Digital Local and Family History Manual
This website hosts an evolving instructional manual to support digital local and family history projects of all types and sizes.
This manual is currently under construction. E-mail the project director to receive updates on this manual, or to offer suggestions about how to improve the current manual. You can also reach us through our contact form.
What is digital local and family history?
Digital local and family history projects focus on representing stories online. These projects could include efforts to digitize school yearbooks, share family recipes, record oral histories and family traditions, digitally map historic buildings, place church histories online, research family trees, and many more types of projects! In digital local and family history everyone's stories can be included. These projects could be small, such as digitizing a single family member's oral memories, or large, such as digitizing all the yearbooks of a high school. Digital local and family history can be project-driven, for example building a website for a family or school reunion, or infrastructure-driven, such as building a comprehensive digital library on a particular city or neighborhood. In either case, the important thing is that everyone touched by the stories represented online are empowered to participate and learn.
Who is this manual for?
We hope this manual will be of use to any individual or institution wishing to launch a digital local or family history project. Public libraries, historical societies, genealogical societies, universities, colleges, teachers of all types, community groups, churches, city governments, historic preservation groups, families, local historians, and all others are welcome to use this manual to support their efforts to share local and family stories online.
This manual is written in the belief that everyone is connected to local and family histories, and everyone can play a role in digitally representing local and family history online. For example, whether you are a family historian seeking to make a website for an upcoming family reunion, a church member seeking to represent your church’s history online, a local historian with stories to share, a committee-member planning a school reunion, a museum or library with historical content you wish to make available online, a social worker seeking to use history to support community health, a genealogical society with information from local cemeteries, a media outlet planning a special feature on local history, a government employee planning a civic anniversary celebration, a school teacher planning a local or family history curriculum module, a sports coach wishing to represent the history of your team, this manual has something for you.
What is in the manual? Where does the manual come from?
This manual includes practice-derived structures and exercises, organized into 6 chapters, to support digital local and family history. We have also released a short video tutorial on the topic of developing yearbook digitization projects.
Based on an experimental workshop series held throughout Illinois and the Midwest in Spring 2012 we are comprehensively revising this manual to make it more powerful and user-friendly. The booklet used in this workshop series can be downloaded by clicking here. Expect ongoing revisions of this site.
The origins of this manual are in the eBlackCU Project, a community-based collaborative digitization initiative based in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. We thank the Illinois Humanities Council, University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois Office of the Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement, and local partners in Champaign-Urbana and the Midwest for the time they have given to this project.
Manual Table of Contents