Kalani Craig, Ph.D.

Spring 2019: Digital Public History

Welcome to the ASURE Digital Public History Discovery Lab!

The practical details

What is this class about?

This semester is all about how you make history. It's not just about where your grandparents emigrated from or what some famous person did 3 centuries ago. It's also about that mug you just drank coffee out of and how we can communicate the story of that mug in a world where smartphones theoretically put everything we'd ever want to know about mugs at our fingertips.

How will this class work?

  • This is a hands-on research-oriented history course and as such, this syllabus will be partially built by you. You'll choose something you brought to campus (A quilt? A mug? A backpack? A photo?), which means you'll be your own research subject for the first 8 weeks of the course. The first 8 weeks will also include reading about microhistory, public history, oral history and digital history so that you have a sense of what professional historians do with their time.
  • During the second 8 weeks, we'll do a History Harvest that takes us out in to the IU community and engages the public. We'll choose 5 of the objects we started with (democracy at work!), find more of them and the people who use, have, remember (or maybe even have burned) these objects, and build a digital archive and exhibit that captures these objects and the experiences around them for posterity.
    • Or will we? Our first day of class will be about you, what you value about history in public, and whether a History Harvest is a good way to communicate those values. Democracy at work, indeed.
  • We'll also visit and be visited by a boatload (technical term) of public-history professionals at museums, community organizations, and other universities.

It's public, so exactly who will see my work?

At the end of the semester, we'll have built 3 things: an individual project around each of your objects, 5 online exhibits that put IU's history on display** (these will also become our "posters" for the ASURE April 22 poster session), and a physical exhibit at the IU Archives in Wells Library that links to the 5 online exhibits.

What will I get out of this?

Well, obviously, you'll learn more about your own history and about IU's history. You'll also get project management, data science and data visualization skills, some basic HTML, and community-organizing skills. Finally, successful students who contribute high-quality work* and choose to use their full name on the public projects** will have a portfolio piece that demonstrates all of these historical, public-impact and digital skills to potential employers.

* "High-quality" is at my discretion and requires historical accuracy and original work.

** Your work is yours and so is your privacy. All students will participate in the poster portion of the project for the ASURE session on April 22 but students with privacy concerns can a.) appear on the author list via a pseudonym; b.) choose to include their work without authorship attribution; c.) redact their work entirely (the latter after a conversation with me one-on-one) without penalty after the poster session.

Course Meeting:
T 3:35-6:05p 
Jan 7-May 4, 2019
GISB 1106, IUB
HIST-A200 29335
Professor: Kalani Craig

Office Hours: By appointment on Zoom
Email: craigkl@indiana.edu
Web site: www.kalanicraig.com
Twitter: @kalanicraig

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  1. Assignments and Grading
  2. Project Plan
  3. Conduct (Yours and Ours)
  4. Sample Wireframe
  5. Starting Items
  6. Email Template for History Harvest
  7. Welcome to the ASURE Digital Public History Discovery Lab!
  8. In-Class Activities
  9. Readings & Course Materials

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Assignments and Grading

I want you to attempt new skills without requiring that you instantly master all of those new skills. In all categories, demonstrable improvement throughout the semester will be rewarded. 

To take full advantage of this mastery assessment process, you should attend class, participate in discussion, project building and peer review, complete response revisions in a timely fashion and demonstrate ongoing effort throughout the semester.

Reflections: 8 short writing encounters (some in-class, some before class, some after class) that will ask you to engage with the readings, visits and visitors in the first half of our semester, in which we get to know the world of digital and public histories. To encourage further risk taking and to encourage mastery rather than completion, these are graded on the depth of your engagement with that week's topic. 16 pts.

Individual project bibliography: This project, due in week 4, will hone your individual research skills by asking you to anchor an annotated bibliography of secondary sources around the object you choose. 4 pts.

Individual project wireframe: This project, due in week 7, will hone your individual research skills by asking you to build what we call a "wireframe", the bones of an exhibit about the object you chose in an easy-to-master PPT format. The wireframe should focus on one historical argument you drew from your research, help guide your audience through the other possible arguments that an object like yours can make, include full exhibit text and an audience activity for your object, and consider the likelihood that there are other similar objects in the community (with references to sources at the IU archives). These will all be contextualized by a secondary source bibliography that is referenced regularly in the wireframe. 20 pts.

