[This page provides an archive of the short blogging assignments the students completed during the first half of the semester. You can read the assignments and associated tutorials and also follow the links to the students’ work on each topic. To get the full effect of the student posts, click on the post titles to be sent to the students’ individual blogs.]
Assignment #1: Getting to know your University’s Archives/Special Collections
To prepare for this first blog post, you should make an appointment with your university’s archivist or special collections librarian—you’ll need at least a half hour of their time, and perhaps more, so be sure to plan ahead.
After your meeting, write up what you’ve learned about your local collections.
Assignment #2: Bibliographical inspection of an old book
For Thursday, we’d like you to spend some time examining an old book from your university’s collection—preferably a book from the “hand-press era” (i.e., before about 1820)—with an eye towards perceiving the kinds of details that can give us some insight into the book’s manufacture. You might revisit the oldest book in the collection that you identified last week, or turn to a different one that catches your fancy.
Assignment #3: Presenting a book’s history with TimelineJS
This week you will have the opportunity to present the “life story” of a book in the form of a timeline!
Students will choose a book in their university library (or their private collection) that contains marks of provenance (i.e. evidence of former ownership or use including marginalia, book plates, signatures of former owners, vandalism, etc.). They will then conduct research in an effort to identify former users. Finally students will use Knight Lab’s innovative program TimelineJS to present their research. Each timeline will serve as a narrative of the book’s “life.”
Assignment #4: Mapping publication cities (Zotero, Open Refine, Google Sheets, and Google Maps)
In this exercise, we’re taking a problem (“How do I put a bunch of library catalog records on a map?”) and breaking it down into several smaller steps. We’re going to end up moving back and forth among a couple of different tools, and using each one to complete one particular part of the larger problem. This can end up being a little confusing, but I’ve tried to describe each of these steps deliberately. Take it one step at a time…
Assignment #5: Mapping social networks of library borrowers at Dissenting Academies Online (Web scraping, Google Sheets, and Kumu.io)
For our exercise in social network mapping, we’ll use the cloud service Kumu (if you haven’t set up an account yet, do so now). Kumu is a good tool to use for exploring and showing connections among people, concepts, etc.