SourceLab (An Idea)

More about its Uses: Who Benefits?

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.

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