Next NUDHL Meeting: #dhsound: Digital Humanities and Sound Studies

Hear Here!

Please join us for the next NUDHL meeting:

#dhsound: Digital Humanities and Sound Studies

With special guest, Jonathan Sterne, McGill University, author of The Audible Past, MP3: The Meaning of a Format, and editor of The Sound Studies Reader.

**Note special time and place**

**Wednesday, November 6, 2013, 11am-1pm, Ver Steeg Lounge, NU Library**

#dhsound: Digital Humanities and Sound Studies
In this session, special guest Jonathan Sterne, Department of Art History and Communication Studies and the History and Philosophy of Science Program at McGill University, author ofThe Audible Past, MP3: The Meaning of a Format, and editor of The Sound Studies Reader, will join us for an informal discussion of digital sound studies. Michael Kramer and Jillana Enteen moderate. **Special Event: In lieu of our usual monthly Friday meeting, we are convening on Wednesday, 11/6, 11am-1pm in the Ver Steeg Faculty Lounge, Northwestern University Library. Coffee and pastries served. All are welcome to join the conversation.**

For reading and more information:

CFP: 8th Annual Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science

The Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science (DHCS) aims to bring together researchers and scholars in the humanities and computer science to examine the current state of digital humanities and to identify and explore new directions and perspectives for future research.

This year, the 8th Annual Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science will take place December 6-8, 2013, on the Lincoln Park Campus of DePaul University. The conference will consist of a plenary address by a significant Digital Humanist, as well as panels, roundtables, or other kinds of sessions proposed by scholars relating to recent issues and advances in the digital humanities.

Interested scholars are invited to present proposals for individual papers, entire panels or roundtable sessions by September 15, 2013. Panels will consist of three papers and a commentator/moderator, although other formats are possible. Panel proposals should include a title and brief description of the session as a whole (300 words or less), along with paper titles and abstracts (300 words or less) of all panelists. Short-form CVs (1-2 pages, including institutional affiliation and contact information) should also be attached. Proposals for individual papers will also be considered and are encouraged.

All proposals should be sent by email to BOTH of the Program Co-Chairs for the conference: Professor Robin Burke (, and Professor Paul B. Jaskot ( Applicants will be informed regarding inclusion on the conference program by September 30, 2013.

Registration will be free. Participants and other interested scholars may register beginning in Fall 2013. At that point, information on the venue, detailed program, local arrangements for hotels and other pertinent information will also be available at the DHCS website:


CFP: Digital Death: Mortality and Beyond in the Online Age

Digital Death collection
(10/1/13; 12/1/13)

We invite proposals for a collection of essays on the subject of
Digital Death: Mortality and Beyond in the Online Age. This proposed
book, co-edited by Christopher M. Moreman and A. David Lewis, will
consist of 12-15 chapters representing a diversity of perspectives and
approaches to the subject. We are seeking submissions for new writing
from scholars across a spectrum of fields, including religious
studies, theology, media studies, digital humanities, and any other
area that explores the topic of death and dying in a digital
environment, with reference to religion and/or the study of religion.

Digital Death includes analyses of mortality, remembrances, grieving,
posthumous existence, and afterlife experience via a variety of
digital media (e.g. Facebook & social media, World of Warcraft & video
games, YouTube & video services, internet memorials, etc.). We invite
proposals for papers of excellent academic merit on any topic and from
any academic perspective or discipline.

Proposals should include a 200-300 word abstract, a one-page C.V., and
potential titles for the chapter, submitted to by
Oct. 1, 2013; complete 5000-7000-word drafts in Chicago format of
accepted abstracts will be due by December 1st, 2013.

Christopher Moreman

CFP: American Art History and Digital Scholarship: New Avenues of Exploration

Call for Papers

Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

American Art History and Digital Scholarship: New Avenues of Exploration

November 15-16, 2013, Washington, DC

The Archives of American Art announces an upcoming symposium, American
Art History and Digital Scholarship: New Avenues of Exploration, to be
held at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and
Portraiture, in Washington, DC, on Friday, November 15, followed by a
one-day workshop at the Archives of American Art on Saturday, November
16.  We seek proposals for Friday’s presentations and applications for
participation in Saturday’s moderated workshop.

The purpose of the symposium is to convene scholars, archivists,
librarians, graduate students, technical experts, and the public to
consider American art history in a digital world. The symposium will
examine ways to integrate digital tools and/or resources into the
study of American art and to encourage collaboration.

Conference organizers seek original, innovative scholarship from a
variety of disciplines, institutions, and research centers. The
symposium will assess the potential values and limitations of
technical tools in digital humanities including crowdsourcing,
high-resolution imaging and dynamic image presentation, mapping,
visual recognition software, network analysis, topic modeling, and
data mining. Are there particular digital tools and methods that will
transform research? What new knowledge can be gained? The symposium
will also consider future directions in the fields of art history and
digital humanities so that research centers and archives can prepare
for emerging research trends and questions. Additionally, the
symposium may consider the creative potential of online publishing for
presenting peer-reviewed scholarship in American art.

Day One symposium will feature talks and panels by key thinkers and
innovative practitioners who are currently using digital approaches to
advance the study of American art.  Papers may address the following
topics: research practices and trends, tools and methods, pedagogy,
publishing, and outreach.

