Digitized archival collections are going nowhere. Any historian conversant with archival debates will be aware of this. The pressure for “more product less process” and the backlogs in many repositories combined with the neo-liberal economy of higher education in which access for consumers often trumps all other concerns means that digitizing documents and putting them online will continue to be viewed as a good thing by many powers that be.
For me, it often is. However, as a researcher, or rather as I learned to say among archivists, a user, of digitized archival things, I’ve realized a few things that go beyond the focus on keyword searches that has characterized much debate over using digitizing archives.