Archives: Scholarly vs. Experimental

Scholarly: The Rosetti Archive

This archive provides its users with an all-access pass to Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s pictorial and textual works. The digital images are actually very high quality, and a general description, a substantial amount of editorial commentary, and a bibliography are provided. The Rossetti archive also has a search engine available for the ease of navigation and is searchable by title, phrase, genre, name, and date. The Rossetti materials are organized chronologically as well as alphabetically under headings by the medium of work. The old-timey appeal of the archive (colors and background design) provides the user with a stronger sense of 19th century Great Britain. The user has full control of what information he/she wants to research.

Experimental: The Ecclesiastical Proust Archive

Similarly, the Proust Archive also provides the user with a search engine, but in addition to general titles and key words, it is searchable by association, narrative context, and image properties. The archive does not directly answer inquiries about Proust himself but rather provides textual and visual material to experience À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), leaving room for much interpretation by the user. Two types of images are available: representative and interpretive. “Representative” refers to images that are actually mentioned in the text, while “interpretive” refers to images that collaborate with passages in which religious institutions are described but not specifically mentioned. This archive, being experimental, forces the user to undertake a heavier role in interpreting the works than does the Rossetti archive. Blog entries are other features of this archive, which offer a tidbit of the creator’s thoughts to shape interpretation. Also, the discussion forum is available to further interaction between the user and the site. Both archives are insightful and provide authentic content, enabling a deeper connection to the subject more than what concrete works can achieve alone.

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