Proposals should include a 300-word abstract and a short CV and be
sent via email to Deadline for submissions: August
15, 2013

Day Two workshop will be a moderated discussion on developing
partnerships and projects in the field of American art. The success of
new ventures in digital research depends on collaborations among
archivists, scholars, teachers, students, and IT specialists. What can
we learn from each other? Participants should apply via email at and submit a brief statement of interest about
potential applications of digital research for American art history.
Please include in your statement particular subject areas, methods,
and/or projects that you would like to develop.  Organizers may screen
applications for Day Two to ensure a wide representation of
specialties, subject areas, and institutions.
Deadline for registration: September 30, 2013

Confirmed speakers will be required to submit a revised abstract by
October 30, 2013. The symposium will be free and open to the public,
webcast, and archived for later viewing. Schedule and materials will
be posted to

Funds for travel and accommodations are available for accepted speakers.

This symposium is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

For more information about the symposium, please contact Kelly Quinn,
Terra Foundation Project Manager for Online Scholarly and
Educational Initiatives

For more information about the Archives of American Art visit

Mary Savig

Curator of Manuscripts
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
Phone: 202.633.7959 | Fax: 202.633.7994

Notes on NUDHL #8: Defining DH @ NU

A great big thanks to Emily, Amanda, Andrew, Kevin, Beth, and all the other HASTAC@NUDHL Scholars for organizing a productive meeting!

A few “takeaways”:

We need to move from talking just about graduate education and DH in an all-purpose way to (1) the different stages of graduate education (1st year vs midpoint vs. home stretch) and DH and (2) where the intersections are among disciplines in graduate training and where it’s good for different disciplines to be just that: different—and then how DH can help to mediate those points of convergence and divergence in productive ways.

To me, the example of Andrew’s research encourages graduate students to (1) go for it with whatever tools you have at your disposal…dive in and explore, dead ends and negative results can be just as productive as brilliantly clear breakthroughs; digital humanities can encompass toying with MS Word or even pen and paper…”Why not?!” (2) think about the digital as both a tool of analysis (screwmeneutics, heuristic, analytic in the literal sense and think about it as a tool for visualization, narration, dramatizing an argument you already have articulated; (3) talk with others, consult, converse, seek new perspectives on your research questions, go deeper into your specialty and explore more broadly across different methods; (4) visualization of a poem, the poem as a visual object, comparative work through the digital, layering versions, and other ways that the digital is quite literally (literature-istically?) fertile, productive of new readings and interpretations.

Josh’s presentation reminded me that there is an emerging network or constellation of people, resources, projects, and interests at Northwestern. The challenge is how to give these better “definition,” more support, more instances of connection and elaboration.

– Michael

DH: A Historical “Refuge” From Race / Class / Gender / Sexuality / Disability?

Great conversation going on over at Postcolonial Digital Humanities:



Design and the Digital Humanities CFP

Co-organized by our own mighty NUDHL contributor Josh Honn!
Topic: Design and the Digital Humanities

With this year’s M/MLA topic of “Art & Artifice,” the new Permanent Section on Digital Humanities will explore issues of, experiments with, and provocations on design. Digital humanities (DH) is often equated with tool-oriented, procedural tasks like text analysis and data gathering. For example, the recent MLA open access publication Literary Studies in the Digital Age, focuses on textual databases, mining, analysis, and modeling. However, Johanna Drucker, Anne Burdick, Bethany Nowviskie, Tara McPherson, and others have argued that interface and systems design, visual narrative, and graphical display are not peripheral concerns, but rather important “intellectual methods” (Burdick et al. 2012). Likewise, DH projects and publications often segment (content first, design last) and/or outsource (hire a firm, select a template) the design process, overlooking the powerful and important dialectic of design and argument, at times to the great detriment of the project itself. In an effort to further the conversation, we invite papers related to any aspect of design and the digital humanities. Possible topics/questions may include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • design of interactive fiction, hypertext fiction, and electronic literature
  • games and virtual spaces
  • hybrid digital/analog fabrication practices and the ethos of hacking, making, and crafting that surrounds them
  • tensions between original designs and prefabricated templates and visualizations
  • the relationship between content and design in a scholarly edition, web archive, course website, or other digital content management project
  • design and affect, design and imagination
  • the tendency of DH project groups to separate designers and programmers on a team; tendency to divide design concerns from “technical” concerns
  • design standards, web standards, responsive & participatory design, and issues of accessibility of online publications and projects
  • skeuomorphism vs. born-digital design?
  • design and code as language art, code poetry, etc.?

Please send 250-word abstracts by May 31st to both Josh Honn ( and Rachael Sullivan (
Co-chairs: Josh Honn (Northwestern University) and Rachael Sullivan (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Digitizing Folk Music History 3.0: The Syllabus

X-post from my Issues in Digital History blog:

Today I am turning away from the roiling waters of “What is DH?/What is not DH?/DH is evil!/DH is great!/DH is managerial neoliberalism wolf in flexible team member sheep’s wool (boo!)/DH is nice actually-existing socialism (hooray!)/etc.” (see here and here for starters) to a few posts on my current teaching. Oh, don’t think won’t be leaping back into that debate soon!

