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    Micalee Sullivan

    PhD candidate in History - studies labor history in the US and South Africa.

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    Digital Archives: Researcher, Teacher, and Student Friendly!

    Friday, April 22nd, 2011 | micalee

    I’ve seen a couple of posts so far relating to the creation and use of digital archives – a topic that I’m very much interested in myself.  I recently started working on a digital archive, “Sixteen Tons” using the Omeka web publishing system.  As both a graduate student and someone that enjoys teaching history, I was anxious to create a project that would both highlight my own dissertation research and also possibly be useful to others in some way.  I’m hoping a digital archive may be the answer to this dilemma.

    “Sixteen Tons” is a digital archive that will document the lives of mineworkers in two remote towns at the turn-of-the twentieth century.  Many of the issues I hope to discuss with people at THATCamp have already been addressed in several different posts – so sorry for the repeats here.  However, my biggest concerns are:

    *Can digital archives facilitate an environment in which researchers are willing to and able to access the research of others?

    *How can these digital archives be incorporated into my own lesson plans for teaching history courses to undergraduate students?  Can sharing these primary sources with students change the way we think about teaching the humanities?

    *Can these sources be useful to people outside of academia?  Again – I like to teach and am thinking of ways that researchers can share digital archives with teachers and students at the secondary education level.  I have thought about applying lesson plans/guides arranged thematically to my archive but am not sure of how to reach an audience outside of academia.

    *Finally, I’ve written about this in a blog post, but I think it’s worth discussing with as many people as I can – what can creators of these digital archives do to avoid copyright issues further down the road.