Kristen Gwinn-Becker
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Giving history a future
Let's talk about innovative solutions and technologies to deliver robust digital archives

About Author
Kristen Gwinn-Becker is the founder and CEO of HistoryIT, a technology and services company that bridges traditional history and cutting-edge technology to create appealing, effective digital spaces for archival resources.
Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Apr 4, 2016
Digital Imperative for Historical Collections

I read the April 2nd Washington Post article about the discovery of the missing patent documents for the Wright brothers’ “flying machine” with mixed emotions. As an historian, I am thrilled that determined archivists were able to track down what is universally regarded as a national treasure, missing – likely due to being misfiled – for more thanContinue reading




Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Dec 8, 2015
Analog Practices: Catalog Management Systems as Entry Points

This blog series on Analog Practices in a Digital World is an extension of a talk I delivered at the Impakt Festival 2015 “The Future of The Past.” It explores the ways in which our history, even when made digital, remains inaccessible. There are numerous analog practices and assumptions that plague the world of digital archivesContinue reading




History Lost: Analog Practices in a Digital World
Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Nov 30, 2015
Analog Practices in a Digital World

Our historical information is stuck in the past. For the most part, cultural heritage organizations are failing to connect the modern online population with our historical resources. I believe that the public needs to interact with evidence and stories from our past in order to build a thoughtful, informed society. And in order to interact withContinue reading




The Future of History: My TEDx Talk
Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker

At HistoryIT, we build, support, and enhance digital archives. We are committed to developing creative approaches, through which archives become powerful, engaging tools, accessible and meaningful to diverse audiences beyond the traditional researcher. Why do we do this? And why is it so critical to get this work done NOW? What’s the rush? I answer these questions in my TEDx Dirigo Talk about The Future of History.




Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Aug 13, 2014
“Who?” is the question. “Everyone!” is the answer. Powerful digital archives reach and influence new audiences and are the key to needed funding.

The way we access information has fundamentally changed and this change demands a recalibration on the part of those who house primary source historical materials. In the past ten years, Google has reshaped the public’s expectations around being able to find information and form conclusions based upon what they discover through simple online searches. The difficultyContinue reading




Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Jul 30, 2014
Kill the Finding Aid! Give the Public the Ability to Really Search our History

At HistoryIT we believe that the information in archives is of great interest to broad groups of the public, not just professional researchers. Yes, scholars know how to navigate archives in various states. They understand how to read finding aids that provide cursory high level or container information. They have the time and training necessary toContinue reading




Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Jul 22, 2014
Why is digitization so expensive?

If you’re a bullet point summary kind of a person, check out my abbreviated answer in five points on this blog. At HistoryIT, we meet with a wide variety of organizations and institutions that are charged, either as their core mission or as one division of their entity, with caring for the historical records that tellContinue reading




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Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Jul 22, 2014
Why is digitization so expensive? An answer in five points

“Digitization” involves far more than simply scanning or photographing material, or what we call the imaging stage. Once the imaging stage is complete, actual digitization begins. This is where most organizations stop. To make your digital collection meaningful, people must be able to find and navigate your digital records. A more elaborate discussion of this topicContinue reading




Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Jul 15, 2014
What’s the rush? Why build a robust digital archive now?

If you’re a bullet point summary kind of a person, check out my abbreviated answer in three points on this blog. On any given week, I talk with 20-25 organizations or institutions about their efforts to build digital archives.Projects to preserve our history and make it accessible in a meaningful way are almost always placed onContinue reading




Posted by Kristen Gwinn-Becker
Posted on Jul 15, 2014
Why invest in a robust digital archive today? An answer in three points.

My longer-winded answer is also available on this blog. There is a pervasive and chronic misconception that documents, images and artifacts that have been around for decades or even centuries won’t be affected if we wait a few more years to digitize them.  They’ve survived this long, right? Why the urgency? This is dangerous thinking. And,Continue reading