student life

How digital archives can enhance learning

online learning
Written by Nigel Simpkins

More students are relying on technology and the Internet, with 75 percent of British students attending online lessons and lectures in 2020. Since distance learning has been adopted by universities all over the country, there has also been an increase in digital archives usage and downloads, since students are unable to go to libraries to do their research. With the ever-growing need for instant access to information, it’s no wonder why there’s a greater demand for digital archives. It’s likely that even after the pandemic, it will continue to be an integral resource for university students in the UK. 

What are digital archives?

One big contribution that technology has made in the learning community is the creation and use of digital archives. Digital archives are online archives or collections of public and historical records, documents, and researches that contain essential information that most students look for in classes like world history or literature. Most of the time, schools have their own digital archives like the University of Southern California (USC Archives).

What makes them important?

Now, the importance of digital archives is that first and foremost, it is cohesive and convenient. Most digital archives found on the web today are complete with information that students look for and they don’t even need to go to libraries and search through thousands of books and documents. They simply have to type keywords, and the documents they need would appear. Aside from this, it is important for students nowadays because it makes learning faster and more efficient. Instead of spending time looking for information, they can allot more time to actually study the material, helping them to learn better and more efficiently.

Second, it’s compact and consumer-friendly. Unlike traditional archives that require bringing and carrying heavy reams of paper around, everything is just in the computer or laptop, making it compact and convenient. It’s also consumer or user-friendly because it’s easy to use and most of the time, it’s free. Problems like lacking copies or wanting to borrow the same copies won’t be encountered in digital archives, making it one of the best sources of information. Of course, one may still prefer the traditional method of collecting archived documents, but digital archives have definitely made a great contribution to academics.

A digital archives guide

There are a lot of digital archives that are accessible online. Some of these archives are owned by big universities such as USC, Colorado State University, and University College London. The government offers digital archives too, like The National Archives from the UK Government. Other available archives are from the National Library of Scotland, The British Library Digital Collection, and Microform British Online Archives. Though some archive sites have restricted access according to location, there are a lot of archives online where students can get the information that they need.

As technology progresses, academics have progressed too and technology has made learning and research more efficient through digital archives. Not only do enable students to have access to vital information, but they also play an important role in preserving important academic history.