The September 11th Digital Archive

This past September 11th 2015 marked the 14th year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The memory of 9/11 sticks with millions of people whether or not they are from America that day is embedded in their minds. As the tragic event comes around, it stirs up many different emotions for me. I was living in Jamaica at the time when the terrorist embarked on destroying the lives of many Americans. Many people can tell you what they were doing at the exact moments when that chaos unfolded, however that is not the case for me, I cannot recall the events of that day because I cannot recall my childhood back in Jamaica– it’s very bizarre.

I have heard stories of 9/11 and seen images; however nothing compares to the Digital Archive–it is unlike anything I have ever

The September 11 Digital Archive is a site that tries to preserve the images from that historic day. The archive takes a unique look at how information has been collected and preserved after 9/11. The way information was once shared, publicize, and thought of as media has completely changed due to the 9/11. It has affected traveling/national security, online searching of information, the stigma around certain groups of people, and the entire mecca of media has changed. As I browsed through the archive, I was more than shocked to discover the damage that occurred on that day. Initially, when you hear of 9/11 you see the planes flying into the building but you sort of forget as to what the after effects looks like. The wreckage is unlike I have ever seen before, I look at the photos and a sense of loss, if I can call it that, overcomes me and I have a vague sense of understanding how one must feel losing their loved ones. There are no words you can tell someone who lost their loved one in that tragedy.

As I mentioned earlier, I cannot recall the horror of that day however through looking at the images, the videos, the essays, I have a sense of how millions of individuals reacted to that event. Through archiving you are able to record information like never before and have it be accessible to millions of people for decades to come. Many Gen Yers who were not present at the time are able to look back and have a sense of what happened 14 years ago. Seeing many of the images are gut-wrenching and gives you an idea of how people felt at the time which can be said for any photo that brings you back to a specific time period. I think that is what new media does seamlessly; it allows you have a behind the scenes look at an event that you would have never gotten the opportunity to see. It would remain a mystery and new media gives you that lens you need. I think another affordance of new media is it allows an opportunity to desensitize certain conversations and gives it a chance to be discussed however there are always other constraints that it gives rise to.

The events of that day did not separate Americans, it joined them together, race, gender, and sexuality was not of consideration and did not divide them. It is a shame that tragedy is sometimes the only way for people to hold hands and come together.

I’ll never have a chance to see New York City as what it once was and maybe I don’t need to. Now, it is far more important to recognize the resiliency that Americans have and to admire it and be a part of it. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to feel entirely what it means to be an American but I am a human being and as a human being I have an idea of what that loss feels like. I have to give a nod to the Digital Archive because it gave me a chance to experience what occurred that day. The development of new media will always bring a opportunity to try to understand the past however how do we truly internalize those emotions and try to start the conversation which I hope will bring a chance to heal and change this world for a better one. I am curious to know if the social media channels we have available to us now, how would that have impacted an event like that– I guess we will never know and maybe we don’t need to. . .


The Tragedy that Rocked the Nation…

The morning of September 11, 2001 was any other school day for me, eager to be in school and to learn something new that day. But what I couldn’t help but do while my teacher was conducting the lesson was stare out the window as an abundance of smoke clouded the sky. I didn’t realize it then but that was the moment the towers had fallen. No later than thirty minutes did my teacher inform us that school was ending early and our parents were coming to pick us up. I was eager to see my mom because it just so happens to be her birthday but she wasn’t smiling. The whole walk home she didn’t talk to me or tell me what was going on. It was only when I walked into the house with the television already on and the news coverage right before my eyes.

I was just speechless. I sat in front of the television listening, watching, taking it all in and in that moment I began sobbing, thinking where is my dad and my older sister who worked in the vicinity. My mom took a seat next to me on the floor and hugged me tight and we sat there with our eyes glued on the news coverage for hours. I didn’t know what to think let alone what my mother would be thinking but it didn’t take long for all my fears to come to a halt when both my father and sister walked through the front door. I couldn’t be more happy to see them in that moment but my heart was still hurting.

Days went by, weeks even and everyone still struggled to make sense of the tragedy that befell on us. The footage of firefighters searching through the rubble for bodies was disheartening and even the loss of my teachers’ cousin made it difficult to go on and live a normal life. This event made me appreciate my loved ones more and for those that lost theirs, my heart goes out to them every year on this day. It’s one that should never be forgotten and I think the September 11 Digital Archive succeeds in doing just that.

The archive is a digital tool for any and everyone to mourn the loss, honor the brave and always remember but never forget. The pictures, videos, faces of different people from all walks of life that flood the computer screen is overwhelming but the realization of this tragedy is evident. Yes, every year on September 11th I am happy to celebrate my mother’s birthday but I also like to take the time out to remember what the nation lost as a whole. With the archive operating, there is no amount of information that cannot be viewed to remind us all of what we’ve gone through but also persevered in moving forward with our lives while still remembering. This is one digital tool that has the power to imprint history into the lives of thousands with just a few clicks of a mouse.