In the meantime, to teaching. I am in the midst of the third installation of Digitizing Folk Music History, in which a group of talented (and this year they are once again extraordinarily talented) upper-level undergraduates study the US folk music revival with me and then complete what I call interpretive digital history projects on a WordPress platform using original artifacts in the beta-version of the Berkeley Folk Music Festival Digital Archive. The WordPress platform and beta-digital archive are password protected right now for various reasons. First, there are still intellectual property issues to work out in terms of public digital use of the archive (we are confident these can be worked out by and large in the coming year). Second, I am still on the fence about public digital work by students (see a nice reflection on this here: But I suspect that next year the course’s digital components will be almost fully public in some manner.

In the meantime, here is the syllabus for the course. Your comments, critiques, suggestions, thoughts, and questions are all most welcome.

And in the coming weeks, I and my students will provide a few more peeks into the coursework itself as it has developed this spring term.

Digitizing Folk Music History Syllabus

Course Overview


Using the digital archive of the Berkeley Folk Music Festival, students explore the history of the folk music revival, American music, the culture of the Cold War, and theories of the archive while also working on the cutting edge of new digital history. In addition to weekly mini-blog assignments, students complete a final interpretive digital history project based on original research in the Berkeley collection. This project fulfills the History 395 research paper requirement. In the course, we ask what was at stake in the Berkeley Festival, which ran from 1957 to 1970, in relation to American culture and politics, questions of race, class, gender, age, and region, and issues of memory and music-making. We also seek to discover how digital media and tools can aid in this pursuit. This is an upper-level research seminar and includes intensive reading, listening, and viewing assignments. Be prepared to complete all work, participate actively in seminar discussions and an online course blog, and challenge yourself both in terms of how you understand history and the digital. Neither musical expertise, nor computer programming skills are needed to enroll in the course. Each student will be evaluated based on class participation, digital mini-projects, blog posts, presentations, and final interpretive digital history projects in WordPress based on primary sources found in the Berkeley Folk Music Festival collection.

Course Objectives

  • Deepen understanding of the folk music revival as a lens on modern US history.
  • Sharpen historical research skills by wielding evidence effectively to produce new analyses that are in conversation with existing interpretations of the past.
  • Investigate the new field of digital history: working with multimedia evidence and multimodal argument; using the digital database as a new kind of historical research and publication tool; doing “close reading” and “distant reading” of evidence in digital form; discovering new relationships between digitized archive, research workshop, publication, and scholarly communication; generating new modes of individual and collective historical inquiry using digital tools; creating new modes of narrative and historical interpretation in digital formats.
  • Contribute to the emerging digital repository for The Berkeley Folk Music Festival and the Digital Study of Vernacular Music Project.

Required Materials

(books available at NU Norris Bookstore and on 1-day reserve at NU Library Reserves desk)

  • Benjamin Filene, Romancing the Folk: Public Memory and American Roots Music (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999)
  • Ron Cohen, A History of Folk Music Festivals in the United States (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008)
  • W.J. Rorabaugh, Berkeley At War: The 1960s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989)
  • Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005)
  • Additional articles, videos, audio available on course WordPress website.
  • 1964 and 1968 Berkeley Folk Music Festival Digital Archive in Omeka. Log in here:


  • Ten blog mini-projects, 5% each = 50%
    • Original post. Usually due on Sundays by midnight, except at end of the term.
    • At least one substantive and thoughtful comment on a fellow classmate’s post. Be critical, ask questions, respond meaningfully, but do so constructively and supportively. Usually due on Mondays by midnight.
    • One followup comment on your post in which you reflect on the mini-project in hindsight. What worked and did not work? What did the mini-project make you think about in terms of history, the folk revival, and using the digital to study the past? Usually due on Wednesdays by midnight.
  • Final interpretive digital history project = 30% (
  • Class participation and discussion = 20% (Please come to seminar meetings prepared to discuss the following: What is the most important point you learned from today’s materials? What is the most important question you have about today’s materials? Each student will receive a midterm evaluation, evaluation of final project, and final term evaluation in the course.)
  • You will receive a midterm evaluation before the drop deadline and a final evaluation at the end of the course.

Notes on Using a WordPress Course Blog

We will be using a networked WordPress blog as the main arena for writing, conversation, and digital research and publication beyond our classroom meetings. The blog url is Log in using your Northwestern Net ID and password at WordPress is very simple blogging software. For basic instructions, see: But I suggest simply diving in and using it as WordPress is fairly intuitive.

Please note that by enrolling in the course, you agree that it is acceptable to share your classroom work as part of the larger Berkeley Folk Music Festival and the Digital Study of Vernacular Music Project. If you have any concerns—technical, personal, ethical—about public uses of your course blog entries, please feel absolutely free to confer with me to make arrangements. Generally, I advocate what has become known as “open access” in digital work, but there can be very important and worthy exceptions to this philosophy. If you are curious, here is more on the ethics of public blogs for classroom use here:

Academic Integrity

All Weinberg College and Northwestern policies concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty are strictly enforced in this course. See for more details. In addition, because we are using potentially copyrighted materials in digital form, you will be asked by the Northwestern library to sign a waiver form that you will not violate any copyright laws. If you do so, this also constitutes academic dishonesty. If you have any question as to what constitutes plagiarism or academic dishonesty or copyright violation, please feel free to contact the instructor. Please note that under WCAS and Northwestern policy, the instructor is required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty. The instructor also reserves the right to assign a failing grade for the course if a student is found to have violated college or university policy concerning academic integrity.

