-Spring 2020 Final Project Prospectus-
This is the prospectus to my final project. Thoughts and ideas for the project are below, these are current as of 19 February 2020.
Description of history questions and content:
- How are minorities (using the term vaguely) represented throughout the history of the census in the United States? If minorities are represented, how did this representation change? What were the forms of representation? When discussing representation, I am referring to when a diversity of races were included on the census. Therefore, representation as used here means an available box that one could check.
- Overall, I am more so interested in the evolution as to how these representations changed over time, and if various races were grouped together or subdivided over the decades. When looking at the evolution of an institution or government action, it is best to narrow down the time span as to dive deeper into the primary sources for that selected time. Currently, I am looking to take a sample size from the three centuries of census records: sampling from 1790-1800, sample from 1850-70, and sample from 1930-40. My goal is to study enough data to give a general estimation of census evolution.
- The content for this project is currently comprised from three organizations: the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the US Census Office, and the Pew Research Center. A current and live list of sources can be found here. The NARA and US Census Office is there to provide the primary sources and general history information, while the Pew Research Center is a quantitative review of these sources used to inform the site visitor.
Description of the digital technologies to be used:
- One of the primary digital tools will be the Omeka site. This site will be used to house and present the gathered data and primary sources.
- This site also hosts a multitude of plug-ins. Plug-ins like CSV Import and PDF plug-ins will allow for easy data transfer and allow the user to download and view PDF documents on the website.
- Using Omeka’s Simple Pages plug-in I could also create a slide show to show historic photographs about the general history of the census.
- Depending on how this project evolves, I may want to create a timeline to show a digital display as to how these census records evolved over time. If I do add this section to the project, I will use Timeline J/S for the data presentation.
- Another idea for this project could be a mapping project of enumerator travels. This project will still use the same data from the three sources but would be more of a visualization of where enumerators went and, more importantly, where they did not go. This mapping project is still being developed.
Description of primary and secondary audiences:
- The primary group for this project will be college educated, history-interested, visitors who are, perhaps, of a minority race in the US and want to learn more about their heritage and history. One primary group member could be teacher who is looking to add both a history lesson on the US Census and black history month.
- The secondary group are student or teenagers looking to find primary or secondary sources to use for a class project. This project will assist in their endeavor to uncover primary sources materials, or to find readable documents that can be downloaded for class lecture.
- While both groups have an educational (teacher or student) audience, this project is not an educational project. It is a public history project that is being designed to be used as a digital research tool. A database-in-creation of sorts, and its primary purpose is to not only uncover and present census documents but to push its visitors to interact with the documents.
- There is also the question as to how this project is going to reach these primary and secondary audiences. According to the Pew Research Center, Facebook is still the number one social media tool being used; therefore, starting a social media campaign on Facebook would be a good start. Also, because this project is going to be image heavy, a Flickr or Instagram account could prove useful when wanting to promote the site’s content.