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Greetings:

Pat and I want to report on what amounted to a road test of our project's
prototype! We have identified the documents we intend on using--they come
primarily from the Murray Pamphlet Collection but also the Detroit
Publishing, Federal Writers' Project, Panoramic Photographs, and Edison
Collections--and are busy with arranging them into a web presentation
(that is, Pat is busy arranging them--I look at those pages of numbers,
letters, carots, etc. like they are Tarot cards!).

I had my classes in the computer lab last week with some simple search
assignments for several of the collections and the focus question about
African American identity. Most of what we did the first day was learning
the difference between keywords and index, browsing and searching, and
what was in the collection (Is there a generic lesson plan that does this
already?). The second day they focused on documents themselves and we
talked about the nature of historical sources and some problems of
interpretation (Federal Writers' Project life histories and Detroit
photographs and captions are particularly good for this). I thought their
discussion was surprising sophisticated--they recognized, for example,
the difficulty of making a dependable generalization based on a historical
record of only 3 photographs and the need to integrate different kinds of
sources. Our last task, which we will do in the classroom this week with a
few printed documents, will be to pool what everyone found with the view
of arriving at a reasonable interpretation of the era.

It's been interesting, fun, and a good thing be working with someone else
who has different talents and abilities than your own!

SCOTT CULCLASURE
High Point Central High School
High Point, NC