History Writing Center

The History Writing Center is a place students enrolled in history courses may come for help with their writing assignments. While the University Writing Place ( remains an excellent resource, the History Writing Center, staffed by a department graduate student, offers advice tailored to the specific challenges of writing in a historical mode.

Special Needs

Students with special needs and disabilities that have been declared and documented through the Northwestern Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) should meet with the instructor to discuss any specific accommodations. For further information, see the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) website:


Dr. Michael J. Kramer

History & American Studies


Office hours: by appointment

Office location: 1908 Sheridan Road

Technology/Research Consultant

Josh Honn

Center for Scholarly Communication & Digital Curation


Office hours: by appointment

Office location: Digital Collections, Level 2, East Tower, University Library

Week 1. Introductions

This week’s schedule:

  • Thursday, 4/4/13. Introductions. Of folk revivals and folksonomies: taking the folk revival digital.

Readings/Viewings/Listenings for Tuesday, 4/9/13:

Week 2. What Was the Folk Revival?

This week’s schedule:

  • Tuesday, 4/9/13. Discussion (Olivier, Kelp, Time article). Folk, Roots, Vernacular Music? (Readings from Week 1).
  • Thursday. 4/11/13. Computer Lab #1: WordPress for digital historians: the basics of site setup, posts, pages, widgets. **Meet in Multimedia Learning Center, Kresge 1-315.**
  • Sunday, 4/14/13. Blog Assignment 1 (Text annotation) due by midnight, instructions:
  • Monday, 4/15/13. Blog Assignment 1 Comments due by midnight.

Readings/Viewings/Listenings for next Tuesday, 4/16/13:

Week 3. What Was the Folk Revival? Continued

This week’s schedule:

Readings/Viewings/Listenings for Tuesday, 4/16/13 and Thursday, 4/18/13:

Week 4. Reviving the Revival: Thinking About Sources and What Is Digital History?

This week’s schedule:

  • Monday, 4/22/13. Sunday. 4/21/13. Blog 2 Comments due by midnight.
  • Tuesday, 4/23/13. Discussion. Sources and themes in the Folk Revival. **Meet at Special Collections Library, Level 3, Deering Library.** See readings due below.
  • Wednesday, 4/24/13. Blog 2 Followup due by midnight.
  • Thursday, 4/25/13. Discussion. What Is Digital History? See readings due below.
  • Sunday, 4/28/13. Blog assignment 3 (WordPress Experiments 1) due by midnight, instructions:

Readings/Viewings/Listenings for Tuesday, 4/23/13:

  • Ellen J. Stekert, “Cents and Nonsense in the Urban Folksong Movement: 1930-1966,” in Transforming Tradition, 84-106, Access through Blackboard,
  • Robert Cantwell, “When We Were Good: Class and Culture in the Folk Revival,” in Transforming Tradition: Folk Music Revivals Examined, ed. Neil V. Rosenberg (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 35-60, Access through Blackboard,
  • Sam Hinton, “The Singer of Folk Songs and His Conscience,” Western Folklore 14, 3 (1955): 170-173; reprinted in Sing Out! 7, 1 (Spring 1957): 24-26, Access through Blackboard,
  • Susan Montgomery, “The Folk Furor,” Madamoiselle, December 1960, 98-99, 118, Access through Blackboard,
  • Alan Lomax, “The ‘Folkniks’—and the Songs They Sing,” Sing Out! 9 (1959): 30-31, reprinted in Alan Lomax, Selected Writings, 1934-1997, ed. Ronald D. Cohen  (New York: Routledge, 2003),
  • John Cohen, “In Defense of City Folksingers,” Sing Out! 9 (1959): 33-34, Access through Blackboard,
  • Film: Pete Seeger: The Power of Song, dir. Jim Brown (2007), Access through Blackboard,

Readings/Viewings/Listenings for Thursday, 4/25/13:

Week 5. Dylanology

This week’s schedule:

  • Monday, 4/29/13. Blog 3 comments due by midnight.
  • Tuesday, 4/30/13. Discussion. Dylan, Chronicles, 1-104.
  • Wednesday, 5/1/13. Blog 3 Followup due by midnight.
  • Thursday, 5/2/13. Discussion. Interpreting Dylan: Shank, Hale, Scorsese.
  • Sunday, 5/5/13. Blog Assignment 4 (Deformance and Performance), instructions:

This weeks’s readings/viewings/listenings:

  • Bob Dylan, Chronicles, Volume One (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004).
  • Ellen Willis, “Dylan,” from Cheetah (1967), in Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 1-20, Access through Blackboard,
  • Barry Shank, “‘That Wild Mercury Sound’: Bob Dylan and the Illusion of American Culture,” Boundary 2, 29 (Spring 2002): 97-123, Access through Blackboard,
  • Grace Elizabeth Hale, “Black as Folk: The Folk Music Revival, the Civil Rights Movement, and Bob Dylan,” in A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 84-131, Access through Blackboard,
  • Film: No Direction Home, dir. Martin Scorsese (2005), Access through Blackboard,

Week 6. Berkeley in the Sixties

This week’s schedule:

  • Monday, 5/6/13. Blog 4 Comments due by midnight.
  • Tuesday. 5/7/13. Computer Lab #2: Open session for final project development in WordPress; **Meet in MMLC, Kresge 1-301.**
  • Wednesday, 5/8/13. Blog 4 Followup due by midnight.
  • Thursday, 5/9/13. Discussion. Berkeley in the Sixties.
  • Sunday, 5/12/13. Blog Assignment 5 (Thinking Spatially: Geocoding) due, instructions:

