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Abstract

Just before commercialization of the Internet, corporate archives communicated with the public via museums and exhibits, books and articles, educational curricula, television, anniversary publications, and nostalgic packaged goods. By 1996, as growing numbers of companies experimented with their first Web sites, corporate archivists such as Philip F. Mooney at Coca-Cola found a new, “unparalleled opportunity for outreach.” Mooney and his colleagues at Chevron, Ford Motor, J.C. Penney, Levi Strauss, Texas Instruments, and Wells Fargo were among those contributing early content to company Web sites, such as the J.C. Penney “History Page,” with its illustrated timeline, founder’s biography,video clip, and museum/archives contact information. A decade later, Company History sections of one or more Web pages are common—only seventeen of the Fortune 100 companies of 2008 did not have one on their Web sites—and maturing, as content and design refresh to engage repeat visitors and incorporate changing technology. If a company has an archives program, its Company History section often extends beyond a timeline to share legacy collections, activities, and communications with the public. This outreach on company Web sites is little discussed in archival literature, as studies of corporate archives and technology tend to focus inward on serving clients within the company.

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