TEM Report: Pacific Northwest Historians Conference: April 18, 2008

Where Collector Meets Scholar: The Research Value of the Gerald Williams Collection
Digital History and the Pacific Northwest
Teaching From Local Historical Archives in Spokane

Bringing the collector and the scholar together– how does the archivist fit? what is the archivist’s role? how can the scholar shape the collection through their interaction with the creator? Donna Sinclair asked “where does collector meet scholar?”

Uses for the Williams Collection:

  • Research classes: bring grad/undergrad history classes into the archives (i.e. research based class teaching students how to use these materials on this topic OR research class on how to do research with this as an example). It is our job to encourage and promote this collection within OSU, but also look at how we can share it with other educational institutions throughout the state and nation.
  • HOWEVER, look outside the history department: show other disciplines how this collection can be used in their research (i.e. how do you approach a bio-regional demarcated area as a researcher/student?) Again, promotion/access/use is the primary responsibility of the OSU Archives– now that we have it, we have to use it, we have to share it, we have to encourage others to delve in and swim around in it.

Bill Lang

  • The dynamic between different kinds of historical materials can be quite powerful; it is only when you put the different types together that you see the relationship that is inherent/within the collection/topic.
  • The relationship & connection between text and imagery allows you to think about your research topic in an integrated fashion at the beginning, can change how researchers “do” their work/ think about their project from the conceptual stage, can shape scholarship.

Charles Mutschler

  • It’s the wave of technology!
  • How are we grappling with new “digital age” issues within our professions?
  • What are users asking us to do, to know, to produce?
  • Students (as the next generation of users, creators) are visually oriented. Both because of this and to facilitate this, the world of education is changing radically– we all have to adjust how we think, teach, process, produce, etc.
  • Changes/advances in technology could actually democratize the academy!

Larry Cebula

  • Digital history projects are moving from public to private enterprises: more money, more resources, more studies, more partnerships?
  • We need a centralized resource page for “deep” digital archives, a central reference page, a place where everyone will go, a place where dead links will be updated… How can we use a wiki as a space for these “organic” subject guides? Built by the community of users, community of creators, community of archivists, community of teaching (K-20+)? Give people a space to create, comment, etc., and allow for a “web” of connections to form– it’s the “see also” or “related materials” or “you might also like” page.

Mary Paynton Schaff

  • Time magazine article: people want to upload their own information, the public is important to the new information society, they want (expect?)to be a part of the web/content.

Tamara Georgick

  • Digital project overload … What to consider before launching into a massive program.
  • In addition to hardware, software, money, staff resource questions, she also said that we need to evaluate rigorously. Is it worth putting out there? What is the value? ($, social, educational, historical, aesthetic) Is there an audience?
  • Here’s one that stood out: can you tell the professional resources from the amateur resources? Because yours need to stand out as legitimate primary resources. Really? What does this mean?

Lisa Hagen, Kieran Mahoney, Marcy James, Kelly Kiki

  • Primary Sources in the Classroom: teachers using local history archives in their classroom
  • Tie history to larger picture, see their lives in the context of history, develop curiosity, activate natural questions about history, social engagement.
  • Kinkos = make puzzles out of photos
  • Worksheet = I notice/wonder/infer or predict: observation/question/reflection.
  • Photo Story 3 for Windows = “Create slide shows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows Mobile–based portable device.”
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