Readings/Viewings/Listenings for Thursday, 5/9/13:

Week 7. Thinking about Festivals

This week’s schedule:

Readings/Viewings/Listenings for Thursday, 5/16/13:

  • Ronald D. Cohen, A History of Folk Music Festivals in the United States (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2008).
  • Robert Cantwell, “Feasts of Unnaming: Folk Festivals and the Representation of Folk Life,” in If Beale Street Could Talk: Music, Community, Culture (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008), 71-110, Access through Blackboard,
  • Ellen Willis, “Newport: You Can’t Go Down Home Again,” in Out of the Vinyl Deeps, 165-172, Access through Blackboard,
  • Film: Festival, dir. Murray Lerner (1967), Access through Blackboard,

Week 8. Remix: The Folk Revival Revue Review

This week’s schedule:

Readings/Viewings/Listenings for Thursday, 5/23/13:


  • Benjamin Filene, Romancing the Folk: Public Memory  and American Roots Music (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).
  • American Roots Music, Episodes 1-4, Access through Blackboard,
  • Archie Green, “Vernacular Music: A Naming Compass,” Musical Quarterly 77, 1 (Spring 1993): 35-46, Access through Blackboard,

New articles/materials:

Week 9. Final Reflections Hootenanny

This week’s schedule:

  • Monday, 5/27/13. Blog 7 Comments due by midnight.
  • Tuesday, 5/28/13. Open for continued discussion, etc.
  • Wednesday, 5/29/13. Blog 7 Followup due by midnight.
  • Thursday, 5/30/13. Computer Lab #3: Wireframing and Storyboarding. **Meet in MMLC, Kresge 1-315.** (Note: Professor Kramer out of town at a conference. Josh Honn and Matt Taylor will oversee.)
  • Sunday, 6/2/13. Blog Assignment 8 (Field Recording Experiment) due, instructions to come.
  • Monday, 6/3/13. Blog 9 (WordPress Experiments 3: Wireframing) due, instructions: Blog 8 Comments due by midnight.
  • Tuesday, 6/4/13. Digital Hootenanny: Presentations of projects in progress. Blog 8 Followup due by midnight. Blog 9 comments due by midnight.

Final, Due 6/13/13

Final Project Instructions

Your final task in this 395 research seminar is to develop an interpretive digital history project based on original research. Your final digital project must develop a convincing and compelling interpretation grounded in, but not necessarily exclusively focused on, materials in the Digital Berkeley Folk Music Festival Archive using the digitized materials in Omeka. You may add additional materials to this source of material as well.

A successful project will address specific arguments in the existing historiography of the American folk music revival and related topics based on the secondary materials we have explored or additional relevant scholarship. It will do so by demonstrating how new primary evidence relates to this extant literature. The project will also explore inventive and creative uses of digital technologies, tools, designs, and capabilities with the WordPress content management system (cms) to further the interpretive stakes of the project. In other words, your job is not to simply past a paper online, but to investigate how to use the WordPress environment and the digital in general to create a new kind of publication based on original historical research.

Projects will be evaluated by its ability to (1) perceive new aspects of the source material in relation to an existing historiography (secondary literature; existing interpretations); (2) compellingly frame your research question and your thesis (you might quite literally create posts, pages, and/or widgets that articulate your research question, the existing interpretations, the materials and methods you plan to use, and your thesis/argument; (3) compellingly express the arguments of other interpreters; (4) narrative your interpretation by using the digital to wield historical evidence effectively in service of an argument about your topic and theme; and (5) track your research progress effectively in some section of your final project.

The final project should pair one person from column A with one theme from column B. If you have a different idea for the final project, speak with instructor to develop a revised version of assignment.


Joan Baez

Doc Watson

Sam Hinton

Charles Seeger

Almeda Riddle

Archie Green

Alice Stuart

New Lost City Ramblers

Mike Seeger

John Cohen

Tracy Schwarz

Bess Lomax Hawes

Barry Olivier

Alan Lomax

Schlomo Carlebach

Jesse Fuller

Congress of Wonders

Song of Earth Chorale

Sandy and Jeanie Darlington

The Gand Family Singers

Steve Mann and Will Scarlette

Karen Williams

Diesel Ducks

Clarence Van Hook

Sawtooth Mountain Volunteers

Dr. Humbead’s New Tranquility String Band

Dave Frederickson

Allan MacLeod

Maybe Smith

Larry Diggs

David and Tina Meltzer

Vera Johnson

Paul Arnoldi

The Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company

Howlin’ Wolf

John Fahey

The Andrews Sisters of Berkeley

Crome Syrcus

The Morning

Huge Roach

Quicksilver Messenger Service

It’s a Beautiful Day

ED Denson

Daniel Moore

Richard Rollins

Ed Kahn

Mitch Greenhill

Theodore Bikel

Paul Hansen

Merritt Herring

Kathy and Carol

Pat Kilroy

Chris Strachwitz

Mark Spoelstra

DK Wilgus

Herb Pederson

Ralph Rinzler

Janet Smith

Carl T. “Doc” Sprague


Shifting definition of folk music


Free Speech Movement

Politics of 1968


Academic folklore








Public space

Personal expression

Sound and history

Theories of culture


Instrumentation (Significance of electric, acoustic, etc.)

