Digital History Project Draft- Curated Playlist for NPR- Lina Mann

My digital history project has taken on a very different form from my initial proposal. If you remember, back in February I proposed an interactive map of the Middle East which would include photos, audio clips, and interpretive descriptions. I hoped that this map would complement a group project I was working on for NPR through my Public History Practicum class. I thought it would be a fantastic digital element to add. This was to be created through a fantastic web platform called storymaps and was looking like a REALLY COOL PROJECT! Well the good news is that this idea proved to be so awesome that my group decided to actually create this map for the class. We are now working on two maps and a wordpress page which will feature these digital resources for kids doing projects through National History Day! The bad news is that my digital history project got scooped.

Originally I was going to create a third storymap that wouldn’t use the NPR audio from All Things Considered. This would have been a more modern day take on the boundaries that exist today in Israel. However, this really lacked a historical component.

After hearing feedback from my project partner at NPR,  she was interested in having a curated playlist of content that would provide specific clips students could listen to and understand. This is key for NPR since their radio archives are not available to the public due to a complex set of copyright restrictions. Therefore, they cannot provide a database of content.  In the future they want to release certain radio segments, cleared for permissions, in a series of “curated playlists.” These playlists will cover a certain subject and craft an audio journey for the listener with related content. I decided to create a playlist like this using audio related to the Camp David Accords.

Since this playlist is theoretically for students, I want to be able to provide a description of the selected clips that will briefly describe the clip and reveal how All Things Considered covered the Accords and the lead up to the negotiations. The goal is that students will appreciate that radio content, an underused primary source, can be really valuable for historical study.

After examining how certain websites manage their online archival audio content, I decided on a format for my playlist. I was inspired by the FDR Presidential Library. Here is a link to their audio archives .   They provide the audio clip within a table that gives a date, description, and audio length. It is easy to understand and accessible.

For my project, I created a similar table for my playlist. In order to do this I needed some code. I have no clue where to even start with code, so I got some help from my wonderful classmate Josh! He quickly coded my a simple table outline that I could use to input my information. I can’t thank him enough for this. He did it in about 10 minutes, and it seriously would have taken me multiple weeks to figure out. I then used this outline to input my dates, descriptions, and audio files. I am still working on the interpretation for these clips so if you have any suggestions let me know!

Hopefully, this playlist can be inserted into my group’s website alongside our story maps and can be a useful model for NPR’s future efforts to release archival radio clips to the public.

Here is the playlist! Curated Playlist1

And here is a screenshot with a little bit of the code: 



2 Replies to “Digital History Project Draft- Curated Playlist for NPR- Lina Mann”

  1. This looks fantastic Lina, and it is probably exactly what Julie was looking for. Whatever format we finally settle on for presenting the maps should definitely include this.

  2. It’s great to see how the project has shifted and developed and in many ways you’re original project getting scooped by your classmates is it’s own form of success.

    The curated playlist you’ve developed displays nicely and as we discussed in class I think you’ve now got the idea on how you can link up the audio files to let it play. So it seems like you have the core technical things sorted out for how this can work. Along with that, it seems like you have a nice set of resources and a solid set of descriptions for them. So overall it seems like things are going great.

    Given that your audience is teachers and students, my sense is that it would likely also be useful for you to think through some of the supporting material that would make this useful and used by teachers. To that end, you might take a look at something like the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources sets -> In general, teachers need a bit more support to figure out how and when to use some set of sources for particular teaching activities so those might be a useful examples to look at to think about things you might do to enhance the usability of your resource for teachers.

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