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Figure 1. Digital image of a poster left at the Boston Marathon memorial in Copley Square. The poster reads “From Peoria Illinois to Beijing China, we all stand strong for Boston” in both English and Chinese (http://hdl.handle.net/2047/D20262219).

Crowdsourcing Traumatic History: Understanding the Historial Archive

Abstract

This article discusses the challenges and opportunities for digital archives that aim to both historicize and memorialize recent tragedies through crowdsourcing materials from the public. Using an archive built after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings as an example, I offer the term “historial archive” as a distinction from the much-critiqued adoption of the word “(A)rchive(s)” that we see used throughout the disciplines. Although crowdsourcing in this type of archive works as a catalyst for community, the speed of collection operates (rhetorically at least) as an active buttress against the problems of provenance. That is, historical archives must go to great lengths to verify the veracity and historicity of their collections; in the historial archive’s more philosophic approach to history, the time-sensitive collection methods ensure the archive’s veracity and historicity. Using my own research, I model how students may approach historial archives and the ways these types of repositories can allow for various productive paths that go beyond simply aggregating primary materials.

Introduction

With the speed at which information travels today, there has been a shift in how we engage with news: we are more likely to hear about an event as it unfolds as opposed to hearing about it after it ends. As we (literally) see in our social media feeds, in the wake of a tragedy, memorialization happens rapidly both at the physical site of the event and in digital contexts. To capture such ephemera, there has been an uptick in digital archives that use crowdsourcing in order to populate these spaces. As various libraries continue to encourage instructors to engage with their digital collections (for examples see Duke, Vanderbilt, and The Newberry), it is important to pause and understand the unique aspects of creating a digital archive in real time that seeks to both historicize and memorialize an event. I offer the portmanteau “historialize” to acknowledge the ways these collections remain distinct from traditional archives in terms of their scope, rationale, and methods of collection.

In this article, I draw upon my experience working with a team to create a digital archive after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. First, I present some context, a brief exploration of the term archive(s), and a discussion of some ways the Boston Marathon archive departs from traditional archives. I then unpack the term “historial archive” as a name for digital repositories that aim to both historicize and memorialize an event. Next, to further expand upon how one might use a historial framework, I draw from primary research conducted with community members who shared their written accounts with the archive (NU-IRB Protocol # 15-04-09). I conclude by sharing one rhetorically rich arena that came about from my study. By offering samples of the kind of follow-up possible with the historial archive—in my case, surveys and interviews with contributors—my goal is to inspire instructors to compel their students to examine such archives based upon their own disciplinary backgrounds and to see what questions—and perhaps answers—they come up with.

Context

More than just an annual race, the Boston Marathon is an important community event: it brings together runners from around the world—both elite and amateur—and the Hopkinton-to-Boston course is a source of pride and tradition for spectators as well. On April 15, 2013, two homemade pressure-cooker bombs were detonated near the marathon’s finish line. The blasts killed three people and injured over 260 others. The days that followed this act of terror included an unprecedented shelter-in-place order that kept residents inside their homes as a manhunt for the two suspects took to the streets. In the end, the death toll reached five, including an MIT police officer and one of the suspects; the other suspect, eventually found hiding nearby, was arrested and charged for the crimes. This horrific week in Boston’s history touched people from all over as evidenced from the artifacts left at local makeshift memorials, the thousands received by the Mayor’s office, and the surge of #BostonStrong social media posts.

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Figure 1. Digital image of a poster left at the Boston Marathon memorial in Copley Square. The poster reads “From Peoria Illinois to Beijing China, we all stand strong for Boston” in both English and Chinese (http://hdl.handle.net/2047/D20262219).

From mourning the victims to celebrating the first responders, many community members connected with one another and processed their emotions by sharing stories of their personal experiences both digitally and in person. Noting the historical importance of such communications, a group of professors and graduate students from the English and History departments at Northeastern University came together to create a digital repository of these materials. Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive defines itself as a community project that consists of pictures, videos, and stories related to the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and aftermath (McGrath et al 2018). The archive was crowdsourced, which meant that anyone with an Internet connection could have potentially participated in populating the archive. The spirit of the archive involved gathering as many artifacts as possible in order to capture an important moment in Boston’s history.