Digital history collaboration: The second half of the semester will focus on developing a small-scale group historical project using one or more of the digital tools you’ve encountered to analyze, and present your analysis of, objects from the IU community This collaboration grade will be adjusted based on a 2-page response paper that asks you to defend specific choices you made in your contributions to the group project and on anonymous peer review of your contribution to the project. 40 pts (35 from the group project and 5 from the response paper)

Course engagement: Getting involved in a historical conversation, whether in person or in writing, is the single most important task a historian undertakes. Adding your voice to in-class discussion and providing peer reviews of other students’ projects will help you hone your historical thinking skills by exposing you to alternative viewpoints. These activities will also improve your ability to communicate critiques of your peers’ analytical and writing skills in both oral and written form. Students who attend regularly and do the reading in advance but do not bring written notes to class, contribute to class activities or participate fully in group projects and peer review will earn a maximum of half of the possible participation points. Class disruptions, such as audible talking or cellphones ringing, will lead to deductions from the course-engagement grade. 20 pts.

Attendance: You may miss two classes without penalty. If you know you'll be gone in advance, it's helpful to let me know. Otherwise, I don't distinguish between excused and unexcused for these two absences and I don't need notes. Beyond these two classes, you will lose 2 points for each additional absence. Students with extended or chronic illnesses are not subject to the 2-class penalty; however, these absences will require documentation and makeups for in-class responses will not be offered.

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Project Plan


  • Vision and Innovation
    • Why this is new
  • Goals
    • Research questions
    • Expected results
  • Need and Context
    • Lit review
  • Research Methods
    • How you will do it
  • Research Plan Proposed Schedule
    • Schedule
    • List of deliverables
  • Intellectual Merits
    • Why this is academically rigorous
  • Broader Impacts
    • Who will read this
    • Integrating fun output into academic output (e.g. Instagram vs object catalog with metadata)
  • Personnel
    • Who are our experts in which domains
  • Budget
    • What will we buy
  • Informal

    • Team member expectations
    • Conflict resolution mechanisms
    • Project/to-do list tracking structure
      • Tools and protocols


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Conduct (Yours and Ours)

Your personal conduct

You should treat other course participants, research subjects and instructional staff with respect. Respect is not the same as agreement. Respect means using respectful language when stating your ideas, asking questions or disagreeing with others. In class it means avoiding disruptive behavior (talking to other students outside of discussion, using laptops or cellphones for unrelated work). Smartphones, tablets and laptops are welcome in the classroom, but only when they are used for work directly related to our class inquiry.

If you have a personal issue that interferes with your ability to maintain normal participation in day to day life, there are resources available on campus. Student Affairs can assist with a disability for which you need additional considerations, and CAPS and the Center for Human Growth Counseling Services can help with personal issues. in daily life, It's your responsibility to take the first step but we can help.

Your conduct in public

This course involves a significant amount of public-facing history, engagement with academic and community professionals, and work with real every day people. Your conduct should conform to professional standards that include respect according to the classroom conduct outlined above. You should also be prepared to show up on time at a variety of different places in and near Bloomington's campus but not necessarily in our classroom during our weekly T 3:35-6:05 class meeting. All of our meeting locations are readily visible in the Canvas Calendar.

Your academic conduct

"Plagiarism—A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgment. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever he or she does any of the following:

  1. Quotes another person's actual words, either oral or written;
  2. Paraphrases another person's words, either oral or written;
  3. Uses another person's idea, opinion, or theory; or
  4. Borrows facts, statistics, or other illustrative material, unless the information is common knowledge."

(Quoted from Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct, Part III, Student Misconduct, Academic Misconduct)

This is the grossest form of academic dishonesty. Plagiarism will result in an automatic failing grade in the course. The case will also be forwarded to the appropriate administrators for disciplinary action. IU-Bloomington general course policies are available at http://registrar.indiana.edu/stu_infopoli.shtml. I do utilize plagiarism-detection software (Turnitin, etc.) when I suspect there has been academic misconduct.

