Digital Assignments

Assignment 1: Setting Up House
Skill: using a blogging platform
Group (household)
Due: 10 pm Tuesday of Week 2

Steps:

  1. Sign up for a WordPress account
  2. Make all the members of your group users
  3. Customize it Pick a theme that fits your household.
  4. You should create at least two pages:
    1. Blog page
    2. About Us page – each member of the household should write with a brief of her or himself.  This bio should have two parts: a few sentences about your historical person and a few sentences about who you are.

Transcription Assignment 1: Exploring the (Digital) Archive
Skill: digital archives, transcription
Individual
Due: 10 pm Tuesday of Week 3

Steps:

  1. Transcribe a manuscript/page from the the Digital Paxton website
  2. Write a three paragraph summary of your experience
    1. First: what was contained in the manuscript/page you transcribed
    2. Second: whose voice is represented in this manuscript/page? Thinking back to the “Silences in the Archives” essay, what silences are there here? What workings of power?
    3. Third: what was the experience of working with this source for you as a historian? Was it easy to engage with? Difficult? Can you imagine writing a whole paper around these sources?

Digital Project 1: Keywords of Revolution
Skill: Textual Analysis
Group
Due: 10 pm Tuesday of Week 4

Steps:

  1. Run the whole text of John Dickinson’s The Farmers Letters to the Inhabitatns of the British Colonies (1767)  the online version of Voyant (https://voyant-tools.org/).
  2. Run just your assigned chapter through Voyant. How does it looked compared to the whole text?
  3. See if you can track down any reprintings of your letter in a colonial American newspaper using Early American Newspapers. Where is the letter printed? How soon or long after its original publication was printed there?
  4. Write a 3 paragraph summary of your experience covering the following topics:
    1. What does it look like to “read” Dickinson from the analysis that Voyant provides?
    2. What is Dickinson arguing in your particular chapter?
    3. How “viral” was the news in the 1760s and 1770s from the perspective of Dickinson’s and his letters?

Transcription Project 2: Editing Common Sense, Then and Now
Skill: Optical Character Recognition and Textual Editing
Individual
Due: 10 pm Tuesday of Week 5

Steps:

  1. You will be given an image of page (or two) from the first British edition of Common Sense. Read it over. See if you can make sense of all the words on the page. Is there anything missing?
  2. Compare the image of your page with the plain text produced after that image has been run through optical character recognition software. How accurate is the transcription? What did the computer software reading correctly? What did it read incorrectly?
  3. Clean-up your plain text page, making corrections based on what you see in the image of the page but which the OCR software did not.
  4. Find the part in the original American edition of Common Sense (which will be available to you in Sakai) and compare your page image and plain text with the digital surrogate? Is the text the same? Different? If it is different, why?
  5. Write a 3 paragraph summary of your experience covering the following topics:
    1. What is the content of the page(s) that you looked at? How do they fit into the larger context of Paine’s argument?
    2. What did the British printer think of Paine’s text? Did he make any changes to it? If so, why?
    3. How useful and accurate is OCR software for reading a text from 1776?

Digital Project 2: Mapping Revolution
Skill: digital mapping
Group
Due: 10 pm Tuesday of Week 7

Steps:

  1. Each group will be assigned a certain number of battlefields and properties from the Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States (National Park Service, September 2007)
  2. Create a spreadsheet that has the following information about each:
    1. Name
    2. Brief description of what happened there
    3. Location
    4. Date began
    5. Date ended
    6. Priority assigned by NPS
    7. Battlefield or Historical Property
    8. URL if there is any website for the property
  3. Upload this information to a new Google Fusion table
  4. Use the geolocation tool to map the different places.
    1. Make any edits that you need to for these to be visible.
  5. Export the data and send it to Profs. Roberts and Bankhurst who will compile it in one file.
  6. Write a 2-paragraph summary of your experience covering the following topics:
    1. What qualifies today as a historic site related to the American Revolution?
    2. How easy or difficult was it to use the tools available to us to map these sites today? What worked well? What caused you difficulty?

Digital Project 3: Adopting a Loyalist Refugee
Skill: timeline creation, network analysis
Groups
Due: 10 pm Tuesday of Week 8

Steps:

  1. Read through and transcribe the narrative of your Loyalist in the London Loyalist Claims Commission papers.
  2. Pull out the major events from narrative for your person
  3. What are the major events of the war that happened at this time?
    1. Local, regional, and national?
  4. Load this data into timeline.js
    1. Send the link to embed it to Prof. Roberts and Bankhurst
  5. Write a 2-3 paragraph summary of your experience covering the following topics:

Digital Project 4: Ratifying the Constitution
Skill: database creation and analysis
Group
Due: 10 pm Tuesday of Week 12

Steps:

  1. Read up on how ratification happened in your state
  2. Create a spreadsheet that lists the counties in your state, organized alphabetically, and how they voted for ratification.
  3. Add column for population information from the 1790 census:
    1. Population breakdown – What are the categories? What do those categories mean?
  4. Upload your data to a Google Fusion table, geo-reference it, and analyze it using different filters in Google Maps
  5. Write a 2 paragraph summary of your experience covering the following topics:
    1. How have scholars interpreted ratification from the perspective of your state?
    2. What does ratification look from the perspective of your data?