September 26, 2006

Good heavens!  What is this? 

Tip of the scrub brush to Pastiche.

Tantalizing partnership in Abilene, Texas

September 26, 2006

When I handed in my paper on the history of the Pleasant Grove Review to my journalism history professor, I lamented the lack of really good books and articles on Utah papers in general, and I noted how I had difficulty finding experts to cite, and so I had to spend hours in the backrooms of libraries and archives going through newspapers. He gave me a long deadpan look, and said, “You’re the expert — now.”

Actually, finding the stuff in those odd places was a good bit of fun.

Kids in Abilene, Texas, may have an easier go of such research in the future. A local consortium has funding to archive local history sources.

The Abilene Library Consortium has been awarded $2.2 million to begin a Digital Archives project. The Consortium members are Abilene Christian University, Abilene Public Library, Hardin-Simmons University, McMurry University, and Howard Payne University. The five-library group will build a digital repository to preserve and present historically significant materials that tell the stories of people within their communities. The repository will be available to the public and to each home institution. Staff will schedule workshops to assist individuals and agencies in preserving their historical records.

The Dodge Jones Foundation has awarded $2 million dollars and the Dian Graves Owen Foundation awarded $200 thousand dollars to begin the project and sustain it for the first three years. The grants include funding for equipment, staff, training and outsourced services.

I wonder whether high school teachers in Abilene are salivating at the chance to turn loose a small army of young historians, or are they instead suffering through one more meeting on how to boost TAKS scores?

Tip of the scrub brush to Library Technology in Texas.

An MIT education, on-line

September 26, 2006

Occasionally we visit the use of technology in education. It seems to me that our technical acumen far outstrips our serious application of technology to learning, and we should be trying to close the gap.

MIT offers OpenCourseWare, which is a large catalog of offerings, on line. It is a step towards realizing the potential of on-line learning:

a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world. It is true to MIT’s values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.


  • Is a publication of MIT course materials
  • Does not require any registration
  • Is not a degree-granting or certificate-granting activity
  • Does not provide access to MIT faculty

Historians, especially teachers wishing to crib for great syllabi, will want to look at offerings like the courses from Pauline Maier. Economists should explore offerings in economics, too.

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