Our conduct

This syllabus has thus far emphasized what you are supposed to do, but we as your instructors have responsibilities too. We will treat you with respect, encourage a comfortable classroom environment, and return your assignments with constructive comments in a timely fashion (barring unforeseen circumstances). We will be in class as scheduled, on time, and will be readily available for office-hours consultations. We will answer Canvas Messages promptly during business hours, again barring unforeseen circumstances, and are happy to schedule additional time to discuss your work, any difficulties you may be having or to answer any questions you may be worried about asking in class. We're happy to talk more about the class but you need to take the first steps and ask. NB: please do note that we are not available after 5 or on weekends.

If you have a learning disability, a chronic illness, a time conflict, or another issue that may impact your involvement in the course, we are happy to accommodate your documented needs. We simply need to know about these issues in advance of any assignments or other work that may be affected. Please come see us as soon as possible.

You are encouraged to make an appointment with the instructional staff to discuss papers and/or issues raised in class.

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Sample Wireframe


File IMG_4187.JPG could not be included in the ePub document. Please see separate zip file for access.

Charles the Bald (?), 9th century freestanding bronze statue

Between the the equestrian statue of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (cast in around 175 and now on the Capitoline Hill) and the Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata (by Donatello, dating from 1453), only one freestanding bronze statue is still extant. This statue of either Charlemagne (d 813) or his grandchild Charles the Bald (d 877) is a mere 8 inches high, compared to the 14 feet heights of both Marcus Aurelius and the Gattamelata. These statues are a stand-in for the ways that the Middle Ages are treated as in between (and inferior to) the Roman Imperial period and the Renaissance, although the general labelling of the "Dark Ages" has been refuted by scholars who point out major scientific advances like the breaking of white light into a spectrum by Roger Bacon, etc.

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Starting Items

Converse map personal polaroid pictures Shoes
Dance shoes Mugs phone Shoes
Doc martens Multi-colored light bulb photos from home Stuffed Animals
feminist pins my Vans Pin sweatshirt
Flags necklace/ring Poster Television
Guitar Necklaces Pottery Timberland Boots
Hoosier Cabinet Old photographs/scrapbooks Record Player Vitamin Gummies
IU shirtfor gameday Origami books/paper Refrigerator Wall Phone
Letters Paintbrushes Ring Wallet
letters Pants Rings water bottle
Letters weighted blanket

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Email Template for History Harvest


We hope you're enjoying your time at IU. Unfortunately, our time here doesn't last forever. I'm in a history class doing research about objects that are important to IU students so we can preserve your place in IU's history.

We would greatly appreciate if you could contribute to the history of IU's student body by bringing us your important object to digitize. For some ideas, check out what our class has done already at http://dighist.indiana.edu/historyharvest/

If you're willing to participate, that means two things:

  1. Please fill out this google form about an item that holds sentimental or practical meaning for you: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScnAh6QqC09MJleFKIM7MMxayxLX2HFWQAoQvzNXnpdD8vU4w/viewform?usp=sf_link
  2. Please come to our class for 15 minutes or so, EAT PIZZA and bring your object. We can take photos of it, do a short 2-minute interviews about why it matters to you, and then send you on your way.

We have two times available: Tuesday March 19 3-6 and Friday March 22 4-6. (If neither works, please let me know and we can figure out a time.)

Did we mention there will be pizza?

Hope to see you there,


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In-Class Activities


  • Draft poster feedback: https://forms.gle/1B5LP4ukXoVsyMju9 (today at 4 with HIST-H580 Teaching College History, Dr. Arlene Diaz)
  • Poster session schedule for April 22:
    • Staffing for April 22 4-6 poster session .
    • I will arrive at the IMU turnaround with printed posters and poster stands at 3:40. You'll carry them up while I park and then I'll come up to help finish setup.
  • Exhibit planning: April 23 in class
  • Final writeup of your assigned objects and stories: Due in GitHub before exhibit setup on May 2.
  • Exhibit set up, finals week session: May 2, 5-7 pm, in the IU Archives (we'll be arranging and printing our physical exhibit)

