South Asian American Digital Archive
Reviewed by: Emily Maanum
Review started: February 15, 2021
Review finished: April 18, 2021
Data and Sources
- Oral histories
- Sources provided by the public
- Archive items were tagged according to type, language, theme, time period, source, location, and collection
- Each item was provided with metadata and descriptions
- Each item’s provenance is listed
- Archived audio files and correspondence material were transcribed, and transcripts are included on website and within SAADA projects
- A website describing the archive and the purpose and goals of the archive
- The website includes pages related to events as well as information on how to get involved and donate
- Digital archive is part of the website; users can browse and interact with the variety of materials available
- Each item of the archive has its own page with its metadata, description, and other relevant information
- The archive’s other projects have websites accessible through the main site
Digital Tools Used to Build It
- Information not prominently displayed on site
- SAADA’s website, archive, and projects are presented in English, but their archive includes material of multiple languages, namely American Sign Language, Arabic, Bengali, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu
The South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) is a nonprofit organization, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that works nationally to collect, preserve, and share stories that represent the diverse experiences of South Asian Americans. Their collection of more than 4,000 items is the largest publicly accessible archive of South Asian American history. The archive’s website hosts a variety of projects, which include an online magazine, two oral history and community archive projects, and a walking tour, as well as other initiatives.
The SAADA website has a page dedicated to the exploration of the totality of its archive. They offer a variety of ways to browse the archive. For example, viewers can browse by time periods, languages, item types, and even themes like Political Engagement and Gender and Sexuality. There is a wide range of material that comprise the archive. This includes ephemera, photographs, oral histories, correspondence, moving images and more. All the material is easy to find and publicly accessible. The website also lists a variety of events that relate to the South Asian American experience.
Overview of SAADA Projects
Tides is SAADA’s online magazine, and it presents diverse voices and interesting insights into the experiences of the South Asian American community. New articles are posted about once a week.
Revolution Remix is a walking and sound tour “of historic Philadelphia through the lens of South Asian American history.” The purpose of the project is to help create an immersive experience that helps listeners see Philadelphia from a potentially different perspective.
The Road Trips Project “aims to reframe a major American tradition” by collecting and sharing images and stories from South Asian Americans. The project looks to include these stories, which are often excluded. The project’s website gives viewers an option to explore these stories through a photo gallery or a view of a map, which displays the various routes and pictures associated with peoples’ trips. The website also has a link to a submission page where individuals can share their stories by filling out a form and uploading a picture.
The First Days Project “shares the stories of immigrants’ and refugees’ first experiences in the United States.” The project was created in recognition of the fact that these stories and experiences were not previously being systematically gathered. The project’s website gives the option of browsing stories by map, gallery, or random. It also has a tab that highlights recently added and most viewed stories. The website also has a link to a page where individuals can upload their story. They accept audio, video, and text files, and participants may also provide their own transcript.