Understanding Our Marathon as an Archive

Outside of academia, rarely do we hear people talking about archiving—save for clearing up email inboxes—but even in academia, people in different disciplines don’t necessarily align. For example, Marlene Manoff (2004) explores the way the word “archives” has been taken up by scholars other than librarians and archivists and explains how this word can refer to anything from the general contents of a museum to specific repositories of documents and objects; moreover, when discussing digital archives, the term can range from anything found in a digital format to a more select collection of related digital documents (10). Despite the various qualifiers certain disciplines have developed—social archive, raw archive, postcolonial archive—scholars from the social sciences and humanities understand that archives have important scholarly and political functions especially for those interested in the recovery work that accompanies actions like rewriting women and minorities back into historical records.

Digital archives add another layer of complexity to the conversation. In her article “Archives in Context and as Context” archivist Kate Theimer (2012) explains her hesitations with the field of Digital Humanities co-opting the word archives in a fairly expansive way. Theimer endorses the Society of American Archivists’ definition of archives: “Materials created or received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs and preserved because of the enduring value contained in the information they contain or as evidence of the functions and responsibilities of their creator, especially those materials maintained using the principles of provenance, original order, and collective control” (Pearce-Moses 2005). Theimer discusses how there is a long history with specific values and practices when working with/in “archives.” Though she is appreciative of how words and meanings change, she is concerned with “the potential for a loss of understanding and appreciation of the historical context that archives preserve in their collections, and the unique role that archives play as custodians of materials in this context” (Theimer 2012).

To understand Theimer’s hesitations, it is useful to consider how a more traditional, physical archive functions differently from a digital archive like Our Marathon. For example when The Boston Globe started in 1872, photography was still a very expensive craft and the technology for mass printing photos was still to come. As technology progressed, and as the newspaper continued to grow, one might imagine that a system of curating their images became important. Thus, the artifacts themselves necessitated an archive, and the staff could create a system that made most sense for their anticipated work. On the other hand, some archives are less calculated. For example, Mary Hemingway donated crates of her deceased husband’s papers to the Kennedys upon suggestion of a mutual friend. Now housed at the JFK Memorial Library in Boston, The Ernest Hemingway Collection contains the initially donated drafts of his manuscripts and personal letters, but it has also collected other related materials such as newspaper clippings and audio recordings of the author. The archivists in charge of this collection have curated the materials in ways that make sense for potential researchers and have also created finding aids.

These two examples illustrate key terms for analyzing archives: purpose, audience, location and preservation, and overall access. In what follows, I use the example of Our Marathon to discuss how the digital impacts these terms.

Purpose: How does the digital affect the purpose of Our Marathon?

With the Photo Archive, the purpose is very clear: should a news story relate to something that happened in the past, the reporter can search for the appropriate photograph. With the Hemingway Collection, there are multiple purposes: to preserve an iconic author’s writing process, to educate people about this particular person and his life, and so on. With Our Marathon, collecting stories for historical purposes made a lot of sense, but the vision of the archive was not just for history: the archive was created as an instrument of healing and a place for all community members to feel free to add their voices and share their parts of the story.

Audience: How does the digital affect the audience(s) for Our Marathon?

Although there are intended and imagined audiences, public digital archives can be viewed by anyone, as the archive itself is not located in the dusty basement of a building, like The Boston Globe photo collection was in 2013, nor does it take much effort to access, like the Hemingway Collection, which necessitates “proof” that you have business there. When Our Marathon was built, there were two main audiences in mind who would be accessing the digital archive through their devices: community members (who possibly needed a space for healing) and future researchers. We quickly found that these two audiences would both complement and complicate each other: for example, while researchers would want to know about community members’ experiences, the nature of a public digital archive might dissuade certain people from participating. Because the creators intended for the archive to be mostly crowdsourced, the overall design of the archive needed to be clean and user-friendly. From the choice of words to the colors we used, there were many discussions on how our intended audiences would engage with the digital archive.

Location and Preservation: How does the digital affect senses of location and issues of preservation with Our Marathon?

With physical archives there is always the chance of an unavoidable disaster decimating a collection, but for the things archivists can control, there are plenty of best practices for handling archival material, such as temperature-controlled rooms that are under lock and key, and protocols for handling old paper so that the oils from one’s fingers do not affect the text. When it comes to digital archives we understand that technology is not infallible and digitized and born-digital artifacts are in no less danger than their physical counterparts.

