Research Reflections: How the Public Becomes Personal

Reading about the necessity for liberal arts and history in a public context echoes much of what I’ve already said and heard during the development of this project.

In Sheila Brennan’s essay, “Public, First,” she discusses the importance of accessibility in the digital humanities. With this project, I’m taking on the role of a facilitator of the liberal arts, and my responsibility goes beyond just putting words on a screen. Online doesn’t always equal public, so making sure people know about what I’m doing and are able to easily access the project.

Accessibility isn’t the only feature of a strong digital humanities/public history exhibit. It’s also about welcoming a specific audience who otherwise may have not stumbled upon the site.

I occasionally have a challenge with realizing that Keene State isn’t an integral part of everyone’s family legacy. Because of that, I have a special responsibility to show people, especially those who participate in our school’s community and culture, what I know and what I am learning.

Further on in the collection of works on the structure of the digital humanities, Rachel Buurma and Anna Levine talk about the importance of research strategies and skills in “The Sympathetic Research Imagination: Digital Humanities and the Liberal Arts.

Much of digital humanities is being the middle point of research between the primary sources and what becomes secondary sources. In this project, I am searching and sorting information to create a gathering of personal narratives. This decision of which pieces of history I include are small decisions, but to each person who accesses this site, they could be monumental.

It’s unfortunate that I only have two and a half more months to create this archive, but I believe that the process of researching and gathering is as important as the finished project.

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