Networking the Regional Comprehensives

Digital Public History with Students

Janneken Smucker, West Chester University
Networking the Regional Comprehensives
July 11-13, 2018, Salem State University

About West Chester University

  • Situated in suburban Philadelphia
  • Largest of 14 state owned universities
  • Enrollment ~17,000 (14K undergrad, 3K grad)
  • 124 undergraduate programs, 98 graduate programs

DH Landscape at WCU

Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia

  • Classroom/archive collaboration (and “high impact” learning experience) between West Chester University students in Fall 2014 and Spring 2016 and the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries
  • built with open source platform Omeka, integrating OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer)
  • Hosted by Reclaim Hosting
  • audio files synchronized with transcripts, segment synopses, keywords and subjects drawn from a student-generated controlled vocabulary of over 1,600 terms, linking related primary sources and visual sources, and GPS coordinates situating the topics and moments in space.
  • digital repository of over 500 sources related to the Great Migration to Philadelphia, “borrowed” from numerous regional repositories, used as building blocks to curate exhibits and index interviews
  • student created storytelling projects using archival audio to interpret themes of Great Migration

Fannie Hutchinson Index (4:43 and 34:16)

Minnie Whitney Index (19:16-20:35)

“Where is Home?” storytelling project (2:00)

Success of the project builds university by-in, awards, money to do more things, publications, new partnerships, street cred. Also generates internships, entry level jobs, student-built projects, peer mentoring.

Read about our workflow: Janneken Smucker, Doug Boyd, and Charles Hardy III, “Connecting the Classroom and the Archive: Oral History, Pedagogy, & Goin’ North,” Oral History in the Digital Age, 2017.

Philadelphia Immigration