The Planet Bethlehem Archive brings together an important collection of digital material documenting the global influences that have shaped Bethlehem’s development. The bulk of this material has been compiled by project partner Leila Sansour over ten years of documentary research in Bethlehem, but it also includes a substantial collection of digitised images from the Library of Congress (Washington DC) as well as a series of memoirs, diaries and business records collected by the PI Jacob Norris during his research on Bethlehem’s merchant migrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Together these materials make up the archive’s starting collection, but it is also designed to ingest future materials from people all over the Bethlehem diaspora, as well as from relevant institutional collections. Through theses channels the archive will fill a pressing need for a single digital space where materials relating to Bethlehem’s richly varied history and contemporary culture can be shared and accessed. It should be noted that this is not a born digital archive: this is an archive of digital reproductions of analogue objects.
The starting collection and future materials will be stored and freely accessible to the public though the University of Sussex’s online data repository (known as SURE), which is managed by the Figshare data storage system. The archive is an open access resource that makes available to the public thousands of images, video/audio recordings and digital 3D models. Samples of the collections will be made available before the archive’s initial collection is ready for launch in autumn 2018.
See our project website Merchants and Miracles: Global Circulations and the Making of Modern Bethlehem for more information.