This March at ASECS, I’m presenting my work on the development of a collaborative digital assignment for graduate students (which could also work for advanced undergraduates) organized around the creation of items in an Omeka collection. The idea is to work together to define and populate a subcollection of materials housed in our small special collections room–the assignment could be a part of a course on research methods, or a topics course (like Ethics and the Public Sphere in the 18th Century). The goal is, broadly speaking, to enable students to see research and the production of knowledge as a collaborative, creative, public activity with ties outside the classroom. I want my students to see research as a process of making–making knowledge, making access, making texts, making tools, making decisions that affect how we interact with texts, making decisions that affect how we interact with others and other ideas. I’d like to connect the project to eighteenth-century concepts of publicity and democratization, with reference to sociability, conversationality, practices of publishing, and the history of copyright.
Below, I’ve included a working version of the assignment; I’m not planning, right now, to incorporate TEI markup, but I want to ensure that there is room for its inclusion in the future. If you’re doing projects like this, I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially about targeted supplementary readings, steps I may have missed, and key questions students are likely to have that I’ve not addressed here. (Sadly, the embedded google doc isn’t perfectly formatted…)