“‘It would be remarkably convenient for the historian,’
the Psychologist suggested. ‘One might travel back and verify
the accepted account of the Battle of Hastings, for instance!‘”
Hold a letter written 200 years ago in your hand. You feel as though you've stepped back in time. But it's not always easy to get your hands on documents from the past if you're not close to an archive. The Queen Elizabeth II Library has found a solution. No, they haven't built a time machine — but they've created the next best thing.
The Digital Archives Initiative (DAI) was launched in February 2008. To date, more than 80,000 documents, audio files and videos have been saved digitally and are accessible through the library's website. No matter where students, researchers or just the curious-minded live, they now have free and open access to the past at their fingertips. The DAI may not transport you to the future, but it's bringing the past into the 21st century.