In April 2018, Northeastern University moved the archive from its open-source content management system (Omeka) to a permanent home on its server space; however, Northeastern will need to be committed to updating the site as technology changes. In her article “Digital Preservation: A Time Bomb for Digital Libraries,” Margaret Hedstrom (1998) reminds us that digital forms are vulnerable to technological obsolescence: “Digital works which are created using new or emerging software applications are especially vulnerable to software obsolescence because standards for encoding, representation, retrieval, and other functions take time to develop” (191). Digital preservation remains challenging because one is not usually aware that a change will impact digital artifacts until it actually happens.

Access: How does the digital affect access to Our Marathon?

As discussed in terms of audience, Our Marathon was accessible should one have access to the Internet, but contributors also needed to have a certain level of digital fluency to engage with the archive and to follow the archive’s prompts for sharing stories. Contributors could submit a story, image, email, video, text message, audio recording, or website. The Our Marathon team also created guides for capturing/uploading social media updates, but at the time there was not a simple way to grab one’s own updates. Upon clicking a “Share” button on the website’s homepage, a potential contributor would be guided through a series of steps to submit an item. For the purposes of this article, I focus on how people submitted their stories and note that the linear model used was based on the same design style as Tumblr, a popular blogging platform at the time.

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Figure 2. First step. The screenshot shows orange buttons that signify which type of item someone would like to submit (e.g. story, image). “Story” has been selected, and below are two text boxes asking for someone to type in a “Title” and to “Tell us your story.”

After writing the title and story (or copying and pasting the text into the box) and having the option to upload a photo with the story, the arrows guide the participant through the next steps, which includes selecting where the story took place, when the story took place, details about the contributor, and the final stages of sharing.

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Figure 3. Second step. The screenshot shows a map where a contributor could place the location of their story using an address.

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Figure 4. Third step. The screenshot shows a clickable calendar for when the story took place.

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Figure 5. Fourth step. The screenshot shows the optional data a contributor could choose to submit alongside their story. The fields are zip code, name, age, ethnic/racial identity, gender, and Twitter handle.

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Figure 6. Fifth, and final, step. The submission form requires the contributor’s email address, and then asks in a series of checkboxes whether it is ok to contact the contributor for further information, if the contributor wants their item shared publicly, and if the contributor agrees to the linked Terms and Conditions.

Historial Archives

Referring to Our Marathon as an “archive” establishes it as a certain type of repository and highlights a scholarly interest; however, the fact that this archive relied so heavily on crowdsourcing makes it different from the digital archives Theimer questions in her article, such as those which brought together the works of prominent cultural figures like William Blake and Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Our Marathon was interested in collecting materials from any person who experienced the events.

This type of archiving is not without challenges. Our Marathon came from a line of relatively new crowdsourced archives that aim to both historicize and memorialize recent traumatic histories, such as the terrorist attacks of September 11th (2001) and the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005). As previously discussed, some librarians and archivists would resist naming such repositories archives. While other historical archives may bring together artifacts into one useable venue through specific curatorial practices, these “historial” archives aim to collect material in real time and focus on the ephemera of an event rather than on more authoritative, mediated artifacts.

Crowdsourcing, particularly in the case of Our Marathon, relies on individuals taking agency over their participation: there were no conventional expectations for public writing of this nature. Unlike a traditional archive where already-written stories might be pulled together into an historical repository, most of these stories were specifically written for the digital archive. In fact, most of the stories in Our Marathon would not exist in their current state if the archive staff had not prompted participants to share their stories. In line with its focus on collecting real-time stories specifically for the archive, the historial function gives power to those who participate. The memorial aspect invites participation that complements the philosophical approach to history the archive enacts, and the archive becomes a co-constructed space which, rather than see power remaining mostly with the archivist, grants agency through sharing personal accounts and documents.

In practice, as we were building the archive and crowdsourcing material, we were not sure what we were collecting that might be of interest to future scholars. Elizabeth Maddock-Dillon (2014), Professor of English and project co-founder, reflects, “Realizing that the archive could provide resources for multiple kinds of research was really exciting. It’s not just this is a historical record, but this gives us a whole body of material that people might use for research purposes that we haven’t even thought of yet. Nonetheless, it’s a way to create an archive/data set that will have real historical and research value.” In a way, this archive would be contributing to, if not controlling, the future historical record and public memory; however, who knows what scholars will be interested in learning from these artifacts 20, 50, or 100 years from now? For example, Dan Cohen, one of the leaders on the September 11th Digital Archive, has mentioned to us that linguists have been drawn to that archive’s collections because 2001 was about the time that “text speak”—internet shorthand like “OMG”—started to come about. At the time of collection, the archivists would not have been aware that they were capturing this linguistic moment.