2019-04-09 Posters and Editing

2019-03-05 History Harvest web site and 1st-wave outreach

2019-02-26 Resources for Planning the History Harvest

2019-02-12 Community Engagement

2019-02-05 Community History

  1. On site: Divide into groups of 2 (or 3) and explore one of these 6 mini-exhibits.
    • Cemetery of the month
    • License plates
    • Log cabin
    • Cook exhibit
    • Barbershop exhibit
    • Sports gallery
  2. Use the provenance of the exhibit items, the types of items in the exhibit the language in them, the language in the exhibit description and the ways the exhibits are presented to determine:
    • What's the identity-formation structure behind this exhibit? Is it historian's prerogative, or community self-determination?
    • Where are the tensions between those two things in this exhibit?
    • Document your stuff in BOX
  3. Meet Andrea Hadsell, Education Manager at MCHS!
  4. Choose either to:
    • find more objects to put your object from last week in context
    • find an exhibit with several objects in it that would benefit from the digital-history method you chose last week (maps, networks or text analysis).
  5. Take the Monroe County History Society Reading Reflection

Resources from MCHS

Things to consider for our history harvest

  • Where will we put our metadata?
  • How will we credit photos from the community?
  • How will we tie a coherent story together?

2019-01-29 Digital History

How do we use maps, networks and text mining to analyze and contextualize history?

  1. Networks: http://discern.uits.iu.edu:9380/netcreate/2019-01-29-A200/#/ 
  2. Text mining: https://www.jstor.org/analyze/ (paste in the article you found last week)
  3. Mapping: http://americanhistory.si.edu/art-industry/ and https://drive.google.com/open?id=1j8UCA9KMY_zWgzwmOjJhQx72qjwRmzPG&usp=sharing

How do we use these in our exhibits?

  • File Sample WireFrame.pptx could not be included in the ePub document. Please see separate zip file for access.
  • Do today's reading reflection: Digital History Reflection

For more on digital history:

2019-01-22: Managing micro history

  • What does micro history look like in a public-history setting?
    • What story or stories does this specific object tell?
      • What story or stories would objects like this tell?
      • What objects could tell stories like the ones outlined above?
      • What historical trends do these stories help outline?
    • Who else has written these stories and histories before?
      • Where can we get that information?
  • Who would be interested in reading the histories this object tells?
    • In what form?
    • In what venue?
    • How many objects or stories would we need to make a compelling, complete-ish take for these audiences in these forms and venues that includes object stories and the historical trends those stories illustrate?
    • What impact would it have on these audiences?
  • What's feasible within the limits of this object and our current project?
    • Can we access these objects or objects like it?
      • To whom do the objects belong?
      • What do we need to consider as we gather the objects
    • How much time will it take to tell one object's stories?
      • How many people will that take?
      • What equipment do we need?
      • What format(s) do we need to plan for?
  • Starting Items (Canvas Page)
  • Final groups (BOX note)
  • Examples:

2019-01-15: IU Archives

  • What do we gain when we have digitized objects in a digital exhibition? What do we lose when we don't have physical access to the objects in a real-world exhibition? What do you want to capture about the real-world objects?
  • Take today's IU Archive Reflection between 5:30pm and 6:10pm (password is distributed in class) and add your objects (with your archival research) to our BOX note at https://iu.box.com/s/fhlbity1tvlhhryptsk2pc5viurbtm35
  • Access to IU Archives Collection: http://webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/findingaids/welcome.do

2019-01-08: Class Intro

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Readings & Course Materials

Required readings

A variety of readings are drawn from our 1 single purchased textbook, academic sources like JSTOR, websites like history harvest and scanned sources in Canvas Files. All readings are required and should be complete before class begins on the date the reading is assigned in the Course Calendar.

There is a single purchased textbook (~$10) that provides basic context and the themes that make a historian a historian: Nigel Raab, Who is the Historian (available at the bookstore or as an ebook at https://www.amazon.com/Who-Historian-Nigel-Raab/dp/144263572X/). One of our first tasks will be to look at Raab's table of contents and figure out where his work is appropriate to us as a class, so you'll be involved in assigning reading to yourself.

How to read

History is primarily about argumentation, but a basic understanding of chronology and detail recall is also necessary. Figuring out *which* details to recall is easier when you have a framework. That means the best way to deal with a historical source is to read it twice.

The first pass is a quick skim. Look for important and/or repeating names/dates/places/events, and themes. Where do these mentions shift from one set of names to another, and how does that help you understand basic structure?

The second close-read pass helps you fill in details, put those details in context, and make more careful decisions about what the author intended his or her audience to do, think, or believe.

Remember: not all historical sources are written, but we can still "read" an image or an architectural plan or a quilt like historians.

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