Assignment –Archives

Due Date

  • Friday, September 23, 2016 by 5pm (via course website)


Students in History 204 should create a short entry in their research journal (about 600-800 words, or 3-4 pages) that describes how they conducted research for academic or personal documents from within the College Archives for selected members of their assigned class.


  • Entries will NOT be graded on prose or design elements (though both will factor into whether or not the journal entry will ultimately get published).  Instead, the focal point of grading will be on research effort and historical analysis.  For this archival entry, it is especially important that students show care in examining particular documents or artifacts.  Students can be entirely selective here –perhaps reporting on discoveries concerning only one or two members of their assigned class– but their work should demonstrate careful attention to detail.


  • COLLECTIONS SEARCH.  Students should take care to describe their overall efforts at searching various collections at the Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections.  They should provide a brief description of the tools which they found most helpful –such as finding aides or online lists.  This part of the entry does not have to be comprehensive, but it should provide a good general idea of the scope and breadth of the student’s archival research effort.
  • DOCUMENT IDENTIFICATION.   Most important, students should attempt to identify at least one teachable nineteenth-century document from the College Archives.  They should describe it carefully, provide a photographic image of the document within their post (from a phone camera or other source), and also a full or partial transcription written by themselves.  They should also provide a citation of the document in the style recommended by the Archives guidelines to enable future researchers to duplicate their work.
  • ADDITIONAL WORK.  If time allows, students might also choose to describe and photograph other types of teachable artifacts, images or other archival materials, or they may decide to identify and transcribe multiple documents concerning various individuals in their assigned class.  Students who are pursuing these extra opportunities may find it more convenient to produce more than a single post documenting their various archival research efforts.


  • Prose is not graded here, but writing with clarity and vigor should always be your objective.  Poorly written posts will not hurt your grade at this stage, but they will prevent you from getting your work published.  Quick note –these entries may contain first person pronouns, but try to keep the focus on “I” to a minimum nonetheless.
  • Design is not graded here either, but use this initial entry as a way to test out your WordPress skills.  Include images (with proper captions and credits) that have text neatly wrapped around, and provide occasional hypertext links to freely accessible outside sources.  Footnotes are not required in research journal entries, but you want to experiment with providing ways for readers to visualize and access your sources.