Politics of dancing

Listening and sonic history

Sensory history



West coast

Cold War

Vietnam War

Labor movement





Community/Commons/Group/Social Belonging






Global culture

Concepts of the “vernacular”


1. Interpretation 25%

·      What is the interpretation?

·      Is the interpretation clearly, precisely, and evocatively conveyed?

2. Use of evidence 25%

·      Is the evidence from the Digital Berkeley Folk Music Festival Archive linked to the interpretation effectively and precisely?

·      Does the project deepen a reader’s understanding of the evidence from the archive?

·      Does the project effectively draw upon additional primary sources?

3. Use of secondary material 25%

·      Does the project effectively and compellingly link its interpretation and evidence to secondary materials?

·      Does it explain existing interpretations cogently?

·      Does it demonstrate clearly what is important about its intervention in the existing questions, debates, and dilemmas of scholarly understanding?

4. Use of the digital 25%

·      Does the project make innovative use of digital tools, capacities, technologies, and design to communicate its interpretation?

·      Does it do so conceptually?

·      Was the project able to implement this technology effectively?

NOTE: Citations and Bibliographic Requirements:

Your digital project should include an integration or section that lists credits and citations. These should include secondary sources (authors, titles, publications, dates) and any photographic credits you can locate. You may use Chicago Manual of Style as a rough guide for citation formats, but use common sense as well. Your task is to give your reader access to the sources you made use of in a clear and concise way and to credit ideas and materials you draw upon.

Examples of final projects:

Blog Assignment 1: Text Annotation

1. Create a crocodoc account (free) at This will allow you to save your annotated document as you work on it over time.

2. Use text annotation tool——to upload a pdf file of one of the readings and annotate it with your observations about particular words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs. What particular parts of the article seem most important to you? What do you observe about those particular parts?

3. Download your annotated PDF from Crocodoc by choosing “Download” and selecting the marked up PDF.

4. In WordPress, create a new post and upload/insert (click “Add Media”) your marked up PDF.

5. Embed your annotated PDF into your blog post. To do this:

  • In Crocodoc, click “Share”

  • Select “Embed” and copy the code

  • In your blog post, select the Text tab, paste code where you want the PDF to appear. Select “Visual” tab to return to composing your blog post.

6. Under the Tools icon on the lefthand side of your dashboard, select and use the wp-table-reloaded plug in—wp-table-reloaded. *Be sure to first create a copy of the table template, then use the copy, following the format for title.* Cut and paste or copy a description of each part of the document that you annotated (for instance a quotation from the text, a particular word) into the table in your blog post under item. Add in your description, analysis of significance, and any other comments as you think about the annotated item [WP-Table Reloaded Instructions].

7. Using the wp-table-reloaded plug in, embed your completed table into your blog post [WP-Table Reloaded Instructions]. There are two ways to do so. You can cut and paste the code from your WP-Table Reloaded table itself; it is written in the sentence “On this page…” above your table. Or you can use the “Insert a table” icon, which is just below the “visual” tab.

8. Assemble and edit your annotations into a coherent short analytic essay about three to five (3-5) paragraphs long. In the essay, your task is to flesh out what the precise link is between (a) the evidence from the article, (b) your annotated observation about that piece of evidence, and (c) the significance of your observation. Your essay should have a strong introductory opening, a clear and compelling sense of development, a clear topic sentence to begin each paragraph, explicit and articulated linkage of evidence to interpretation, and a strong conclusion.

(7) Select blog category from category choices–Blog 1.

(8) Add tags–the keywords of significance for your annotation and essay.

**Sample Blog Assignment 1 post:**

(9) Print, sign, and return Researcher Agreement Form (pdf).

(10) Print, sign, and return Transfer Agreement for Research Papers/Portfolios Form (pdf).

Blog Assignment 2: Timeline

1. Go to the Timeline JS website, read the “About” section (particularly the “tips and tricks”) and browse and play around with some of the example timelines.

2. At the top of the page, click on “File Formats” and then select “Google Doc Template.”

3. In Google Docs, use this template to create your timeline data. First, retitle the document as “Last Name – BFMF Timeline.” In the document, follow the template format but update the data provided to include information on at least 10 events you wish to portray in your timeline.

4. When your spreadsheet is complete, follow the instructions from the “File Formats” page on Timeline JS website.

5. In Timeline JS, go to the “Embed Generator” and paste in the link to your Google Doc spreadsheet. (You don’t need to worry about any of the settings, but feel free to play around with the font choices if you’d like.)

6. Click “Preview” to make sure everything looks the way you want it.

7. Copy the embed code.

8. In WordPress, create a new post.

9. Select the HTML tab and paste the embed code.

10. In Google Docs, for File > Download as > Open Document Format (.ods) and upload/insert that file into your blog post.

11. Compose your post and click the big blue “Publish” button when you are finished.

12. Develop a short essay (1-3 paragraphs) that reflects on the experience of developing a timeline for the folk revival. What was difficult? How did you choose certain names, dates? Using what you learned from the decisions you made for constructing your timeline, what observations do you now have about the history of the folk revival in the US? What observations do you have about the entire concept of constructing a historical timeline and thinking of history in a linear chronological manner?