Storytelling

At its heart, Our Marathon collects history through stories. Given the complex nature of storytelling within the discipline of history, it is helpful to think of the linguistic turn of the 1970s and 1980s marked by the work of scholars Louis Mink and Hayden White who both contend with narrative as a focus of history. Rather than relying on examples from the natural sciences to represent historical knowledge, these historians theorized that disciplinary artifacts like works of literature were also important links to historical understanding (Little 2016). Scholars like Mink and White emphasize historical narrative rather than historical causation and champion subjectivity and various interpretations over objectivity and singular truths. This falls directly in line with archives intending to capture the larger picture of something as it unfolds.

In this philosophical approach to historicizing a moment, subjectivity and its malleability are key; however, to memorialize something means to create an object that serves as a focus for the memory of an event or person(s) in a more static fashion. Memorialization becomes a shared space that necessitates more rigidity: “Memorial sites, by their very existence, create communal spaces. Although it is possible to describe an individual’s encounter with a site, it is almost always part of a collective experience” (Blair 1999, 48). Although Carol Blair (1999) writes about physical memorial sites, her attention to communal space and collective experience resonates with those who contributed their stories to Our Marathon.

Take, for example, the following story, titled “Laundry Mat” (story reprinted here with permission from the author; original contribution and photograph can be accessed in the online repository):

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, the hotel where my family and I were staying was evacuated. We passed time by grabbing a bite to eat and wandering around the surrounding neighborhoods, but as time went on, my sisters, who finished the marathon about 30 minutes before the bombs went off and were still wrapped in their foil blankets, started to get cold and all of our phones were dead or quickly running out of battery. We came across a small, underground laundry mat on Columbus Ave. called Five Star Laundry and asked the owners if we could sit inside to keep warm and use their outlets to charge our phones. The owners did not speak much English, but their little kids did, and they translated our explanation of what had happened and our request to the owners who immediately welcomed us in. The kids became increasingly curious about my sisters and the rest my family, and before we knew it, they were chatting up a storm with us, putting on my sisters’ medals, and even sitting on their laps. As a gesture of gratitude, my husband went to the convenience store down the road and came back with candy for the children. This picture shows my sisters with the children, candy in hand. During such a dark time, it was reassuring and comforting to experience the hospitality and friendliness of the people at Five Star Laundry (Katz 2013).

“Laundry Mat” represents a key moment for Our Marathon: submitted on May 22, 2013—less than a month after the archive was even conceptualized— it was the first publicly submitted artifact. More importantly, “Laundry Mat” represents a story that might be lost without an appropriate venue for safekeeping; it is part of a supplementary historical narrative about how members of a community experienced the Boston Marathon bombings. On its own, “Laundry Mat” offers one artifact of memorialization—the kindness of strangers following the events—but when also archived as part of the historical narrative of the Boston Marathon bombings, in the future this artifact may end up recontextualized among other temporally-based narratives where the focus could shift to any number of topics such as race, gender, or linguistics. As in traditional archives, in the historial archive, the meaning of such stories will shift as time moves on; however, much research can be done soon after these archives come into fruition, which means that students may be able to directly follow up with creators, builders, and contributors of such sites.

During my graduate work, I became interested in a seemingly simple question that I imagine any interested advanced undergraduate student could take up: why did people participate? In the anonymous survey data that I collected from 48 participants who contributed their stories, there were five main responses to the more specific question: “Why did you choose to share your story with Our Marathon?” In the table below I map out those five reasons—from most prevalent to least prevalent—and highlight representative responses.

Reason for Sharing Representative Responses
Closure The Boston Marathon 2013 was my 75th lifetime marathon and my 22nd consecutive Boston Marathon, however, any short lived celebration I experienced was immediately erased upon hearing the news of the bombings.  Sharing my experience was a way of dealing with the situation and moving on.

I needed to share my experience to basically clear the air so that I could move on.  I was running with two friends, and both went ahead when I stopped to talk to my daughter (a BU student) – they both finished as the 2nd bomb went off, and I was almost directly across from it at mile 26.  It could have ended a lot differently and I’m not upset by the coverage that the victims received at all, but others need to know that it touched others who were on the course as well.

I wanted to share my experience as a runner who was stopped 10k from the finish with a daughter waiting for me at the finish. I did this at the 2014 Marathon to help with closure of the 2013 experience.

