Assignment 1: Clicking Your Way ThroughJack describes methods of killing the Joe Mows (good luck items, also known as "Mojos," said to be helpful in winning at gambling games) of other players in a skin (card) game. A Joe Mow can be killed by throwing salt or carrying a frog in the pocket.One of the great benefits to archive courses is that you have a lot more freedom in the way that you encounter and work with the material. As experienced “clickers” by this time, you all have your own ways to enter these sites, and while you might have adapted certain methods to fit particular assignments, you also have unique ways of “seeing” this material. Great, and I hope this unit will continue to capitalize on your methods and make you more keenly aware of the way that you search within a site.
--from "Joe Mows, Witches and Hants"
For your first assignment:
- Read “A Florida Treasure Hunt” by Stetson Kennedy. This short essay gives a general description of what you will encounter in the site, including a brief description of the WPA and the principal players.
- Jump into the archive and start clicking. You will encounter 376 sound recordings, an essay by Zora Neale Hurston, and 106 materials (logs, letters, transcriptions, etc). There will be no way to click through all of this material, but you do want to get a general “feel” for the site.
- Most importantly, create a “Blog” in which you record your travels through the material as you are travelling:
- Refresh yourself on the nature of a blog: a record (a "log") of web sites visited, mixing personal and business, written in a spontaneous, journal style.
- Spend substantial time blogging; this is the essential data for this unit; the more you do here, the better the basis for completing the goals of the unit.
- Identify each "stop" you make with a descriptive title or the URL so that you can return to the items and so that others have the option to visit as well.
- Try for immediacy; try not to be too retrospective: either comment on each stop as you go or set yourself a plan of writing in your blog at a regular time interval, say every 5 minutes, or every 10 minutes.
- Where do you go first? Describe why you start where you start.
- Thereafter, describe the reason why you move to each succeeding document.
- If you pause and weigh options before your start or before succeeding moves, be sure to identify the places you didn't go as well.
- Describe the nature of each item you look at and what you are thinking while you are there.
- Describe when you move and what causes you to move.
- If you leave quickly, why? If you linger, why?
- Give some indication, if not exact time, of how long you spend on a document.
- The tone and some of the content elements of a blog entry might look something like this: “First, I went immediately to the 'blues' section because of last week's assignment, and it was interesting to hear the blues being sung about prison—I liked the story behind James Griffin’s “Chaingang Theme Song”—he made up the verse that he sung when he was in prison for being drunk. I then went to hear 'Poor Strangers blues,' but the sound was bad (too bad because they seemed as if they could really sing!) but I loved 'Po Gal,' especially how Hurston describes how each verse is repeated three times. Sitting here at the computer, I started to find myself singing along to the lines, even when I didn’t exactly understand what she was saying………”
- The key to a successful blog for the purpose of this unit is that you slow down and articulate in relatively explicit detail both the reasons for your choices and your feelings about your choices, as well as clicking enough documents to form the basis for discerning patterns in your searching and forming a research question.
- Conclude this portion of the unit by reviewing your blog, selecting your top three “discoveries,” and listing those documents in a separate discussion board post along with one or two sentences explaining why you think they are so important to you.
- Which hits might you go back to as a starting point for a research project?
- Which ones made you think the most?
- Which ones excited you the most?
- Do you see any connections among your choices?