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Module 3: Locating Local History Primary Sources

This module will introduce students to the primary sources of local history. Primary sources are materials from the historical period you are researching. Students will learn how to navigate and work with digitized materials at national repositories as well as major state and local digital library collections, in order to gather a collection of sources related to their topic and question. Students will also learn about how to work with analog sources, including the basics of digitization, preservation, and metadata standards.

By the end of this module, students will be able to locate digital local history sources through major repositories to use in their research projects and understand and use metadata standards to describe sources.

Due date for Module 3 Assignments: Friday, June 19, 2020 by 11:59 p.m.

Deadline for Module 3 Assignments: Saturday, June 20, 2020 by 11:59 p.m.

Examining online searching and finding processes

WATCH: How Google Search Works (3:14; captions provided in video)

WATCH:  Beware Online Filter Bubbles (9:04; captions provided in video; transcript available)

Assignment 6 (10 pts): Search “Causes of the Civil War” and take a screenshot of the results on your screen (the entire first page of results).

  • Note the following information: date, time, computer used, i.e., work, laptop, library, etc.
  • Post an image of your results in the #assignment6 channel on Slack, then look at the results of some of your classmates–what observations can you make about the range of search results?

Using National and State Digital Repositories

In most circumstances, you may have visited your local library or historical society to begin your research. As you are well aware, we are in the midst of circumstances none of us could have foreseen. In this course, you will turn to the collections of state and national repositories in order to answer your research question.

READ: Digital Repositories Resource Page (this is a long document, but be sure to explore each of the resources)

Assignment 7 (10 pts): Use the collections and resources you have explored in this module to do the following:

1. Find a film clip depicting a historical event from the place you’re studying

2. Find a newspaper published in that place (or a nearby one) in the nineteenth century

Share your findings in the #assignment7 channel on Slack: Provide a link to the resource you found, along with a summary of the strategies you used to locate it.

  • Feel free to share any tips or tricks you discover while completing the assignment.

Considering the importance of metadata

Put simply, metadata is the structured information we use to describe content. Some forms of metadata should be familiar to us. From archival finding aids to iTunes, the descriptive information attributed to digital objects has created a context for understanding and discovering content in ways that impact our lives daily.

READ: Understanding Metadata Primer

WATCH: The Power of Metadata (9:58; captions provided)

Assignment 8 (5 pts): Complete this personal metadata exercise; use this Dublin Core Worksheet to help you.

  • You will click the purple SUBMIT button to complete this assignment via Google Forms

Assignment 9 (15 pts): Use Omeka.net to build a collection of five primary sources — material from the place and the historical period you are researching — related to the research question you developed in Module 1. See the Assignment Sheet online for more detailed instructions.

In the #assignment9 channel on Slack, share a link to your Omeka.net site and summarize what you selected for the collection.

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