13. Select category Blog 2.

14. Be sure to add tags (keywords) to your post.

Blog Assignment 3: WordPress Experiments 1

1. General introduction to WordPress, what you’ve done so far (assignments 1-2)

2. Log in to WordPress, navigate to your final project WP site

3. Update the site metadata (title, subtitle, etc.)

4. Log in to Omeka, browse, locate, download one object, 

5. Back in WordPress, create a new page and upload/insert object

6. Step back and discuss widgets, menus, navigation, etc.

7. Play around, change a few things, see what happens.

8. Make a post in your final project space: write one paragraph imagining the topic (performer) and theme on which your final project might focus. Use the column choices from the final assignment instructions:

9. Back on the spring 2013 collective blog create a post. Paste in your proposed topic and theme paragraph, followed by any questions you have about using WordPress, developing the final project, etc. What is still confusing? What else did you notice?

10. Chose category Blog 3.

12. Add tags (keywords) to your sring 2013 blog post.

Blog Assignment 4: Deformance

1. In Omeka (, browse and select an image that interests you to download.

2. Read all of “Glitching Files for Understanding: Avoiding Screen Essentialism in Three Easy Steps” by Trevor Owens.

3. Go back and follow the steps he took in the “Edit an Image with a Text editor” section using the image you downloaded from Omeka. Make sure to save each version of the file as you follow the instructions. When you are done you should have (1) the original .jpg file, (2) the post-cut up .jpg file, and (3) the .jpg file after you pasted new information in.

4. On the web, go to paper.js, select one of the examples, play around and then select “source in the upper right hand of the screen.” Try and read the code, look for numbers in blue, and experiment by inserting new numbers. Click “run” in the upper right hand corner of the screen and see what’s changed. Feel free to repeat/go crazy.

5. In WordPress, create a new post and upload/insert each of your 3 images.

6. Write a one-two paragraph reflection: Might the unlikely concept of “deforming” evidence lead to new historical insights or not? Did you notice anything new or surprising about the object by “deforming” it? What was your experience of playing with javascript in paper.js? What does code allow you to do with objects? Did this make you think about the archival material in a new way?

7. Be sure to choose category Blog 4.

8. Add tags (keywords) to your post.

Blog Assignment 5: Thinking Spatially – Geocoding

1. Explore examples of mapping and geocoding:

2. In WordPress, create a new post and click “Save as Draft.”

3. At the bottom of the page, under the text editor, locate the MapPress section. Select “New Map.” Give your map a title. [see How to use Map Press Pro (scroll down to the “Using the Plugin” section for details).]

4. Open the PDF of 1968 address cards:

5. Select 15 or more artist address (when there’s a choice, use permanent address) and copy and paste each address into your map by under “Add Location.”

6. To edit and annotate each address, select it from the left side of the map and then select “edit” on the annotation box that pops up. Add title and annotation. You do not need to save the address in the annotation title and box once you enter it onto the map as Mapquest Pro preserves the address.

7. Give each location a different letter marker by clicking on the marker icon in the upper right hand corner of each annotation box. Choose the annotation markers with letter (A, B, C, etc.). Each location should receive a different letter.

8. When all of your addresses are entered, annotated, and marked, you can resize your map by using the plus, minus signs in the upper lefthand corner of the map and the center button located next to the save button.

9. Click “Save,” roll over your map title to reveal the option to “Insert Into Post.” Click on “Insert Into Post.”

10. Using the wp-table-reloaded plug in——cut and paste your annotations into the table in your blog post [WP-Table Reloaded Instructions]. (You may alternatively assemble a spreadsheet on your own computer then cut and past annotations into the wp-table-reloaded template.) Each table item can be labeled using the respective letter of the marker in the time code slot, the title you have given the annotation for a title, and your annotation, plus any significance notes you wish to add.

11. Place your completed table into your blog post [WP-Table Reloaded Instructions].

12. Develop a brief explanation (one to three paragraphs) describing what you notice about your map. Are there any conclusions you can draw from the map? Anything that struck you in thinking spatially about performer locations?

13. Choose category Blog 5.

14. Add relevant tags (keywords) to your post.

Blog Assignment 6: WordPress Experiments 2

1. In WordPress, navigate to your final project space.

2. View your site and familiarize yourself its design and layout.

3. In the Dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes

4. Preview some of the themes and select a new one for your site by clicking on “Activate” under the theme of your choice.

5. View your site and see how its design and layout has changed.

6. In the dashboard, go to back to Appearance > Themes and under “Current Theme” see what types of options are available: Customize? Theme Options? Header? Any others? Feel free to change any of these settings—you can always undo them.

7. View your site again and capture it by taking a screenshot.

8. Repeat steps 4-7 with at least one other new theme.

9. In WordPress, create a new post on the collective blog. Upload/insert your screenshots to you post and then develop a one-three paragraph essay in which you note what strikes you about the relationship between theme design and historical narrative. Do the different themes offer different ways of telling a story? Describe specifically.

10. Choose category Blog 6.

11. Add relevant tags (keywords) to your post.

12. Finally, as you begin to develop your final project, in your site, add a preliminary interpretive digital history research question and thesis in a post, page, or widget (the question and thesis will most likely change as you continue your research).

Blog Assignment 7: History as Remix

1. Using Audacity (, create a remix using any of the sound files related to our course (archival recordings from the Berkeley collection or songs from the listening mixes). You may add additional material in if you wish.

