FINAL PROJECT: Southern Temple Bombing Timeline

For my final project, I created an interactive timeline called “Southern Jews & Civil Rights: Attacks on Jewish Institutions from 1957-1958.” Through my multiple StoryMaps, I wanted to educate others on southern temple bombings during this era, as well as the social position of southern Jews in the region, Black-Jewish relations, and the rise of antisemitism after World War II in the United States. I find that some of these topics, especially southern temple bombings and southern Jews in social movements, are not talked about enough in historical scholarship today — American Jewish historians tend to focus on northern Jews, due to their ability to be more outspoken in their communities.

My timeline has many different pages! The main page, which houses the main timeline and map view, also contains background information on all of the topics above. From the main page, users can click on the hyperlinks in the timeline or map and explore a particular bombing or attempted bombing in detail. For each incident page, I included any newspaper coverage I found (with links to, as well as a day-by-day description of what happened until the press stopped reporting on it.

All of the sources I used are available in a Google Doc, which is hyperlinked at the bottom of the webpage.

Below is my project poster from the in-class poster session:

Rachael Davis’s Project Poster

At first, I didn’t think I would use newspapers as my main source, but I am glad I did! I was able to identify that some dates that are widely used amongst southern Jewish historians are incorrect or need further research. For example, the attempted bombing of a temple in Gastonia, North Carolina is often said to have happened on February 11, 1958, but the newspapers were already reporting on it by February 9, 1958. This is interesting, because many of the scholars I have read use letters from rabbis to secure and pin-point these dates. Additionally, I found some other bombing incidents, like threats to multiple temples in South Carolina, which are never discussed in scholarship.

Overall, I am very pleased with my project, and I am grateful that I learned how to use StoryMaps! I think it was the perfect medium to use for this project. It allowed me to have a lot of flexibility, spread out my information to multiple pages, and explore other ways to educate others. (I am horrible at geography and even amazed myself that I managed to make a map!)

While I like how this turned out, I do not want to be done with it! I definitely think there is some more room for improvement. I would like to work on making my descriptions of the days more engaging and add more archival resources in the future, like correspondence between rabbis, sermons after the bombings, television and radio coverage of the bombings, etc. I would also like to add the other incidents I found, as well as input more information on the bombings or attempted bombings of Black institutions that often happened at the same time, or a few days after Jewish institutions were threatened or decimated.

Please let me know if you have any questions or any suggestions! I really loved having class with you all.

I hope you enjoy and are able to learn something new with my timeline!

— Rachael Davis

HOW TO: The Programming Historian

Main Link:


Originally founded in 2008 by historians William J. Turkel and Alan MacEachern, the Programming Historian is an open-source, peer-reviewed academic website that has thorough tutorials on a wide range of digital tools and techniques that historians can use to make their research and teaching more interactive and immersive. With their 88 published lessons, users can learn how to code with the Python programming language, brush up on their Omeka skills or even learn how to edit audio with Audacity.

The Programming Historian is available in four languages: English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. There are also separate project teams for each language to facilitate and edit submissions, who seek to foster “a diverse and inclusive community of editors, writers, and readers.”

How to Use

After pulling up the website on your browser, you may pick the language you want to learn in. Sadly, I only know one of the languages offered, so I picked the English version (the first option).  

You can then choose to go to the lessons homepage, provide feedback, write your own lesson, or learn about the Programming Historian’s team. For this practicum, we will focus on the “Learn” function.

After clicking, you should be redirected to “The Lesson Index,” which is organized by “typical phases of the research process, as well as general topics,” like ‘APIS,’ ‘PYTHON,’ and ‘MAPPING.’ However, if you cannot find the exact lesson you are looking for, you can always use the search engine.

To practice, I searched one of our favorite tools, “Omeka,’ in The Lesson Index and five tutorials appeared. There are many great lessons that range in level of difficulty and skill, including “Installing Omeka” and “Creating an Omeka Exhibit.”

For those doing some last-minute cramming on your final projects, I definitely recommend the Programming Historian to learn how to use your platforms if there are lessons available. For example, the “Installing Omeka” lesson, gives you step by step instructions on how to sign up for an Omeka account, install your server and database, and more.  

Additionally, the “Creating an Omeka Exhibit” lesson teaches you the basics on how to map your digital exhibit, as well as add different types of content onto your webpage.