It was part therapeutic and part fueled by the memories of our 2013 experience.  The Our Marathon space allowed me the chance to vocalize those feelings that I had kept bottled up for over a year.  Our daughter, the runner, was emotionally scarred by the experience as she watched the bombings from less than a block away, suffering from a leg cramp that saved her life.  She was not physically harmed but she carried the memories and carries them to this day.

Research and Historical Purposes The bombing was and is a part of history. It needs to be recorded from all who were impacted by the events of that fateful day.

I thought of this as an opportunity for my personal experience to be catalogued and capsuled in time.

I wanted people to know. It’s important for these stories to be remembered.

Particular Point of View I think that everyone’s story is important. I was the leader of the veterans group on campus and I wanted to show how veterans responded to the crisis. People usually have ideas of veterans as either being heroes or broken and I wanted to tell the real story.

Since I’m a Swede and was not in Boston during the bombing but read about it and followed the news from Sweden, I thought my views could be interesting as from someone not directly affected.

The bombings affected not only the individuals at the sites but also the community. As a community member, I wanted to share my perspective as a distant participant.

I wanted to contribute to the broad view and understanding of the impact of the marathon bombings on Boston and the surrounding community. I was fortunate not to be directly affected; a friend of a friend was injured, I was terrified for the few hours that my close friends in attendance were unreachable, and I was a part of the citywide lock down on Friday, but my life was not significantly altered by the bombings. I contributed because I thought I could add the voice of someone who as a student is not a permanent member of the community but nonetheless very involved.  

Personal Record I shared my story about the Marathon bombing because I felt deeply about the event.  I felt saddened and violated by the people who caused the bombing, and by the fact that a pall would forever be attached to what should be a joyous day.  As a Watertown resident I wanted to record my jetlag-induced confusion during a phone conversation with my son. I hoped recording that conversation would remind us that funny things still happened in the midst of deadly chaos.

I just wanted to document my story.  I was already at the hotel when I heard about the bombing, so it really didn’t affect me as much as it did to others.

For a Class (i.e. not optional) Contributed for Advanced Writing Class, had to for a grade

My English class had a project to create an archive about anything we wanted. I chose to do mine on the Boston Marathon. She showed us the Our Marathon archive and we became familiar with it. I chose to do it because I had so many connections with the marathon and because it really was so close to home, physically and mentally. My professor encouraged me to post my story on the actual archive.

I chose to share my story as a part of a classroom project.

I became interested in things like how respondents positioned themselves in relation to the archive, their verbiage, and their ideas of agency. But, as one may notice, the answers in this chart can be categorized in multiple ways and can raise different questions based on students’ interests. The temporal dimension of the historial archive offers research opportunities that are often impossible in traditional archives, particularly when it comes to understanding the motivations and considerations of both those who build such spaces and those who contribute to such spaces. In my research, I wanted to know more about who felt authorized to participate, and, in optional follow-ups from the survey, I conducted phone interviews where I could ask participants about their hesitations to participate. Here are two examples from “Dot” (2015) and “Colleen” (2015):

Interviewer: In your survey, you mentioned that you were a little concerned that your story didn’t matter since you weren’t impacted by the event. Could you say more about that?
Dot: It did have an impact to my friends, who knew I was there, but to the public I wasn’t one of the people on the streets or that got stopped by the running. I escaped pretty unscathed from the whole event. I didn’t experience the losses, or the danger, or really any of the negative effects that a lot of the other participants did.

Interviewer: In your survey you mentioned that you were hesitant to share your story because you hadn’t actually experienced physical trauma. What do you make of an archive that aims to capture all stories of different experiences?
Colleen: I think it’s valuable. I think overall we’re understanding of how different people experience things. It is helping me to come to accept the fact that there was not physical trauma, [but it] was something that I was still a part of. That’s just as valid as some other forms of trauma. I think it’s really good—it’s really good for other people who haven’t participated in experiences like that or something that can be…What am I looking for…not necessarily traumatic but challenging to understand that different people handle different things in different ways.

Interviewer: How would you describe the act of submitting your story to the archive, for you personally?
Colleen: It was hard. It was unexpected. I don’t know if I wrote this in my survey or not, but I was at the library that day for something else. Somebody had approached me and asked if I’d be willing to do it. I said, “Sure.” I had said to her the same thing, “Yes I was down there, but I wasn’t right there.” She said, “Well, that’s fine.” It started off OK, but the more writing I did, the more the emotions and the memories of the event started to come up. It was much harder for me than I thought it was going to be in the end.