2. Export your Audacity remix file as an mp3 file. Give it a title “Last Name – Remix.”

3. In WordPress, upload your Audacity remix mp3 file to the media library.

4. In WordPress, create a new post and link to your Audacity remix mp3 file.

5. Below the linked Audacity remix mp3 file, write a brief reflection (one-three paragraphs) that develops an explanation and analysis of your remix: what sound files did you bring together? What remix strategies/ideas/tactics did you use to create the remix? Did this make you think about the original recordings in a new way? How would you use your remix to think about the history of the folk revival or another related history topic.

6. Chose category Blog 7.

7. Add relevant tags (keywords) to your post.

Blog Assignment 8: Field Recording

1. Make a field recording of music, sound, or some other aural material and upload to the collective blog. You may use Garageband, Italk, or some other recording software of your choice. Ipads are available for rental at the library. Josh Honn and Brendan Quinn of the NU library are available for any technical consultation you might require. Output the file as an mp3 and use Audacity to edit if needed.

2. Develop a one-two paragraph essay describing and analyzing your field recording. What was it like to become a “song catcher,” or at least a “sound catcher”? Did it make you think about the work of folklorists such as Alan Lomax in a new way?

3. Chose category Blog 7.

4. Add relevant tags (keywords) to your post.

Blog Assignment 9: Wireframing

Now that you are familiar with WordPress and its themes, it’s time to begin creating wireframe and storyboards for your own final project. Even though the themes available to you may ultimately limit your vision, it’s good to use the wireframe and storyboard tools to map and design your argument for your online space.

1. Go to (Wireframing is a practice that is still very paper-based, so feel free to mock-up your website on paper, take photos of those, and upload/insert them to WordPress. If you are using an iPhone, you may want to check out the POP app too.)

2. Begin drawing in the browser window provided. Play around with the tools available (add a picture, add some dummy text, etc.)

3. Construct a wireframe for the first page users will see when they visit your website.

4. Click the save icon and copy the unique URL that is created for your wireframe. Paste that URL somewhere safe so you can come back to it later.

5. Now begin a new wireframe for one of the pages in your website that is not the front page. Think about how that page might look different and how users will navigate from it to other pages, etc.

6. Repeat step 4 (and repeat step 5 as many times as you’d like).

7. In WordPress, create a new blog post and paste the two (or more) URLs of your wireframe

8. Develop a one-two paragraph reflection comparing your wireframe designs with any constraints you see for implementing the wireframe designs within WordPress. What might work? What is difficult to achieve? What is the interpretive thrust driving your design? What is the narrative of your design? How do these emerge within your wireframe? How might they function within your final WordPress project? What can you do outside of WordPress that themes enable within WordPress? What are the limitations of WordPress themes? Which theme might be most appropriate for your project? What else did this exercise make you consider about your final project and developing an interpretive digital history project in general?

9. Select category Blog 9.

10. Add relevant tags (keywords) to your post.

Blog 10: Tag Cloud Analysis/Reflections

1. In a WordPress blog post on the Spring 2013 Collective blog, analyze your experience of designing an interpretive digital history project in WordPress. How has working in the digital domain, particularly in WordPress, been similar and/or different from a traditional research essay? What do you feel you have learned thus far about the folk revival, modern U.S. history, digital history, or simply history in general? What have been the challenges, dilemmas, or problems of researching and writing history in this form?

2. Examine the collective blog tag cloud for the spring 2013 course. What do you notice in terms of keywords? Try pasting texts of posts into Do you notice anything qualitatively in the quantitative analysis of the corpus/archive of our course blog (or some portion of it)? If so, describe.

3. Look back at your initial sketch from our first class meeting, in which you quickly drew out a vision of what folk music was. Has your sense of folk music changed? Has anything been confirmed? Explain with reference to the sketch. Draw a new sketch and upload it to your post if you wish to do so.

4. Select category Blog 10.

5. Add relevant tags (keywords) to your post.

Call for Responses: Teaching with Technology

The MediaCommons Front Page Collective is looking for responses to the
survey question: What does the use of digital teaching tools look like
in the classroom?

Several educational institutions
(NCTE<> for
example) have addressed teaching with technology, including both the
necessity for it and the need for using technology within sound pedagogy.
Teaching with digital tools is growing and offering online sections is
becoming the norm. With this survey, we hope to bring together teachers and
scholars who utilize technology in their own classrooms to talk about not
only tools that scholars can apply, but also some of their findings in
their own classrooms. This project will run from May 20 to June 21.

Responses may include but are not limited to:

  • Digital tools used in the classroom
  • Digital tools for grading/class organization
  • How digital tools shape the classroom
  • Creating multimodal assignments
  • Using digital tools from a student’s perspective
  • Unexpected/unforeseen outcomes of using digital tools

Responses are 400-600 words and typically focus on introducing an idea for
conversation.  Proposals may be brief (a few sentences) and should state
your topic and approach. Groups may also submit a cluster of responses.
Submit proposals to by *May 10* to be considered
for inclusion into this project.

In case you are unfamiliar with *MediaCommons*, we are an experimental
project created in 2006 by Drs. Kathleen Fitzpatrick and Avi Santo, seeking
to envision how a born-digital scholarly press might re-conceptualize both
the processes and end-products of scholarship. MediaCommons was initially
developed in collaboration with the Institute for the Future of the Book
through a grant from the MacArthur Foundation and is currently supported by
New York University’s Digital Library Technology Services through funding
from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment
for the Humanities.