If you want to go hardcore and learn how to code, the two main programming languages they have lessons on are Python and R. Like Omeka, the Programming Historian offers basic and advanced tutorials on each. See below for some examples:

Overall, I think the Programming Historian is an amazing and accessible resource for historians and educators. The Programming Historian’s team truly accomplished their goal of creating a “collaborative, productive, and sustainable” environment for “scholars to learn from one another.”

Other Ways to get Involved

If you are interested in contributing to the website, you can write your own lesson. Unlike traditional historical journals, the editors at Programming Historian do not simply accept or reject tutorials. Instead, they work with the submitter to craft the clearest and most useful lesson as possible.

To learn more about their submission process, click here.

If you are fluent in more than one of their publication languages, you can also help them translate some of their lessons from one language to another.

Lastly, you can always provide feedback or report problems. Click here to contact them.

I hope this practicum helped you learn more about the Programming Historian! Please let me know if you have any questions, and I will do my best to answer them for you. Have a good week and best of luck with finals!

— Rachael Davis


Main Link:


Standing for Commons Open Repository Exchange, CORE was created in 2015 by the Modern Language Association (MLA) and Columbia University Libraries/ Information Services’ Center for Digital Research and Scholarship. CORE is “a digital repository for MLA members to share and archive all forms of scholarly communication.” In other words, with this openly accessible storage site, scholars are able to easily share and get feedback on their work from others.

Types of works featured on MLA CORE:

  • Peer-reviewed journal articles
  • Dissertations and theses
  • Conference papers
  • Syllabi
  • Data Sets
  • Abstracts
  • Presentations
  • Translations
  • Book reviews
  • Maps
  • Charts
  • Much more!

On this site, the submitter remains the owner of any work they may deposit and share.

Fun Fact: this online project was a awarded a $60,000 start-up grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2014.

“Knowledge of recent work in the humanities often spreads at a snail’s pace. By giving our members a way to instantly share their syllabi, conference papers, blog posts, and research, we hope to eliminate some of the barriers to collaboration and discoverability in the humanities and foster the work of our community” — Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication of MLA

How to Register

For me, the easiest way to make an account was through Humanities Commons. When you get to the home page, look toward the upper-right corner and click on the “Register” icon. It should take you to this page. Click “Register Now” and follow the instructions to make a free account.

After making an account and signing in, look toward the side bar on the Humanities Commons webpage and click “CORE Repository.” Then, you should see two options: “Upload York Work” and “Find Open Access Materials.”

Uploading Materials

When you click on the “Upload Your Work” button in the image above, it takes you to a form that asks for the file you wish to upload, whether or not it has been previously published, its title, item type, description, and more. You can also add any tags to it to expand its reach.

Click on the “Deposit” button at the end and that’s it! You’re done! Easy.

Finding and Exploring Materials

By clicking on the “Find Open Access Materials” button, you are taken to a search page with all of CORE’s deposits. You can browse by subject, item type, or date. You can also use the search bar.

For practice, I typed “Digital History” in the search bar and came across 58 items. With these results, I could download Julian C. Chambliss’s Reframing Digital Humanities: Conversations with Digital Humanists for free or read the 2020 Annual Report for The Lab of Education and Advancement in Digital Research.

Creating Community

On the side bar, you can click on “Members” and “Groups” to get involved with the CORE community. On the “Member” page, you can follow your favorite scholars or contributors to the website.

On the “Groups” page, you can either join an already existing group or create your own. For example, there is a public group dedicated to literary theory, in which members can discuss and collaborate on projects pertaining to literary criticism, the history of literary theory and more. There are tons of other groups like this for a variety of other topics.

Overall, MLA CORE is an interesting and helpful resource that allows scholars to share their work and connect with others in their field.

Let me know if you have any questions! — Rachael Davis

Notes on Trevor Owens, “Digital Sources & Digital Archives: The Evidentiary Basis of Digital History”

Main Topic

In his article, Owens explores the possible challenges scholars may face as physical objects and systems they use for research become increasingly digital. He also offers critical questions for scholars to ask while working with and interpreting digital documents and archives.

Owens’s Main Questions: What happens to history when most of its sources and evidence becomes increasingly digital? What happens to history when its archives become digital? What does it even mean to have a “digital archive”? (1)

I think the best way to break-down this article is to highlight its important sub-sections. Here they are below:

Digital Source Criticism & Provenance

When a historian studies a physical letter from a historical actor’s collection in an archive, it is safe to assume that “it represents a perspective that the author wanted to communicate” (2). However, when a historian begins to look at someone’s emails, the author’s perspective cannot be as easily understood in comparison to the letters in a collection.

