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Historical document

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Title: Historical document  
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Subject: Media preservation, Archival science, Text corpus, Princeton University Press, Manuscript culture
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Historical document

A Gutenberg Bible on display at the US Library of Congress

Historical documents are documents that contain important information about a person, place, or event.

Most famous historical documents are either laws, accounts of battles (often given by the victors or persons sharing their viewpoint), or the exploits of the powerful. Though these documents are of historical interest, they do not detail the daily lives of ordinary people, or the way society functioned. Anthropologists, historians and archeologists generally are more interested in documents that describe the day-to-day lives of ordinary people, indicating what they ate, their interaction with other members of their households and social groups, and their states of mind. It is this information that allows them to try to understand and describe the way society was functioning at any particular time in history.

Many documents that are produced today, such as personal letters, pictures, contracts, newspapers, and medical records, would be considered valuable historical documents in the future to such people. However most of these will be lost in the future since they are either printed on ordinary paper which has a limited lifespan, or even stored in digital formats then lost track over time.

Some companies and government entities are attempting to increase the number of documents that will survive the passage of time, by taking into account the preservation issues, and either printing documents in a manner that would increase the likelihood of them surviving indefinitely, or placing selected documents in time capsules or other special storage environments.

See also

External links

  • Internet History Sourcebooks Project See also Internet History Sourcebooks Project. Collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts presented cleanly (without advertising or excessive layout) for educational use.
  • WWW-VL: History Central Catalogue first history on the WWW, located at European University Institute
  • BBC History Site
  • [1] History Podcast Network
  • List of American Historical documents
  • American Historical Documents from the Harvard Classics Collection
  • Library of Congress
  • [2]Some of America's historical documents from the NARA]
  • The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History
  • AmDocs: Documents for the Study of American History
  • Association for Documentary Editing, an organization of scholars publishing historical documents
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