Interviewer: In your survey, you mentioned that it might have been too soon to share your story and not the right environment.
Colleen: That was an afterthought. I hadn’t realized how deeply it had affected me until afterwards.

As Dot and Colleen highlight, the historial function of the archive allowed their voices to count: Dot—a lifelong marathon runner—and Colleen—someone who was clearly traumatized by the events despite not having any scars—were given a space to share for their own immediate benefit and the longer term benefit of future researchers. How might students studying Psychology analyze these responses? Or how might they follow up differently to these responses during the interviews? With proper guidance and/or ethical practices—a caveat I hope is clear to anyone working within topics of trauma—the historial archive can open up fascinating discussions and fruitful paths for researchers as long as we are mindful of our participants’ experiences and the potential benefits and drawbacks of such work.

Conclusion

When tragedy strikes, people often turn to digital forms to share their sentiments. While sometimes critiqued as a type of tourism wherein one’s digital actions become more of a souvenir than a true act of solidarity, these digital postings are part of a cultural moment that digital archivists remain interested in capturing. The slogan for Our Marathon—“no story too small”—represented a key motive for the creators of the archive: this site was meant to democratize. Anyone could participate and add their stories to the public history of the event; the more voices, the richer and more nuanced that formation of public memory would be. Story sharing is a legitimate form of history being born from devices every day, and this practice will continue to offer certain challenges as more and more historial archives come into fruition, but it also offers fascinating opportunities for research.

When it comes to research that followed up with Our Marathon’s story contributors, like many of the other story sharers, Dot and Colleen expressed gaining something from their experiences in contributing their stories to the archive; in fact, story sharers often expressed much gratitude to the archive’s staff in person. Even in my follow-up interviews years after the events, many expressed gratitude to me for listening to their stories and thoughts. In this way, the historial space may be reread as not just a repository for culture and memory but as an actual affirmation of self, knowledge, and worth. When thinking about the stakes involved in this historial archive through my own research lens, sharing a story was not just something nice to do: for some, it was a meaningful act of literacy and community. This is just one finding from one disciplinary lens; the historial archive can be read and reread as time goes on and continue to offer new meaning-making opportunities.

Bibliography

Blair, Carol. 1999. “Contemporary U.S. Memorial Sites as Exemplars of Rhetoric’s Materiality.” In Rhetorical Bodies, edited by Jack Selzer and Sharon Crowley, 16–57. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

Colleen [pseud.]. 2015. “Our Marathon Contributor Interview.” Interview by Kristi Girdharry. July 1, 2015. Audio.

Dot [pseud.]. 2015. “Our Marathon Contributor Interview.” Interview by Kristi Girdharry. June 30, 2015. Audio.

Hedstrom, Margaret. 1998. “Digital Preservation: A Time Bomb for Digital Libraries.” Computers and the Humanities 31 (1): 189–202.

Katz, Jean. 2013. “Laundry Mat.” Laundry Mat. Accessed June 15, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/D20261554.

Little, Daniel. 2016. “Philosophy of History.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed June 15, 2018. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/history/.

Maddock-Dillon, Elizabeth. 2014. “Our Marathon Creator Interview.” Interview by Kristi Girdharry. September 12, 2014. Audio.

Manoff, Marlene. 2004. “Theories of the Archive from Across the Disciplines.” Libraries and the Academy 4 (1): 9–25. https://doi.org/10.1353/pla.2004.0015.

McGrath, Jim, Alicia Peaker, Ryan Cordell, Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, et al. 2013–2015. “Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive.” Accessed June 15, 2018. https://marathon.library.northeastern.edu/.

McGrath, Jim and Alicia Peaker. 2018. “Our Marathon: The Role of Graduate Student and Library Labor.” In Digital Humanities, Libraries, and Partnerships: A Critical Examination of Labor, Networks, and Community, edited by Robin Kear and Kate Joranson, 19–29. Cambridge: Chandos Publishing.

Pearce-Moses, Richard. 2005. “A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology.” Last modified May 20, 2016. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://www2.archivists.org/glossary.

Theimer, Kate. 2012. “Archives in Context and as Context.” Journal of Digital Humanities 1 (2). Accessed June 15, 2018. http://journalofdigitalhumanities.org/1-2/archives-in-context-and-as-context-by-kate-theimer/.

About the Author

Kristi Girdharry is an Assistant Professor of English at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island where she teaches writing, research, communication, and digital literacy courses. Her research interests also include community engagement and teaching for transfer.




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