The historian must take in account how people used email during that period of time, and the different “features and functionality” the variety of email clients created (2). Ultimately, if a historian comes across a digital source, it is important to fully understand and consider “the ways a given source was created, why and how it was preserved and why it has been stored” (2).

Critical Questions for Digitized Primary Sources (pages 3-5)

  1. Why was this source digitized and not something else?
    • Some possible answers: copyright restrictions or an archive got the rights to digitize a specific collection or document
    • Scholars must examine the “selection policies” for what was digitized; this can limit the scholar’s ability to analyze or “make inferences” on the sources
  2. Is this copy of significant quality for my purpose?
    • It is important to know that when some items are digitized, aspects of the original document may be taken out, such as watermarks and dirt markings
      • With this in mind, scholars have to make sure that the digitized versions are the correct versions for their research question. Will the text of the document be enough for evidence? Or are the physical markings important as well?
  3. How did I find this source and how does that affect what I can say about it?
    • When scholars search their keywords into a search engine, millions of results can appear seemingly out of thin air. It is important for scholars to “work backward” from the digitized source to understand what it is original from and if it “representative of the collection it comes from” (4)

Critical Questions for Born Digital Sources (pages 5-11)

Born Digital: sources that started off digital, such as emails and websites

  • Owens believes that these types of sources will be the bulk of primary sources historians will have to work with to understand the 21st century
  1. What am I not seeing on the screen?
    • Metadata! Metadata! Some documents written in word-processing applications track and record every step of the creation and editing process, which can be accessed by looking at the document’s metadata, or the data that provides information on other data. Here, you will be able to find even more evidence and material from the source
    • Owens argues that this factor suggests a whole new set of skills for assessing primary sources digitally (beginner hacker vibes)  
  2. What is lost in how the source was/is rendered?
    • When files are uploaded and rendered on a computer screen, it may look and sound different than the true original
    • For example, the Way Back Machine does not truly capture what the site looked like at that point time. Many features of the original site were not replicated to the archive
    • Also, web browsers and popular websites go under so much change that it will most definitely look different throughout time
  3. How was the source created, managed, and used? How does that impact what I can say about it?
    • If a scholar is examining someone’s email, they have to “develop an understanding of what an individual’s practices and or an organization’s practices were around email” (9). Did they have specific tags? Folders? Or just let it go into one inbox?
    • Digital photographs also have multiple copies and forms. Some are edited for Facebook; some are edited for Instagram. Because of this, there is not really a master file or copy of the photograph
      • Further, scholars will have to take a look at the photo’s composition; did they use the front or back camera? These factors can also help “contextualize and understand how they were in fact created” (10)
  4. What role did search play in the original experience of content?
    • As Owens eloquently states: “the biggest challenge facing web archives is that it is very unlikely that anyone is going to be able to recreate the central mode through which web content is accessed and understood” (10). Basically, a Google search is different for other people throughout time
      • This forces the scholar to examine the role in which search interfaces and algorithms play in how others interacted with the content

What are Digital Archives? (pages 11-15)

As Owens states, digital archives mean different things to different people and in different contexts! Here are some types of digital archives and their definitions:

  • For digital humanities scholars, “digital archives” means “aggregated collections of digitized primary sources” (11)
  • There are also born digital archival collections, which house born digital materials. As Owen states, this type of digital archive is “generally a subset or a hybrid component of an analog archival collection” (13). However, since this type of digital archive is new, the practices for collecting, processing, and preserving these materials are still evolving.
    • Understanding how people organize, name and sort their files will become increasingly important as scholars look into born digital archives
  • Web archives are another type of born digital archives. They use tools like Heritrix to grab all of the content of a webpage and all the other pages that link to the site
    • These types of archives are consciously created, so scholars need to understand their selection policy
    • The archived materials are also not the exact copies of the content when it was grabbed off the original website
  •  Individuals can voluntarily upload their own primary sources to a digital archive, which can be seen through user generated born digital archives. An organization can “crowdsource” an archive to create a collection around a specific issue or topic
    • Since every piece in the collection is based on individual reflections and objects, making sense of the materials as a whole may be challenging for a scholar

“Given the rapid pace of change around digital technology it is likely that historians are going to need to increasingly focus on establishing and sharing techniques for working with digital sources. As information and ecologies continually shift it is going to be critical for historians to show their work in making sense of the stratigraphy of digital sources” — Trevor Owens

Discussion Questions

  1. In what ways do you see History and Public History education changing, in order to keep up with these digitized sources and archives? After reading Owen’s piece, are there any skills you want to learn or would benefit from learning? 
  2. What are some of the issues a scholar may run into while using the different types of archives (born digital, web archives, user generated)? In addition to the racial bias of physical archives and collections, what types of biases can you see being an issue for digital collections?  

