"I Remain" - A Digital Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, and Ephemera
Contributions >> Archive Project, Early American Literature 376

Course  |  Project Overview  |  Transcription  |  "Hooks"  |  Research Questions  |  Contexts  |  Process Narrative  |  Student Work

Process Narrative

This part of the assignment calls on you to reflect on the process of working with an eighteenth-century letter. To complete this exercise, it's a good idea to take notes on your experience as you complete each portion of the assignment. To this end, there are "Questions for the Process Narrative" at the end of every section. As you proceed with your research on the letter, you may divide up the process itself any way you like, but everyone should contribute to the process narrative along the way. In this way, your work becomes part of the "I remain" archive as well, and you'll want to leave a thorough record as a trail for future historians to follow.

You may wish to begin the process narrative by identifying the team members and their individual contributions to this project. Document whether you have ever had any experience working with archival or digital material. What was new, frustrating, or rewarding about this process? What could be done to improve your site (e.g., linking key terms from the "hooks" page to the explanations on the contexts pages, or reading the other groups' sites and cross-linking similar topics, persons, or events)?

Use these questions as a guide to reflecting on the process of how history is constructed.

Were there differences of opinion about what certain words were-- how do you resolve or represent that? Will you include footnotes to explain abbreviations, special terms, place names, events, or people at the bottom of the page? What is challenging about reading a letter like this?
The "Hooks"
How did you go about selecting hooks? Did you have trouble identifying hooks? Are your hooks all proper nouns—are there any other hooks beyond these? Is there additional information that readers would like that isn't "hook-able" from the letter?
Research Questions
What questions does the letter leave unanswered? Are there gaps in our understanding of it that seem un-bridge-able? Is it difficult to find information? Why? If someone from the future were researching a letter/email/blog from our own time, what resources would you recommend? Would they encounter similar difficulties?
Is this letter a useful artifact of its time, or does it leave questions maddeningly unanswered? For readers to "time travel" back to understand the letter, what knowledge did you decide they would require? Why did you select your particular context? How did you go about locating information? Did you find anything surprising or exciting? What questions remain unanswered? What are some good areas for future research?
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