Andrew Offenburger: SourceNotes and the Digitizing of Daniel Boone (with Raphael Folsom and John Stewart)

Greetings, all! In San Antonio I will present on a new system called SourceNotes (https://sourcenotes.miamioh.edu), an online platform that serves two purposes: it helps with the teaching of research to students at all levels, and it facilitates collaboration among scholars working on large research projects. Raphael Folsom and John Stewart (both of the University of Oklahoma) and I (Miami University) have teamed up to create this system based on two earlier projects we had developed simultaneously, each unaware of the other’s work.

We have used SourceNotes for our own research as well as in a number of classes, and though Raph and I do share interests in western/borderlands history, the application of the online platform extends beyond our particular fields of study. At the upcoming conference, we will demonstrate the system by showing how it was used to digitize the research notes of John Mack Faragher’s Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer, which will be available publicly within the next few months.

After seeing the kind of collaboration it fosters, we encourage you to think of the ways that you can work with others teaching and researching in similar fields via SourceNotes, and then to write to request a free account.

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Lauren Turek: Omeka and the Undergraduate Public History Classroom

Hello all! My name is Lauren Turek and I am an assistant professor of history at Trinity University, where I teach courses in modern American history, U.S. foreign relations, and public history. My undergraduate public history class offers students an introduction to the field, including readings that highlight major debates about issues such as shared authority or how to share controversial histories with the public, as well as a practical overview of the wide range of work that public historians do in various settings and institutions. The final project for the course, which students work on throughout the semester, is a collaborative digital exhibit of materials from the Trinity University Coates Library Special Collections and Archives. Creating a digital exhibit allows students in the class to put what they have learned about creating usable, engaging histories into practice, while also gaining key skills in exhibit design, website building, and oral and visual communications. My WHA talk will address the most recent exhibit that my students designed.

During the Spring 2018 semester, my class of 15 students used Omeka to devise and develop an online exhibit of materials from the Claude and ZerNona Black Papers. Reverend Claude Black and his wife ZerNona were leaders in the civil rights movement in San Antonio as well as in the Baptist church and larger community. The Trinity University Coates Library acquired the collection, which documents decades of the Claude and ZerNona Black’s activism and family life, in 2011.

After the students received an introduction to the collection and class time to explore the materials they would be using for the project, we came up with a set of key themes that the exhibit would cover. Based on these themes, I divided the class into five teams of three and worked with them as they developed the key takeaways and texts for their sections of the exhibit. Each team selected relevant documents, photographs, and objects from the archive to include in their section. At the end of the semester, we held a public exhibit opening at the Trinity University Coates Library where the teams presented on their parts of the exhibit, explaining how they had applied the lessons of the course to their exhibit design process. Special Collections integrated the exhibit that the students built into the library website to provide visitors and researchers with information about the collection as well as a rich introduction to Claude and ZerNona Black. Visitors can access the exhibit via this link.

In my talk at the WHA, I will discuss the exhibit as well as how I structured this assignment and how the students responded to it. I will also reflect on lessons that I learned for the future in terms of refining this assignment and guiding students through the process of creating exhibits for the Special Collections library.

Brenden W. Rensink – Intermountain Histories as Digital Public History & Pedagogy

My name is Brenden W. Rensink and I am excited to be participating on the 2018 Western History Association Digital Sixshooter panel in San Antonio! Allow me a moment to introduce myself and the topic that I will be discussing next week.

I am the Assistant Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and an Assistant Professor of History at Brigham Young University. To the present, I have studied and published primarily in the North American West subfields of borderlands and Indigenous studies. In June I published a comparative Native Borderlands monograph, Native but Foreign: Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands (Texas A&M Press, 2018). More germane to our Digital Sixshooters panel, in my position at the BYU Redd Center I am pivoting towards public history in many of my new endeavors, including the Intermountain Histories digital public history project and the Writing Westward Podcast.

