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- 1 2015-07-14T11:54:43-07:00 More about its Uses: Who Benefits? 13 text 2015-08-12T19:27:19-07:00 As members of a public research university, we see SourceLab as an initiative that should benefit society more generally. Specifically, we're hoping our initiative may be useful to the public in three ways. First, all SourceLab editions will be freely accessible online, and available for all uses and users. We plan to produce our editions under a free culture license such as an Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, allowing others to adapt, re-purpose, and even commercialize our efforts (for example, by producing for sale paper versions of them) as they see fit. In this way, teachers, students, researchers, and members of the public will be able to build upon our editions to answer their own questions about the past. Second, not only our sources, but also our organizational, curricular, and technological processes (as detailed in a SourceLab Handbook we are developing) will be published as Open Educational Resources. That way, other schools and organizations can use them to build similar programs, or to collaborate with us as they see fit. Last, we hope to see benefits both for and from our students themselves. As already mentioned, SourceLab will help students earn course credit toward their degrees even as it offers them author credits (on the resulting editions) that they can add to their resumés. Yet this education, we think, should not be seen simply as something that benefits them alone. Rather, by being trained in the skills necessary to link the new digital record to the craft of writing history, our students will be able to help society keep track of what can really be known about the past, amidst the new tide of information. Given that we all live in time–and always imagine what we will do based on judgements about what has already happened–that's a pretty big deal, in every walk of life.
- 1 2015-07-15T07:38:10-07:00 What is SourceLab? 11 revpar 2015-07-15T12:59:36-07:00 SourceLab is an Open Educational Resource initiative first conceived in the Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Fall of 2014. It seeks to equip undergraduate students students with the skills, tools and organizational support they need to create trustworthy, critical editions of materials that already exist on line and in the public domain. Through an internship program, participating students earn course credit toward their degrees–which helps them graduate–as well as author credits on the resulting publications, which they can add to their résumés. Most importantly, our alumni gain practical, transferable experience in helping the public solve one of the biggest problems facing history today: it's everywhere and nowhere all at once. On the one hand, a source whose origin, nature, and evolution over time you don't understand is the very definition of a bad source. And you can't build good history from bad sources. You can't trust the judgments about the past you make from such artifacts, until you understand their own history better. Yet as wonderful and prolific the new historical record being assembled by the Internet is, it seems almost fiendishly designed to produce just such 'bad' sources. Millions–billions?–of useful artifacts occupy the no-man's land of our World War I film. Their digital presentation has radically de-contextualized them, stripping them of any information about who made them, why, for what purpose, and how they have come to be preserved today. In effect, the Internet has provided a solution to one traditional goal of historical publishing–getting people access to sources they need to understand the past–while sidestepping or even ignoring another: providing people with the context they need to understand these sources. So in SourceLab, we're going to fix this, figuring out innovative ways to help the new historical record being assembled by the Internet reach its potential. (You're welcome, Internet!)