3.22.’17 Digital Archives

Digital Archives are a new thing, though they are not new to me. I grew up with many types of online and digital storage being introduced to me at a young age. So the idea that collections of information can exist in a digital format is not alien to me personally but it is still very new to the traditional archivists who have run official collections of documents. Collections like those in our Special Collections at Ramsey Library. What digital archives offer that Special Collections cannot is wide access. Yes anyone can visit SC during their odd weekly hours but online resources are accessible to anyone with a computer and internet connection. That is the most prominent argument I have heard for digitizing collections. However, once the information is out there, interpretations tend to take over as well as copyright infringement. The more people publish and handle the collections, the more the context is changed. The more people have access to the collection, the higher the possibility that someone will skip the tedious step of citing their sources. So yes, digital archives are more available and spread information to more people but that means they are also more likely to be mis-handled.

One thing I found very interesting was a quote from the New Yorker article saying “The user of the electronic library would be able to bring together ‘all texts—past and present, multilingual—on a particular subject,’ and, by doing so, gain ‘a clearer sense of what we as a civilization, a species, do know and don’t know.” This stuck out to me because Anthony Grafton presented this as a positive possibility for the future of digital archives. However, I think many people who were raised with these technologies believe we are already there. We know everything and it is just a matter of finding it. That is not true at all but the idea that the internet is vast and immeasurable is also a very prominent idea for people of my generation. We take that to mean that all we need is online. I think this sentiment discourages students from looking for information elsewhere.

Therefore digital archives have to complement physical archives. It seems silly that this should even be said aloud and not assumed, especially for history! Now as we continue into the information revolution, more and more archivable things will only exist in digital formats and may not have physical collections to complement. I believe we are a long way off from that though and in the field of history, we will never reach that point.

To speak about the collections and websites posted on our syllabus, they were first and foremost much nicer than our project. I reviewed the September 11 Digital Archive and the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. Both projects were attempting to preserve the experiences, not just facts, of major and tragic happenings in our current history. I thought that these projects, since they seem to be driven by compassion for the people involved, were very heart touching and thought provoking. I am not sure that our project has the same tone to it. I also expected these websites to be the actual collections but the 9/11 website also operated as a place to collect information and experiences. If I could do a digital archive on my project I would say that it ought to be in companion with other major festivals that celebrate Appalachian culture. Our most unique feature is our audio files and so i feel those would take special collecting as well as organizing.


3.22.’17 Group Meeting

Before the meeting, we compiled a list in Special Collections yesterday of questions and concerns that we have as our first deadline is approaching. As a group we are really feeling very overwhelmed and a bit lacking direction. I think this is due to how much information we have.

Meeting Notes:

  • General About page for each tab, then two or three things within each, you may list several but only concentrate on a few under each topic.
  • keep it manageable because you have an un-manageable amount of material. We need to ‘whittle’
  • Catherine: Go to Sasha in the Media Lab for questions on how to upload audio files to Google Drive. The games students should need to second the video choices for digitization. Choose what videos you think might be most useful to them and then let them know what they have to do to use them. Email Sasha about the VHS digitizing process and what exactly the games students would have to do.
  • Andrea: Scanned a lot of images so far and has been responsible for base-history and dancing history. She is struggling with citations and with the dates on some of the documents.
  • Ethan: Box research and primarily working on the website. Do not allow him to work on the website alone as that is not fair and not the assignment. Catherine and Andrea should be handling the pages that they are doing the research for.
  • Andrea: How do we cite sources on the website, citation page or footnotes? It is up to us. Reference the Century America cites because they did both. Decide as a group which you like best.
  • We are turning in the Website as finished as possible. As much text as you can, focus on the text and research. If you can get Timeline JS up as well, then that can also be proof read. But we want to make sure that links work and that images load properly.
  • We will be meeting with Com.Sci. students every Friday in the computer lab for the remainder of the semester.

Feeling a lot better now. I realized we were focusing on too much info and it is okay to narrow it down. It is also nice to know that the website is our focus, especially text, and I can drop the idea of analyzing each piece of music.

Thank you Dr. Pearson!

3.12.2017 End of Week 8

Our group is barreling through the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival Collection. Andrea especially has been doing so much work in Special Collections. Ethan, since he does not have a mobile computer, has taken on the computer aspect of this project. His limited schedule allows him less time in Special Collections but plenty of time at the computer elsewhere. Even so, he has still found time to make it to the library. I have been put in charge of music. I have discovered that we have about 7 VHS tapes, 4 audio tapes (2 of which have been digitized), and 4 CDs that have not be processed. These all have to be previewed to make sure they are worth digitizing for our project. During my internship time in Special Collections I have been listening to the tapes and CD as background music. Watching the videos take undivided attention though. While the audio tapes can be digitized in Special Collections, VHS tapes must be digitized downstairs in the Media Center. Both types of tapes must digitize in real time twice so the process is time consuming. Though we are struggling to find a time for all of us to meet, it seems that we have all been working consistently. One area we really ought to work more on is the Contract.

