Associate Curator, Congressional and Political Papers Archivist
West Virginia University
The archives of the United States Congress document the democratic process, the development of public policy, and multiple narratives related to the country’s social, cultural, and political development. Congressional archives provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, yet there are major barriers to their use, including being geographically dispersed, large, and complex collections. The American Congress Digital Archives Portal will provide open access to congressional archives by bringing together these geographically dispersed and civically important sources from multiple institutions into a single online portal using open-source software. The portal will illuminate the connections across collections, provide opportunities for new scholarship and civics and history education, and make the archives of the “People’s Branch” more equitably available to the people. A pilot of the project received a Humanities Collections and Reference Resources foundations grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2021-2022), and now the project is planning to scale up by increasing the number of partners and amount of content, as well as shifting from a content hosting to a harvesting model.