Blog #2 – 9/11 Digital Archive

*******************Warning – for the strong hearted***************************

I thought it only fitting to start with this video and I would like to say how sorry I am to those who suffered a personal loss on 9/11.  My heart goes out to those who are still struggling with the pain even after all this time.  But the fact is that we all suffered a loss.  As a nation on a whole, we were robbed of our security and our right to live our lives. There is no way to completely sum up the affects that 9/11 had on our nation but to say that it has truly reshaped our lives would not be an understatement.  That’s why we will never forget.  But, if we are to remember it, then the September 11 Digital Archive is honoring this tragedy in the best possible way.  As an archive that collects, preserves, and presents the history of the September 11 attacks, it has become one of the largest digital repositories of historical materials.

Image result for September 11 Digital Archive  Image result for September 11 Digital Archive

But the unique thing about the September 11 Digital Archive is its ability to conflate such a devastating strategy into the framework of digital media.  With digital items, emails, and first-hand stories, the archive is an amazing resource of media.  From an array of pictures that features first-had responders, to voices of 9/11: a collection of personal video testimonies featuring participants talking about their memory of 9/11 in their own words and language, it captures the very essence of the destruction and tragedy.  Making the content of the website user generated, provides a means to connect with others.  In a world of participatory culture, its success is that viewers can become partakers in the collaboration of its content.

“Where were you on September 11, 2001 when you heard the news? This is the question presented on the Anniversary Collection digital archive.  Well, if you were alive and old enough, chances are you know exactly where you were.  Reading some of the personal accounts in the archive really touched me as I too remember that day so well.  My son was just six months old and that morning, the first thing I did was turn on the tv and played a video for him to watch (Barney-the purple dinosaur).  I had no idea what was happening until a friend called and told me to switched to the news.  That was the day that I realized just how important it was to know what was happening in the world. Before then, I didn’t care much if it didn’t affect me.  I have always felt bad that I missed the actual moment of impact (at least with the second tower).  From then I vowed the news will always be the first thing I watch every morning.

But news media back in 2001 was very different from the news today.  It use to be that the only interaction we had as viewers was to watch the television.  Unless you were around and called over for an interview, there was no real interaction.  The news was broadcasted and we received it.  But a change in platforms resulted in a shift in power.  Digital and social media platforms have dramatically changed the way we interact.  Now, we live in a world where everything is instant.  Sharing and collaboration has made the news more accurate and factual and mainstream media coverage has given relevance to what we have to say.  So we, as the former audience, have now become the anchors and editors. Instead of being controlled by the media, we now have control of the media.

This new phenomenon has ushered in a society where we subscribe to constantly updated content and function as part of a larger collaborative social movement.  For 9/11, that means visitors own stories become part the exibitions and builds a framework for ongoing communication.  So whether it’s experiences like the one World Trade Center where visitors to the observatory experience the digital screen in the elevator or the National September 11 Memorial & Museum where guests are invited to handwrite notes in a digital guest book that projects their messages onto a large projection screen,

what’s clear is that technology is being used to memorialize those lost in 9/11 and their memory will live on through generations.


September 11th Digital Archive


If I’m being completely honest, September 11, 2001 is not the clearest day in my memory. I was five years old and the most exciting thing going on was starting first grade and getting a puppy a few months before. As every morning goes, my father would take me to school before rushing to work as a carpenter. There was nothing unusual about the day until my class was told that we would be leaving early and that we were to wait for our parents quietly. I was the last student to leave. Years later I was told he worked just six blocks away from the south tower. 689ce821238c14b4b7eaf31b0f4737ddThat day he had to walk back to Brooklyn because every train was shut down. The week following was filled with new articles and videos of the tragic events that occurred. It wasn’t until some years later that I fully understood the loss that the world endured. Interestingly enough, throughout high school I would spend two hours a week at Goldman Sachs for a business program. Throughout the four years that I went, I watched the Freedom Tower and the memorial grow from the ashes of building I can’t completely remember. Every week I would stare at the unfinished buildings and wonder how something so beautiful could come from such destruction.

The 9/11 digital archive is the most shocking collection of photos that I have seen regarding the topic. It shows both the overly publicized news version and the personal photos and accounts that were never heard. The first time I attempted to go through the archive, I was immediately hit with images of people stumbling out of rubble, hard working men and women trying to rescue as many as possible, and many faces of pain and agony. Within a minute I couldn’t handle any more than I’d already seen. For the first time in fourteen years, to have all of this information with so much understanding of the events was overwhelming. In thinking of the emotions of the families that were directly impacted, this archive cannot be helpful. It is a constant reminder of the loss and pain that thousands have felt and an example of the fear that many Americans still feel today.

