I would like nothing more than for people to be able to easily research their own history, or whatever history they like. However, I wouldn’t wish such documents to be fully digitised and therefore seemingly devalued.
I think that is the price of the internet and virtual reality – when something becomes fully available to all who have access to the internet, it appears to go down in value. If its not exclusive, then it no longer seems special.
I think it would be marvelous to have ancient documents and the like to be available online, but it isn’t the same as having the original, paper copy in your hands, or otherwise in front of you. I think that such a transition would have to be carefully monitored, people can argue over the pros and cons of kindles and online versions of paper items, but in reality the world is moving on. We have to put aside this argument and acknowledge the pros of both sides, and then work to preserve both sides. Because although having it available to all would be incredibly useful and I think would help inspire people to be engaged with their own history, the context of documents could be lost if they were only online, and the significance and reverence of the past could, I feel, be carelessly disregarded.
So, while archives need to become more accessible to further engagement, they cannot be over done. I fear that such an instance would breed feelings of detachment to history, something which shouldn’t be taken for granted, after all, it is peoples lives we are talking about, and ultimately what has led us to be where we are.