Prof. David Campion

Epitaph of Athictus, underslave of Threptus, chief steward of Sallustia Lucana
Mid-to-late 1st Century CE, Cemetery near San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome



The purpose of this exercise is to familiarize you with the range of bibliographical aids available in the reference section of the library. Note that there are two reference sections: the non-circulating reference section on the main floor and the circulating "Z" section in the stacks. A second purpose of the exercises is for you to learn accepted forms for citations. Each you will do all cards in a particular form.

This set of exercises is based on use of the Bibliographical Checklist handed out in class. On Tuesdays I will assign each student two sources drawn from a section of the checklist. You will find the sources either in the permanent or circulating reference sections or online. Locate the sources and then consult with the reference staff at Watzek Library about where our class' temporary shelving is located. If a source is a book, place it there so that the other members of the class can consult it in the course of the bibliographical exercises.

(1) Study questions: From the sources you have been assigned you will submit two study questions. You will turn in those study questions on Thursday in class as a printed hard copy as well as in an email attachment to the instructor. Each question is to be followed by the answer and a complete citation of the reference source in which you have found the material for the question and the page number or URL on which you found the answer. Be sure your name is on each question and that you have provided the answer to your question. I will assemble your questions (and perhaps some submitted by previous History 300 students) into a question set that will be ready for you by 10:00 that Thursday evening and emailed to you.

(2) Annotation cards: Each Tuesday you will submit a packet of 4" x 6" cards upon which you have developed a concise but descriptive bibliographical annotation for eight (8) of the reference or library research items assigned the previous Tuesday. Do not put more than one source entry on a card. Give a full citation of the source as if it were to be listed in a bibliography using either the Humanities or the Scientific form assigned by the instructor. Follow that with your annotation. In the annotation pay attention to the prefatory material at the front of the reference source. Indicate for what purposes that source might be useful. Be certain that your packet for the week is securely fastened with a rubber band or binder clip—no paper clips accepted—and that you have indicated your name and the due date of the card set on a cover card to your packet.

(3) Answers to study questions: Each Tuesday (after the first week of class) you will submit answers to the study questions made available the previous Thursday. The answers are to be concise. Each answer is to be followed by an appropriate citation to the reference work in which you found the answer, including the page number. Use either the Humanities or Scientific reference form in citing your source. Note: when using the Scientific form you will need to give the short reference and a bibliographic citation.

During the semester each student will conduct an oral history interview and present a written analysis of the historical topic discussed with the interviewee. Students may interview older relatives or friends or may contact outside organizations to be put in touch with someone to interview. Possible sources for interviewees include the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), or local assisted living facilities or retirement communities.

The oral history project must focus on an event or development of historical significance (rather than merely family or personal history) in which the interviewee was involved or witnessed. Keep in mind that an oral history interview must be centered on the historical topic itself rather than focusing specifically on the person being interviewed. The interviewee is an historical resource and a means to researching your topic; he or she is not the topic itself. A proper interview also requires that the historian have done some preliminary research on the interviewee in order to place his or her experience in context. Finally, the interviewee must be fully informed of and clearly consent to the purpose of the interview ahead of time.

The interview should last about 20 to 30 minutes. The write-up of your interview should be 4-5 typed pages, double-spaced. Your write-up need not cover everything you discussed in the interview but it should address the following points:

1. What is the specific historical topic you wish to explore in your interview?

2. Who is the interviewee? Indicate age, sex, place of birth, relation to the topic of interest (e.g. civil rights worker, juror, infantryman, survivor, witness, refugee, etc), and relationship to you the interviewer (if applicable).

3. How did your questions guide the interview? Summarize briefly what you chose to focus on and how you formulated your questions.

4. What information of historical significance did you learn about your topic from the interviewee? Summarize briefly his or her responses to the questions (in addition to the verbal content of answers this includes emotion, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc.)

5. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the interviewee as an historical resource? What are the strengths and limitations of oral history in general compared to other types of research?

The oral history project is due in class on Thursday 10 November.

Each student will select, in consultation with the instructor, a primary, historical source and prepare a rigorous annotation and edition of it. Your task will be to:

Write an introduction placing the selection in its historical context
Write a statement of editorial methodology, explaining what decisions you have made about spelling, grammar, missing words, headings or subheadings, or other insertions of your work into the manuscript
Provide appropriate maps and illustrations and enumerate these in a list of figures
Prepare informational endnotes (or side notes) identifying obscure persons, events, and places, citing your sources for such information
Write an analysis of the source you have edited, interpreting its content and historical value and significance, taking into account relevant published historical scholarship on this topic
Compile a bibliography of the sources which you have used in editing the primary document.

Your original document should be approximately 15-20 typed pages (double-spaced) in length. (It may be somewhat shorter if you are using certain kinds of sources, such as a document that you translate from a foreign language.)

The historical work for documentary editing should be non-fiction, historical material—for example, a diary, a series of letters, reminiscences, court or hearings testimony, an autobiography, or a first-person narrative describing an event or an experience.

The final editing project is due by 5:00 PM on Wednesday 7 December.

Moses Maimonides (1135-1204), Halakhic Code, Mishneh Torah, Egypt, 13th century; The Schoyen Collection

Created by campion@lclark.edu
Updated: February 2012