Marrying Old and New Technologies

Tara and Janneken have collaborated for the past two years in Janneken’s HIS 480: Digital History course.

About the project: Collaboration among library and teaching faculty is essential to strengthening the value of library services and growing the digital humanities. This project utilized materials from WCU’s Special Collections to create dynamic, student-designed websites. The websites accomplish many goals: students showcase rare pieces from Special Collections while providing worldwide digital access; students gain archival and digitization experience and skills to create a website using free and open source technology; and students, instructor, and librarian collaborate and communicate in a variety of face-to-face and digital platforms. By harnessing existing skills and developing new ones, students learn how aspects of digital history fit together, from research to scanning, to crafting metadata and coding hypertext. Students also gain important skills vital to their future in the history field by interacting closely with physical materials in Special Collections; this component may provide the only opportunity for these students to work in an archival setting during their college career. Projects like ours will have results that lead to strong critical and creative thinkers who have the skills necessary to collaborate and communicate well in the workforce and provide students with a memorable product worthy of sharing in portfolios and resumes.

The end results are:

The Purple and Gold Will Always Hold: West Chester University Football (WCU campus link)

The Quad Project: A Students’ History of West Chester University

Last Stop: West Chester

About Janneken:

Janneken Smucker, assistant professor of history, specializes in digital history, public history, and American material culture. She has published widely on the subject of Amish quilts, most recently authoring Amish Quilts: Crafting an American Icon (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). Prior to joining WCU, she worked as a content specialist for a web and interactive firm specializing in projects for museums and cultural institutions.

About Tara:

Tara Wink is the Special Collections Librarian at West Chester University. As the Special Collections Librarian she is responsible for maintaining and growing WCU’s Special Collections and archives both physically and digitally. She has been at WCU for 3 years.  She received her MSLS from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and BA in History and German from Gettysburg College.