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  • This assignment was the most difficult that I have tried so far.  Despite a significant investment of time- I am not sure that I have really figured out the best way to formulate search terms for the OPA search.  I found records for lots of maps that would be great for my geography course, but nothing that was available online.  I was specifically looking for historical maps of Alaska railroads and roads.  One of the five themes of geography that we constantly reinforce is movement and I would love to have some primary sources to enrich our discussion of how seemingly dry subjects like transportation actually directly impact the quality of life in human communities.  I think that I have perhaps overestimated how much material has been scanned and is available online.  It was also interesting to see how much variation there was in the amount of description for some of the documents. 

    On a positive note, this is definitely a process of discovery, and like all exploration it was unpredictable.  I found some absolutely fabulous materials about Alaskan village life in the early 20th century that will work wonderfully for my unit on water access.  It was published in a journal about Native American schools published in Oklahoma and is just the kind of thing that I would never have found if I weren’t just sifting around through documents related to Alaska. 

    The ARC search had similar results for me.  I found some great images related to transportation, but still struck out on digital copies of some of the maps I was looking for.  I also thought it was interesting that I was able to find Vitus Bering under “Archival Descriptions,” but nothing came up when I used the “People” search.  Finally, the microfilm keyword search was a complete bust.  I was not able to get any results from my searches.  After completing the assignment I was left wondering whether or not my students would be able to navigate searching the site, given the fact that I had such a difficult time.      


  • The experience was interesting. I found the powerpoint helpful. I didn't read the entire presentation before I started clicking around. Referencing back helped me get more specific with my search. Starting small and working my out to broader topics and areas helped me stay focused. Pictures were helpful. The amount of pages and words seem like they go on for an eternity. Fortunately, I can quickly skim some papers and look for engaging photos and read the accompanying words. 

    I struggled with the microfilm. Nothing there popped out for me or seemed all that useful/applicable. It may have been it was the end of the day, but I got annoyed. The rest of the searches gave me something quickly. 

  • Lesson 5

    Let's talk about this experience.  What did we find helpful?  What was difficult?

    The PowerPoint was very helpful, and I am so appreciative to have access to this and all the tools this class has provided. They make my job so much easier when presenting meaningful lessons to my students! I look forward to incorporating the use of these new “search engines” in many of my classes, including Sports Literature.

    I used the Online Public Access to search the 1940 Census, but went to my parents’ neighborhood in Michigan. I know the streets well. A couple of my students joined me and we searched local sports teams in Michigan. We quickly learned the OPA is not Google;)

    There are so many finds that I could get lost (in a very good way), but one document I found searching “Yupik”  was Documenting Democracy 1964-2004,  at http://www.archives.gov/nhprc/about/chronology.pdf (PowerPoint Prf03).

    Love this! And there are so many places the history in this 84-page nugget will take me. The only difficulty I had with this assignment was the time factor---not enough of it.  I wish I had a week to browse, but I must patiently wait until school schedules wind down.

  • This was a different experience for me.  I enjoy researching, but often find while I start on one topic what gets brought up has noting to do with what I meant to find.  I often find good stuff that I can use, but of a totally different topic.   My focus for this lesson was the Tent City, Alaska.  I searched this because Kindergarten Social Studies revolves around community.  I ended up with information on the Great Blizzard of 1888.  I have no idea where this came from, but also got information on orphanages, baby stealing and refugees. 


    I believe my focus might be easily distracted.  I used all the sites and enjoyed the ARC search engine the most. The OPA, AAD, and microfilm section showed me a ton of things, but I was all over the place and jumping from topic to topic.  I need to hone my topics and use better descriptive words, so that I can find what I am looking for.  With this being said it would be hard to say for sure which search engine worked the best for me but I believe it was AAD.


    Having the summer off will help a ton!  I will be able to play with this site and get to know the inner works.

  • I enjoyed this experience.  I am amazed at the amount of information that is retrieved through a single search experience and the tangents that that search can morph into.  I spent a good amount of time getting absorbed in the historical finding.

    My original search was for on OPA was “Internment camps US”.  My logic was that I would find information on Japanese American camps, but I learned how I needed to narrow the focus to retrieve the specific information I was seeking.  I found that I spent a lot of time searching areas that I did not intent to peruse, but all areas related to the 6th grade social studies focus.  I found the “subjects represented in the archival materials” an especially useful search area.   I am often looking for a historical time frame link to economics or human rights for authentic classroom instruction.  Overall, I found OPA a little overwhelming and required a lot of narrowing my focus on my part and searching around but I did find actual film footage from WWII Nazi camp relocations.

    I personally preferred using the ARC because it narrows my focus for me.  The ARC Gallery: Japanese American Experiences during World War II had some interesting items and even linked me to an outside resource where I got this link to some propaganda film footage:  http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1666229366601415640&q=w.... The links made it easy to maneuver around the resources.

    The AAD search by categories seemed like it would be useful, but not for my classroom needs.  I did like the photo search based on categories, but it took a lot of time to did and sort through things to find anything I might need in my class.  So I would say the AAD was definitely my least favorite.




  • This was a very positive experience for me - as I mentioned in my journal, I enjoyed this assignment because it reminded me of pouring over research in college, which, as a History major, I really enjoyed!  My focus for this lesson was the Cold War, as that's what I'll be getting into after Spring Break, so all of the topics, eras, and records I searched through related to that overall theme.

    Hands down, OPA was the easiest to use with the best results.  I found a great set of memos between Joseph McCarthy and President Truman, as well as the Truman Doctrine, and letters to Truman from the Greek Ambassador and Eleanor Roosevelt.

    I found a couple of interesting things in my microfilm records search, but nothing that I would probably use in my classroom, and only one thing that even related to my Cold War theme.  Searching in the microfilm records was probably the most frustrating because, as the PPT lesson said, you have to use one or two very general terms, and I like to search more specifically.  I think the microfilm would be best if one had some idea of what they were looking for, but not a very specific idea.

    Finally, my search for the Cold War era in the ARC was mildly successful.  Searching was easy enough, and I got back some great items, like a couple of political cartoons that I wasn't expecting, but linking to items is something that the ARC is not great for - and something that I really need to be able to do so I can share items with my students digitally.

    In conclusion, the OPA wins my future searching vote.

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