For our panel, I focus on the Intermountain Histories project. The project curates microhistories for the public to navigate and access on a map-driven website and free mobile app. It is built on the Curatescape platform. Content is produced via collaboration between myself (as Project Manager and General Editor) and professors and their students at universities around the Intermountain West region. In my brief comments I will discuss how I have structured it as a digital project with two primary goals: 1. Serve the public by providing an easy-to-use digital history resource. 2. Serve professors and students as a pedagogical tool. I am increasingly convinced that the latter is the more powerful of the projects two goals/outcomes. It is also the less obvious of the two. I believe it is a project that could be modeled by others for use in the classroom and beyond.

I look forward to seeing everyone there!

WHA Six Shooters 2018 Lineup

Here is an alphabetical list of the presenters that we have confirmed for the Technology Committee-sponsored session, “Six-Shooters: A Digital Frontiers Lightning Round”:

  • Saara Kekki, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Andrew Torget, University of North Texas
  • Brenden Rensink, Brigham Young University
  • Margaret Sternbergh, Independent Scholar, San Antonio
  • Lauren Turek, Trinity University
  • Leslie Miller and Kyler Miller, Idaho State University
  • Gianna May Sanchez, University of Michigan
  • Jessica Nowlin, University of Texas at San Antonio
  • Sarah H. Salter, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
  • Andrew Offenburger, Miami University

The session will be chaired by Jason Heppler, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and is scheduled for Thursday, October 18, from 12:45-2:15 PM in the Directors room of the Hyatt Regency, San Antonio, Texas. Each presenter has six minutes and six slides (“Six-Shooters,” get it?) for their presentation. All presenters will entertain questions from the audience at the conclusion of all of the presentations. We encourage what may seem like “basic” questions as well as “shop talk” from those in attendance.

Please check this website in the days leading up to the conference for posts by each presenter introducing themselves and providing brief descriptions of the work they plan to present.

2017 WHA Six-Shooters Session

The 2017 Six-Shooters digital history lightning round session, sponsored by the WHA Technology Committee, featured nine presenters sharing their research, teaching, and public projects at the WHA conference in San Diego, CA (photos by Doug Seefeldt, session chair):

  • Adam Arenson, Manhattan College
  • Jared Eberle, Oklahoma State University
  • Jason Heppler, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Jessica Kim, California State University, Northridge
  • Chris Repka, St. Mary’s University
  • Douglas Seefeldt, Ball State University
  • Jay Taylor, Simon Fraser University
  • Bryan Winston, St. Louis University
  • Linnea Zeiner, San Diego State University

Jason Heppler: The American Indian Digital History Project

Greetings! I am Jason Heppler. I am at the University of Nebraska at Omaha where I am the Digital Engagement Librarian and an Assistant Professor of History. UNO has a major focus on community engagement and service learning, and in my role there I lead initiatives in public history and digital engagement. That mission forms a key part in the soft launch of the American Indian Digital History Project, led by Kent Blansett and myself.

The aim of our project is to develop and cooperative digital archive, seeking to partner with Native Nations and Indigenous communities throughout Native North America. Our plan is to digitize newspapers, photographs, and archival materials in order to increase access to historical Tribal documents and encourage responsible research into American Indian history. As part of these partnerships, we will also work with Tribal governments to create a digital repository for local Tribes. The initial launch of the archive has digitized the entire run of Akwesasne Notes and will soon be digitizing and releasing a Native-produced law journal, plate glass negative photographs, and material acquired through our Mobile Archives initiative.

Linnea Zeiner: HACKING History

Hi everyone! My name is Linnea Zeiner and I am a Lecturer at San Diego State University and a doctoral student in Communication at UCSD. In The Department of Classics and Humanities at SDSU I am exploring inverted approaches to teaching Honors and GE Courses utilizing transmedia, deformance, and mixed realities. I work out of the experimental and collaborative environment of the ITS Learning Research Studios, where students utilize state of the art technology to engage in visual analyzations and critique social constructions.

In my talk, Hacking History with Layered Student Research, I will share how undergraduate students at San Diego State University are being connected across disciplines through digital learning activities. This multi-modal presentation outlines Digital Humanities pedagogical research that began in the Spring of 2015 with lower-division U.S. History classes and has continued through 2017 with upper-division Humanities classes on “The Future” and American Culture. The designed pedagogy is highly influenced by Michael J. Kramer, The Situationists, Johanna Drucker’s visual production of knowledge, media theory, and punk pedagogy.