The aggregation of this information is monumental in the recording of such a tragic event. To create the ability to constantly add on and view both the censored and uncensored collection from 9/11 gives the people complete control over how the event is remembered for centuries going forward. For someone that was so young at the time, to be able to look back and see what I couldn’t understand so many years ago brings a deeper sense of respect.  As I look back through the archive to finish this post, I can’t help but think how much has changed from 2001 to now. So much more information is easily accessible but the pain it represents can never fully be translated by technology.

Blog 2- 9|11 Digital Archive

The 9|11 digital archive is a one of it’s kind view of the terror attacks that rocked New York and the rest of the nation. We got to see the events unfold through the eyes of the media but the media (as they do with everything else) shoots through a filtered lens. When i browsed the archive i focused mainly on the photography and portraits of the events. Being a lover of photography that strikes me the most.

This site is a more personal view of the events, instead of one generic press story it is a unique combination of photo’s and tangible artifacts from that fateful day. All of this data is a modern day scrap book, a way for my daughter and future grandkids to look back and learn about that day, a way to truly see how it effected people and changed the world. Piece by piece each picture, of first responders, employees in the towers, people passing through you can see the worry, exhaustion and sorrow in their eyes. Thats not all you saw though, you saw triumphs of human compassion, spirit, and love. This material is real, its not censored for CNN or FOX its the accounts from people who stood in the wake of the biggest devastation on american soil. When i look at these pictures some i remember from the media, from reading TIME magazine and some that my teachers and professors used in future years. I think in some respects this is a raw view that some people may find too painful to look at. I watched a portion of the names being read this morning and even 14 years later you can see the pain, the emptiness people still carry around.

Last summer i visited the 9|11 memorial with my daughter and best friend and it was probably one of the most serene places i’d ever visited. Even my daughter (who was four at the time) knew or sensed the ambiance of the memorial and didn’t once run, yell out or climb on anything. It is truly a gorgeous and beautifully made memorial to those who unknowingly went to work that day and never made it home.

14 years ago i was 11 years old, a 6th grader in math class when other students in my class suddenly started getting picked up one by one. The teacher looked worried and paced back and forth but never told us what had happened. When my mom finally came for me she too looked panicked and worried, it wasn’t until we were home that she sat me down and told me what went on but not to tell my siblings who were 5 and 7 at the time. I remember her calling my dad ever hour or so because he had a birds eye view of the towers from his job across the river in Brooklyn, sometimes she’d cover her face and go in the other room. She never let us watch more than 5 minutes of the news in the coming weeks and it wasn’t until i was a senior in high school that i fully realized why. Images, even some from the archive were so heartbreaking that she felt it would damage our innocence and unscarred view of the world. I do remember though how rapidly the world changed around me after that. A few months later we went to florida and i remember seeing men with rifles in the airport and having to take my shoes and sweatshirt off to go through security. I remember seeing the dogs and the army in the train station when i went to the city with my dad. At the time it made me feel safe, that nothing bad could happen if these guys were around right? Now as an adult with a child of my own i understand my moms reasoning even more and i also feel her fear for the world her kids were being raised in. Ava is 6 now and she’s been on countless trips, on numerous airplanes and i think about the fact that she doesn’t know or remember a time when security wasn’t such a huge issue, a time before everything we did was watched, she’ll never know that. I try not to think about the way the world is now or how it may get worse, i try not to let ava be subjected to the evils of the world we live in though i know one day she’ll look at things like the 9|11 digital archive and know that the world in which we live is a turbulent and scary place but also one filled with human triumph and understanding.

The September 11th Digital Archive.


The day, September 11th 2001 has a different meaning for all of us. Some of us were in  our first day of a new school year, some of us were in different parts of the country maybe even different parts of the world, but one thing is for sure we all  felt a wave of change. The day for me is not quite the same as it is for a lot of people but it is still imprinted in my mind. I was living in the Caribbean island of Barbados at the time with my aunt. I had started a new school year and like every day after school I was in a hurry to return home to watch my afternoon cartoons. The day was hotter than usual. I remember the hot island air, the must, the salted winds, and the sweat dripping down my face as I raced home. When I opened the door to my aunts house, I was greeted to the smell of food being made and the sound of Soca music. I shut the radio off, dropped my bag, took my shoes off and quickly proceeded to turn on the TV as to not miss anymore of my cartoon programs. To my surprise I was not watching Sitting Ducks but a news program. Now for me this was a weird phenomenon since we had one television channel and that channel stuck to a very consistent schedule. I remember my confusion about what I was witnessing due to the fact that after telling my aunt she told me it was a movie. It seemed as if it was one. The plane hit fast and hard, and the loop of incident was terrifying. But I was sure it was real, I knew it was, and when my aunt had confirmation from family in New Jersey that it was in fact real I felt an echo of change. For days the local channel only broadcast  the latest news and updates. I was too young to know its importance and why this was such a big deal but I felt saddened by the images that were flooded on my television. The stories of loss were horrific and those who were lucky enough to find their loved ones gave everyone watching hope. September 11th, 2001 was the day we all changed, our lives changed, New York changed, the way the world saw a group of people changed, and the way we captured this event changed the way we would go onto change how we digitally collect and preserve tragedies.

