As an amateur historian it has often bothered me that access to primary documents is locked behind usernames, passwords, and, monthly fees or simply locked away in silos of information at various public and private institutions. Additionally when I have found primary documents online they are often on poorly organized sites or from a relatively small collection because an editor has already decided what was "important". With these points in mind I've slowly (very slowly at times) put together this site's archive of historic letters and a smattering of other documents which shall remain free to you, the curious public, in perpetuity! So, in a little more detail, below is an outline of what will guide this site as it continues to grow:
- Access to
[ Sponsored Content ] on this site shall remain free of charge all content [ Accounts ]. and free from the need to sign up for a "user accounts"
- Content should be well indexed by search engines so that it is easy to find. Additionally, all content should appear in search results with meaningful metadata so that the process of finding useful primary documents can happen more easily.
- Information on the site should be well organized and easy to find. Recognize that not everyone searches for information in the same way so multiple ways to search for the same information should be available.
- Let the public decide what's important; don't pick and choose what is important - put it all up.
- Strive to create a unified, searchable place for historic letters and journals.
- Reveal forgotten social networks to facilitate research. Information about a given person doesn't exist just within their own letters. Most everyone had friends, colleagues and family that were talking about them and some of these acquaintances may have actually had something interesting to say. Thru the magic of technology, and a little hard work, the site will reveal who a person knew and what was being said about them.
- If we need to find a way to defray costs it will not involve blinking banner ads or otherwise irrelevant 'contextual ads'.