— Rachael Davis

Notes on Jerome McGann, “The Rationale of Hypertext”

Main Idea

In his essay, McGann argues that a hypermedia archive is the ideal type of digital archive. Hypermedia programs have the ability to include relevant audial, visual, or other textual documents within its system. This type of organization allows for scholars and other researchers to “escape the focus on a single text,” and easily explore related evidence and topics during their research. Additionally, hypermedia is open to alterations at any time, allowing its editors to change its contents and organization as needed.

McGann highlights the Rossetti Archive as an example of a hypermedia archive. As you can see with Rossetti’s poem “Adieu,” the archive offers many resources for the scholar to examine: the copy of the manuscript, scholarly commentary, and hyperlinks to learn about other types of his related works. As you click on other hyperlinks and move throughout the archive, even more hyperlinks and multimedia become available to the scholar.  

Side Note: See McKenna’s Practicum on The Rossetti Archive for more information

Screenshot taken from The Rossetti Archive on Feb. 26, 2022 by Rachael Davis

In order for hypermedia archives to become the norm, McGann encourages others to do the following with their digital projects:

  1. Design it in terms “of the largest and most ambitious goals of the project,” rather than staying confined to the immediate or contemporary hardware and software options
  2. Create a flexible design structure so the project and its system will not be drastically affected as hardware and software evolve throughout time

The Issue with Physical Books

McGann states that current scholarly editions, such as facsimile editions and those with notes and contextual information in the margins, limit the scholar during their analysis. Due to its purely bookish form, the edition’s author strictly constrains the scholar to the information they provide as they analyze the sources. Hypermedia programs avoid this type of engagement with sources because the documents are organized in a “noncentralized form,” which means no source is privileged over the others — it is created to “disperse attention as broadly as possible.”

What are Facsimile Editions?

I honestly had no idea what these were until I read this article! However, these types of books try to make an exact copy of the original text through photographic reproduction.

Image found here

For example, companies like Marvel and DC often create facsimile editions of their comics that include its original cover, story pages, as well as the original advertisements that were featured in the comics at the time of publication.

McGann argues that these editions have minimal analytic power, since it “stands in a one-to-one relation to its original,” but are usual for increasing access to rare works.

What are Critical and Commentary Editions?

We’ve all read Shakespeare in high school English class, right? The Folger Shakespeare Library editions were the first thing that came to mind when I read this!

Image found here

For example, the Folger edition of Romeo and Juliet includes explanatory notes placed on pages facing the text of the play, scene-by-scene plot summaries, and more to help the reader understand the writing. However, while McGann states that these editions are helpful, he also states they are difficult to read and use.

The author of the edition has to “invent analytic mechanisms that must be displayed and engaged at the primary reading level.” Additionally, if the reader wants to “hear the performance of a song or ballad” mentioned within the text, McGann points out that the reader cannot. This is where hypermedia archives and programs come in and flex their power.


While hypermedia archives and programs have their own set of issues, like questions of copyright, McGann believes that scholars will use this method and technology for a long time.

Hypermedia allows scholars to break away from their traditional “single focus” analysis and employs them a vast study space that contains an array of documents and endless possibilities in their research. As McGann says, hypermedia resembles a “circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

“The change from paper-based text to electronic text is one of those elementary shifts — like the change from manuscript to print — that is so revolutionary we can only glimpse at this point what it entails… The computerized edition can store vastly greater quantities of documentary materials, and it can be built to organize, access, and analyze those materials not only more quickly and easily, but at depths no paper-based edition could hope to achieve. At the moment these works cannot be made as cheaply or as easily as books. But very soon, I am talking about a few years, these electronic tools will not only be far cheaper, they will also be commonplace” — Jerome McGann

Discussion Questions

  1. As McGann states, hypermedia has the ability to evolve and change over time, as well as gather new material. If you were a scholar doing academic research with a hypermedia archive, what issues might you face with this factor, if any? How would it affect your analysis? OR how would it benefit your research? 
  2. If students and scholars have issues with critical and facsimile editions, how will they gain the skills to effectively use the hypertext editions? Do you think it is natural for students these days to be comfortable with technological resources? How can primary education adjust to these increasingly important and common place online resources? 

— Rachael Davis