The events of September 11 presented historians and archivists alike with new puzzles and dilemmas concerning the preservation and representation of the historical-memorial record in a digital world. Existing scholarly literature on the subject of digital archiving of the 9/11 historical-memorial record has mostly been focused on the mediating effects of the digital realm on the collection and preservation of this record. This research attempts to expand upon this existing literature to incorporate the specific conditions and choices which scholars, archivists, amateur and professional historians, and other curatorial agents faced when putting together these digital archives. What capacity do curators of 9/11 digital archives have in mediating the collective memory-making process in the digital sphere? What are the implications of this? How does the digital medium alter the role of historians, archivists, and curators in the process of collecting and recording historical memory? To answer these questions, this paper looks at four of the many digital archival projects which emerged in the aftermath of 9/11: the September 11, 2001 Documentary Project, Wherewereyou.org, Voices of 9/11: here is new york, and the Sonic Memorial Project. This paper suggests that curatorial decisions play a key role in fostering new ways of public engagement and contributions to historical-memorial record. Truly, a collective-memory making process could emerge from these digital archives in ways not possible through traditional archival practices, and curators must recognize the responsibility they have in promoting active public participation and negotiation over the collective memory-making process.

First Advisor

William Breitenbach

Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in History

Date of Award

Fall 11-13-2013



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History Commons