The digital archive I selected was AIDS posters collection [descriptive]. You may refer to the link here:

Preconceptions of the digital archive will be the various promotional efforts made by different places on how to educate the audience on AIDS-prevention. This set of data reflects the medical, social, and visual history throughout the years. I thought this was an interesting collection to pick and analyse on considering how AIDS is considered to be a sensitive topic to talk about. The impact this disease made on the history of medicine aside, the implications on social history can be seen in this collection –  from the various poster designs, symbolising how different countries approached the subject.

Generally, as the posters are meant to inform audience of the disease back in the days, some of which are informative in terms of what preventive measures can be done – usually abstinence. The posters were also designed in a very generic way since originally they were meant to reach a very diverse audience considering no one knew anything about AIDS back in the days.


Image published between 1987-1999, aimed to suggest the use of condoms while having sex. Origin of poster was from Austria.

It was only in the year 1985 when the epidemic of STDs and AIDS reached sky high, and then  after they discovered that condoms gave some protection, information of the posters started to focus more on prevention via the use of condoms. Refer to link: 


Image published between 1987-1994, aimed to suggest the use of condoms while having sex and/or performing of oral sex. Origin of poster was from Switzerland.aids-poster_1987-2004_canada

Image published between 1987-2004, aimed to inform the number of individuals suffering from AIDS, and how much money was allocated to the health care system. It seemed to be a poster seeking donations/funding for research purposes. Origin of poster was from Canada.

Other information that can be derived from this data set reflects the cultural differences towards AIDS at that point in time. In Switzerland, same-sex sexual activity was decriminalised nationwide in 1942 (refer to: whereas it was only until late 1990s Canada started to lift their discrimination against LGBT individuals. This can be seen in the two poster designs above – with the poster from Canada being more conservative and informative.

If I were to write a paper on this data set, I would most likely explore the various locations and/or channels these posters will be placed at. Considering how the posters were aimed to target a diverse audience, with specific posters for specific targeted  audiences, it will be interesting to note via which channel such posters will most likely gain the highest exposure and information absorption. A question to ask will be, “how can these posters be better discovered in places?” How can these posters be better designed or placed at to engage the individuals and thus inform them? It will be challenging since posters were usually placed in pubs/clubs with dim lighting to warn individuals looking for hookups. Additionally, one-way information flow will definitely not be enough if the official authorities will like to encourage individuals to not fear of discrimination and to attend frequent medical checks if possible. Answering these questions can help to understand how these processed information sources are presented.

Platform observations:

Going into this archive, I can first see the entire collection record with various categorisations by the side. A user can choose to view by coverage, language, personal/corporate name, subject, and/or type.

At first glance at the page, only information like the titles of the various posters can be seen. Although it also included the content type, but I thought it was self-explanatory that it will be image-based since it stated “posters collection” on the title. I would wish that information like the poster origin, or designer of the poster, and/or where the posters were released/put up at would be released instead.

Going into a specific poster, meta data like the title, alternate identifier, alternate title, geographic coverage, date, description, language, personal/corporate name, publisher, relation, subject and content can be found. Such information is also embedded with tags so the user can access other similar posters tagged with “France” as coverage origin, for instance. However, I feel that this digital archive does not tell its story well because I am unable to click on the image content to enlarge and see. For posters with such strong sentimental message to be sent out, the message cannot be conveyed with only via text. Although I read and understand the conceptual meanings behind the poster, the transcribed texts as shown, I wasn’t able to resonate well with the imagery with the lack of zoom-in and/or open image function.


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