Tag Archives: transcribing

Stop the Presses: Final Project Redirect and Elevator Pitch

I would still love to develop a project based on the Slave Trade and primary sources; however, the plan has evolved significantly since my last update. In fact, it changed so much that I’ve redesigned entirely. In part, this is because I’ve had two important meetings this week with teachers with whom I am collaborating. Although the project has gone in a different direction, it is perhaps even better and certainly more tightly focused. The new topic, title, and digital project page?

Power of Persuasion: The Language and Legacy of Elizabeth I

Below find a description of the project’s different digital components. It’s a great mix of sources, learning styles, assessments, I believe it also fosters interdisciplinary learning and “uncoverage” as Dr. Calder would say. There is still much to be figured and fleshed out, but I think the foundation and framework is solid, and I feel more grounded as well. Project components will be completed throughout the year, one per quarter. I will enter and upload primary sources with Dublin Core data, instructions, and other miscellaneous items by the end of this summer term.

Short Description

This project seeks to explore primary sources related to Elizabeth I. The types of sources are divided into three spheres that consider audience, scope, purpose, and meaning.

Private (letters)
Public  (speeches)
Image  (portraits/photography)

Projects/Activities

1.  Transcription: Read primary sources and transcribe. Then, compare student transcription to published transcription. Harkness discussion on process and discrepancies. Student write blog reflection, which will form the basis of an Omeka collection and/or exhibit.

2.  Rhetorical analysis: Read letters/speeches and analyze the use of logos/ethos/pathos, and the Ciceronian order of arguments. The final product will be an essay, which will form the basis of an Omeka collection and exhibit. Student will input Dublin Core data for proper citation and scholarship.

3.  Image analysis: Make a podcast of a detailed “text” analysis of a painting of Elizabeth. Four portraits, students make podcasts in groups of four, each group discusses a different portrait. Podcasts will be represented as a collection and exhibit in Omeka.

4.  Modern Female Politician: Pick a 20th or 21st century woman in politics and read a private source, a public source, and analyze an image. Present findings of analysis via oral presentation with Google Slides. Presentation files will form the basis of an exhibit in Omeka.

Primary Sources

Private (letters):

Public (Speeches):

Image (portraits): Below find links four portraits completed during Elizabeth I’s life. At the bottom of the page you can navigate between three pages of portraits.

  • Pelican portrait
  • Ermine Portrait
  • Armada Portrait
  • Rainbow Portrait

My audience will still be high school students, as stated earlier — but the A.P. Language will tie in with more World History courses rather than U.S. history. However, there is still a U.S. component as part of the final assignment.

I’ve started an Omeka site with one small problem. I love the theme, but when I started adding items — a large “hero image” appeared on the homepage and I see no option to disable it. It throws off the formatting of the rest of the page. Perhaps Dr. Kelly can help, and I’ve also emailed Omeka.

Connecting the Public to Public History

Nam-ho Park, “A Half-Day Walk through Hanoi,” CC license

There are many implementations and activities that can connect the public to public history using online digital collections. As Sheila A. Brennan and T. Mills Kelly wrote in 2009, the digital humanities are comfortable with the “read-write web.” The Web 2.0 (or 1.5 as they call it) allows public historians to collect and share the stories and narratives of people through their direct participation. Digital history project also benefit from the volunteer efforts of people to identify and enhance their narratives, help to piece together the narratives of others, and provide valuable information and context.

A great example of this can be found in the project “Invisible Australians” that used a facial detection script, tagging, photos, and people to analyze the “White Australia Policy.” Other successful crowdsourcing and public history collaborations include Flickr Commons,  created as a “forum for institutions to share their rich photographic collections. . . and provide insights into how knowledge, skill, and abilities of librarians, archives, and museums can converge in the Web 2.0 environment to provide collection access to new. . . audiences,” (Smithsonian Team Flickr). The Smithsonian Institute’s collaboration is sharing its rich photo archive with Flickr Commons has created an amazing public-private partnership.

In this spirit, the following list includes the kinds of public history implementations and activities that having a basic digital collection enables. 

  1. Tagging, Identification
  2. Transcribing
  3. Exploration
  4. Social Media
  5. Contests
  6. Visual analysis
  7. Direct Collaboration
  8. Geo-spatial mapping (see image at top of post)
  9. Memory-making
  10. Storytelling

Omeka has emerged as the premier platform for open-source digital public history projects.  With a variety of templates, plug-ins, and customization options, most of the items on the above list can be achieved using Omeka’s open source web platform.  For my own project, I will be able to use information from and about historical markers in Nashville’s downtown core. This includes temporal and geographic locations, marker text, and related primary sources. These resources could ultimately be used to create explorations via walking tours, contests for users, storytelling via historical contextualization, direct user collaboration via tagging or identification, and social media. While many of these goals remain quite distant, the fluid nature of DH and the trajectory of rapidly advancing technology make these goals possible.

It remains important to consider several factors that remain critical to the long term usefulness, credibility, and sustainability of digital archives. First archival projects need to be clearly identified. There are many genres and meanings of the word “archive” as noted by Trevor Owen. Ranging from a records or storage management system to what some critics call “artificial collections,” properly defining the mission, scope, and function of an a digital archive is essential (What Do you Mean by Archive?). Likewise the issue of metadata is important. Metadata is not always exciting on its face, but it provides the foundation on which successful digital history projects depend. As the guide for “Describing Metadata” suggests: “Metadata is the glue which links information and data across the world wide web. It is the tool that helps people to discover, manage, describe, preserve and build relationships with and between digital resources” (Describing Metadata).

Coupled with high standards of historical scholarship, digital projects can produce and make available large collections that can be used to disseminate and distribute information to the greater public while also providing countless primary sources to current and future historians. As Dan Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig emphasized in Digital History, “Collecting history through digital archives can be far cheaper, larger, more diverse, and more inclusive than traditional archives. This democratization however, does not mean compromising the quality of the historical work.” (Why Collecting History Online is 1.5).

Works Cited:

Brennan, Sheila A., and T. Mills Kelly. “Why Collecting History Online is Web 1.5” Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. 2009.

JISC Digital Media. “Metadata: An Introduction.” (first section – “From Metadata: a definition” to “Metadata often reflects the community it has come from.”

Kalfatovic, Martin et al. “Smithsonian Team Flickr: a library, archives, and museums collaboration in web 2.0 space.” Archival Science (October 2009).

Owens, Trevor. “What Do You mean by Archive? Genres of Usage for Digital Preservers.” The Signal: Digital Preservation (blog), February 27, 2014.

Sherratt, Tim. “It’s All About the Stuff: Collections, Interfaces, Power, and People.” Journal of Digital Humanities 1.1 (Winter 2011).