Second Piece of the Puzzle

The central question of my final project is:

How can I help students think about 1. finding and accessing primary sources and 2. library systems historically and contextually?

I already do try to teach students about this to some extent, albeit around the primary topic, which is usually how to find primary and secondary sources for their papers or projects. Knowing something about the history and context of information systems is extremely helpful in using them. I think for my final project, I’ll focus solely on finding primary sources and address information systems along the way.

In terms of the content, I would want to start with some basic information organization theory and history (e.g. what is a record and why do we need them). Then move on to (very brief) histories of library/information systems, because that explains so much about why they work the way they do (e.g. metadata, controlled vocabulary). When I’ve done this in classes before, I would show examples that they see everyday. I would then move to primary sources more specifically and what I would really like to do is have several examples of primary sources, their history, and basically how they ended up where they did (they could be destroyed before they ended up anywhere, too). I generally don’t talk about this at length, but I do discuss OCR and metadata specifically in regards to primary source databases.  

I’m a bit stumped on format. In a perfect world, I would like to plot the primary sources’ course through space and time on something like Neatline, but I don’t think I’ll have the time to do the research and figure out Neatline this semester. I could include a mapping piece using Google Maps, though. I’m also not entirely sure how to make an assignment out of it. I can see an exhibition/presentation part easily, but I don’t want it to only be that. All of my instruction sessions are in-person and involve a fair amount of back-and-forth, and I’m not sure how to recreate that online.

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