software that was later renamed Omeka, so it is incorrect to say the archive is “converting to Omeka”. We regret our error.