Class Time and Readings: 3.8.’17

Class Notes:

Blog about “13, Right Now: This is What it’s Like to Grow Up in the Age of Likes, LOLs, and Longing”  (J. Contrera, Washington Post, May 25, 2016)  and “Digital Identities: Six Key Selves of Networked Publics,”  (B. Stewart, The Theory Blog, May 6, 2012)

Answer Questionnaire by the end of Spring Break

Video Notes: Digital Identity Practices

What resonates with you and how you use social media?  I suppose that the performative self and the branded self are descriptive of me. I tend to post things that i think are funny, that I think show off my abilities, and that raise social-justice issues. But I do not entirely understand all these different selves and how they separate from each other. Where would body-positivity fall? Hobby based posts? social-justice and current-event involvement? What about religion or just nothing but meme  posts? Where does the person who posts nothing about themselves but tons of memes fall!? I am a bit confused about how anyone meets a signal standard and how we would not fall under all of them.

What can you relate to the Washington Post article about Katherine? I think Katherine would fall into which ever identity is the most contrived. I was absolutely amazed at how she formulated her whole online presence around how she appeared to others with the goal of getting likes. I have always used my profiles as sort of an archive. It seems that the purpose of social media has changed from cataloging your life online (as it was in 2009 – 2013 when I was active) to a 25-photo-or-less description of a person.

Which key self that she mentions might be the most foreign to you? Again, I do not really understand the key selves. However, I can identify online habits that I do not understand. My primary one is the desire to beautify your image or sexualize yourself. Today, this is often done through twerking, dancing, or selfies. Let me be very clear though, I do not mean to say that these are not valid forms of self expression. The people who do these things are talented, very knowledgeable of advanced technology, and absolutely beautiful. I mean only to say that I have never felt comfortable portraying myself through those same mediums. Whichever key self covers that need to appear attractive or sexy would be foreign to me.


Since my last post our group has now met several times in Special Collections to discuss our project. We are slowly finding our way through the collection but since we have not been able to meet together recently, we have not made many changes to our plan or contract. At the beginning the contract assignment seemed very vague and open-ended. I am so relieved that we met in groups with Dr. Pearson to further go over the form. In both our own research and in our contract, it is very important that we recognize our focuses. I believe we ought to do that this week and should meet next week to work together. Unfortunately, the idea of shared notes is not catching on. I deeply regret that as it would make it so much easier for us to work separately. Hopefully, one we identify our own topics, we will not need to depend so heavily on each others notes.

Week 5: Digital History Tools

Let me begin this post by saying this assignment is late and I am very sorry for that. Here is the link to my timeline example. I used the timeline that I have been developing for my thesis class on the Citizens Against Clearcutting the Asheville Watershed organization. I hope there is no problem using this as a timeline example. I have been using timeline for  a while now and in several classes. However, this is the largest project I have ever conducted on JS Knight timeline and the reason which I am comfortable using the program. Here is the link to the very short experiment I did with the JS Story Map. I found this map kind of clunky and mildly user-friendly. I had many of the same reservations about Story Map as I did with Timeline.

2.10.2017 Group Meeting

This is the last meeting with all the groups until after spring break, 3.24.2017. We have discovered that the majority of the music file we would like to work with are actually housed at UNCA! They just had not been processed yet. Luckily, we were able to digitize 4 CDs worth of the music but there is still a good bit to go. Also, we have not thoroughly listened to or identified the music on those discs. So our goal as Digital History Students are to finish analyzing the collection, digitize the music, listen and identify the tracks, and finally choose a focus!

The ultimate goal is to be able to present all the information and digitized stuff that the Computer Science students need to get started. We do have a pretty cool idea growing of a Dance-Dance-Revolution version but that it definitely still in the works. We also created a shared Google file which the Computer Science  students let us know is the best way to share music files.

Quick Check-In

Mr. Hyde has contacted the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival (MDFF) in order to request permission to publish anything in the collection. He believes this is significant enough contact and did not advise any further discussion. I think it would be nice to announce the final project to the MDFF committee at the end of the semester so that they may view it before it becomes public. I am not sure how that would happen and have not discussed it with the group. I am just throwing around ideas!

We have officially started digging through the collection. We will be meeting in Special Collections every Tuesday, if Mr. Hyde approves, from 8:15am to 9:45am as a group. We will also visit individually. After we get through Box 6, which Mr. Hyde says is the crux of the collection, we will fully identify our topic and delegate tasks. As of now, we are leaning towards focusing on Bascom Lamar Lundsford but since we would like to work with music, we will be limited to which audio files we have access too. It seems like there are less audio files than we thought were available at the Mars Hill archives. However, the MDFF collection here is not fully processed and we were able to find some audio and DVDs that could be digitized. That will also happen soon.

To Do:

  • Fully analyze Box 6
  • digitize any audio and video files
  • begin group wordpress site
  • identify a focus topic and begin collecting information.