Tag Archives: HIST 689

Fifth Piece of the Puzzle

Select a text that you wish to use in your final project and write a very brief blog post explaining why you chose it and how you might use it.

Selected text: Levine, Mark. “Can a Papermaker Help to Save Civilization? – The New York Times.” New York Times Magazine 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 June 2017.

Reasons: This article actually inspired my project topic. I knew that I wanted to focus on book arts, and handmade paper is often a part of this medium. I am personally interested in handmade paper as well and have taken classes on the topic. This article ties the art and craft of papermaking to our cultural history. This history (in both Eastern and Western countries) can easily incorporate teaching opportunities and help students to ask “historian’s questions.” This article serves as a jumping off point to other texts, including lesson plans and papermaking tutorials. It will be part of a larger bibliography to help both teachers and student see how handmade paper fits into history. This article also speaks to the need for authority in information sources. The subject of the interview is Timothy Barrett, a papermaker and former director of the Center for the Book at the University of Iowa. He is an established expert in the field. Although the New York Times Magazine is not a peer-reviewed journal, it is a respected publication and accessible to a wider audience. In addition to these kinds of texts, I will include several images and videos to help explain handmade paper and the process to create it.

Close-up image of handmade paper

Final Project: Second Piece of the Puzzle


How will digital media and/or digital tools be important to teaching my target audience one of the essential lessons I’ll be focusing on in my project?

What, specifically, about the digital environment will influence what you do and why?

The use of digital media and digital tools will allow me to convey information about the papermaking process that would otherwise be difficult or impossible.

Possible digital media/tools:

  • Video of papermaking process including the following steps:
    • Pulping
    • Coloring
    • Drying
  • Interviews with papermakers and those using handmade paper in their work
  • Zoom It plugin available through Omeka to allow audience to see minute details paper’s construction
  • The Daily theme in Omeka since it is an image-oriented theme
  • Plug-ins based on Library of Congress and The Getty metadata will help create consistent terminology.
  • Plugins Facet by Metadata and Search by Metadata will allow users to find the desired information more quickly and to make connections between items.
  • The Contributor plugin will allow for submissions from the community (those involved in papermaking or who use handmade paper, artists including book artists and printmakers, students and teachers interested in the topic).

I will list “traditional” research materials like books and articles. However, the use of digital tools and media will complement these scholarly materials as well as any content knowledge about the history of papermaking included in the Omeka site. The Omeka platform will allow me to highlight text, images, video, and audio.


Module 1: Thinking About Historical Thinking

Write a blog post that lists three or four questions about teaching history (in whatever venue you do or might teach) that you hope to answer as the semester proceeds, and then offer some tentative answers to those questions.

  1. How to move beyond memory history in teaching?
    1. While facts like dates, places, and names are important, I want to encourage students to engage more with the material. This means leading students through evaluating the sources and critical thinking.
    2. Possibly incorporate active learning assignments like “think-pair-share” where I act as the facilitator.
  2. How to effectively combine substantive and procedural knowledge?
    1. Incorporate pre and post assessment tests to evaluate understanding of the material.
  3. How to incorporate these approaches in both an in-person and online environment?
    1. Create interactive learning objects that provide prompts in the online environment. The prompts will take visitors through a series of questions to spark inquiry.

Introductory Post for HIST 689

This is my third class in the Digital Public Humanities certificate program at George Mason. I enjoyed the foundation in digital humanities that the previous two courses created. For me, my foundation was also helped by attending both Rebuilding the Portfolio: DH for Art Historians through the Center for History and New Media with funding from the Getty Foundation and the Digital Humanities Institute for Mid-Career Librarians through the University of Rochester and Council on Library and Information Resources and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

My interest in digital humanities began when I started the artists’ books collection at George Mason University almost seven years ago while working as the Art & Art History Librarian. A creative writing professor asked the library to subscribe to the Journal of Artists’ Books, but the English Librarian was not familiar with the publication and asked me about it. We realized that classes about artists’ books were being taught in both English and Art and decided that the library needed to create a teaching collection for faculty and students as well as the community. The books are held in Special Collections for preservation reasons, and all of the titles are listed in the library catalog. However, the books were still not easy to access so we started talking about digitizing the collection. This actually led to incorporating digital humanities tools. We had started by collecting local artists but expanded to a global focus, which inspired us to looking at mapping tools like Google Fusion, the Geolocation Plugin in Omeka, and StoryMap from the Knights Foundation. The original intention what to show the breadth of the collection, but it actually became a collection development tool by showing gaps that needed to be filled in. These books are often collaborative in nature so we also started looking at social networking tools, again using Google Fusion. We wanted to see the connections that developed in this particular community.

In my new position as the Arts & Architecture Librarian at UNC-Charlotte, I am starting an artists’ books collection focused on North Carolina. I intend to incorporate digital humanities tools into the presentation of this collection as well. In particular, this course will help me to integrate teaching and learning  methodologies into this project. In general, digital humanities has become a bigger component of my job as a subject/liaison librarian in the arts and humanities. This is on trend with the growing push for librarians to become more involved in areas like DH, Big Data, data visualization, etc.

My original academic background is in art history (specifically Victorian art and design history), and I have a master’s in art history from Florida State. I then earned a master’s in library science from UNC-Chapel Hill, and I have worked in libraries for over 12 years.