Overview of the Archives Project – Megan Norcia
In this assignment, you will experience the process of "doing history" first-hand as you work with Lehigh's "I remain," A Digital Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, and Ephemera collection. The "I remain" archive contains 600-800 letters by major writers, artists, scientists, politicians, entertainers, and Presidents; the collection is being cataloged for the first time in a cooperative effort between members of the Digital Library team and librarians from the humanities and Special Collections. As a result, these letters will be available to the larger scholarly community to facilitate teaching, research, and learning.
Since these letters have been largely unknown to the scholarly community, you will have the first chance to transcribe the letters, assess their importance in different contexts, and speculate on further areas of research; you will also have the opportunity to engage in collaborative learning with librarians using CENTRA and the Blackboard Teams software, while working with eighteenth-century materials in a digital environment.
You will be in groups of 3-4 working on letters by Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Jay. Your assignment will have five parts:
- Transcription of the letter: create a typed version of the letter that is easily readable
- "Hooks" in the letter: what are the significant names, dates, places, events, or people?
- Research questions: brainstorm a list of questions to investigate about the letter
- Contexts of the letter (each group member chooses one): social, biographical, literary, scholarly; answer your research questions within each context
- Process narrative: reflect on your decisions and challenges in each portion of the assignment
Our goal is to link successful projects to the items in the archive for use by other scholars and students. Your projects will be leaving a research trail for them to follow into this unknown territory; you will have provided a map indicating possible dangers as well as areas that can be explored further.