It will be 14 years tomorrow since those planes hit the towers and sent a ripple of change into the world. One of the biggest changes yet insignificant compared to the tragedy itself was the effect this incident had on the way we capture and digitally archive memories and even tragedy. “The September 11 Digital Archive”, saves as states on the header ‘the histories of September 11,2001’. Browsingtumblr_lrc1bwCOuT1qd2newo1_500 through the numerous photos, emails, art, audio, and video both personal and public seems in a way harmful. The constant reminder of such a painful event in my eyes does not help to heal those who were injured, those who mourn those they lost, or those whose interpretation of a certain group of people. When I look at this archive subjectively I can only feel the pain it resurfaces. Yes this was a monumental shift in the world and it changed many views but I think time changed and now instead of being reminded of that pain we should be looking not at what happened on that day but how far we have come since. Do not misconstrue my words, I am not saying we should forget what has happened but we should move forward more.

The fact of the matter is, that although I feel how I feel about this archive the aggregation of these stories, and data is not only necessary but important. The combination of these medias not only help as a reminder but as a learning guide. Those who were not alive during the time can see how the true strength of not only New Yorkers but of those effected around the world. By these stories, pictures, and art coming together we see how through the digitization of media are we able to connect and heal one another. Through this archive we are able to learn, teach, and have a representation of a tragic situation that not only helps historians account for this event but also accounts for the moment when history changed how it would be recorded in the twenty-first century. This archive represents the new era in preserving, collecting and writing about history. Artifacts have been redefined as per technology and in this case every picture made, every video recorded, each e-mail that was sent during those final moments are now preserved for years to come. As to return to the idea that this archive has redefined the idea of an artifact so has it with the idea or concept of a report. This archive is has hyperactivity, hyperlinked, and constantly evolvingNew_World_Trade_Center_Viewed_From_Northeast. The constant growth is what differentiates it from a static report. The input is not just of academic research but also from everyday people who have suffered or witnessed the events that took place on September 11th, 2001.

Fourteen years and the day has managed not only to change the way we see the world but how we go about preserving the memories of it. September 11th, 2001 was a tragic day not only for those who lost someone but for those who have had to live through the events it triggered. We all carry a piece of that day with us. We all contribute to its memory and how we move forward each day since. We have rebuild and moved forward and in a sense since that day we have been pushed into capturing events and making sure they can be accounted for because on that day we were reminded how fragile life is. The affordances of this archive outweigh the constraints of it and even though I started to write this response with the bias that I believe we should put it all past us from the archive was I able to see why we might never be able to. This new media source has changed how will interpret that day and how future generations will as well.

Response Blog #2: The September 11 Digital Archive

One of the texts you will be working with this week is the The September 11 Digital Archive. You should browse through the website, which (in its own words),

“uses electronic media to collect, preserve, and present the history of September 11, 2001 and its aftermath. The Archive contains more than 150,000 digital items, a tally that includes more than 40,000 emails and other electronic communications, more than 40,000 first-hand stories, and more than 15,000 digital images. In September 2003, the Library of Congress accepted the Archive into its collections, an event that both ensured the Archive’s long-term preservation and marked the library’s first major digital acquisition.”

After browsing this crowdsourced, multimodal archive, you should blog a response/reflection to 9/11 (categorize it under “The September 11 Digital Archive”).

This Friday is the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the day holds different (and often quite personal and emotional) meanings for each of us. Therefore, the exact nature of this blog is up to you. You should in some way respond to your experience and reading of The September 11 Digital Archive, thinking about it both as a new media text and an archive of a tragic event (this is a very challenging task, to try to look at this both objectively and subjectively).

What does it mean to aggregate all of these stories, all of this data about the event? How do these stories, together, represent an overall picture of the event’s unfolding? How do the materials in this archive differ from other types of reports on the event? etc. However, I encourage you to pair this response with a personal reflection about the 9/11 events or their aftermath and/or a discussion of an article or media about the event (if you choose this approach, please try to link to the text … there will be a lot of media discussion about 9/11 due to the upcoming anniversary of the attacks). If you’ve been to the 9/11 memorial you can blog about your experiences there as well.

This assignment is really is an open-ended post that encourages you to bring in your own experiences/reflections and to use a variety of media (whether images, audio, video, links to other sites) to describe those experiences and reflections.