Sarah Clayton: Making Modern America: Discovering the Great Depression and New Deal

Hello! I’m a Digital Scholarship Specialist at the University of Oklahoma Libraries, where I support faculty and students interested in working on any component of digital scholarship from finding resources, to using and selecting tools for analysis, and finally to sharing their work. I’m very excited to be participating in the Six Shooters Session.

During the session, I’ll be presenting on the Making of Modern America: Discovering the Great Depression and New Deal. This project was the vision of Dr. David Wrobel and Dr. Keith Gaddie and realized through a close collaboration with OU Libraries. The goal was for students to not only learn about the 1930s but also become creators of new knowledge through undertaking original research projects centered around their local communities and sharing their findings in online exhibits complete with archival and modern photographs, documents, videos, interactive maps, and text. To accomplish this, I, along with other librarians, facilitated weekly workshops instructing the students on how to perform archival and field research, conduct oral histories, create interactive maps, and use Omeka to create online exhibits. Currently, we have eleven exhibits available online: five focused on New Deal funded construction projects in central Oklahoma and six recreating driving tours from Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State originally published in 1941. While the students’ final projects were impressive, I was especially struck by how the digital projects enriched their educational experiences and engagement with the course material and our wonderful special collections. We are hoping to repeat a version of this course and expand the website in the future.

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