Module 2 - Obtain & Preserve Content

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Module Goals:

1. Begin Collecting Content Ideas  - while keeping your end goals in mind.

2. Start to build a Digital and Hardcopy Archive  that is protected, shareable, expandable, and easily accessed.

3. Create a catalog and Organize Content by Media Type.


Read the Mini-Lecture

Read the Website links to get ideas

Create a list of Resources

Reflect on what you are discovering

AI generated artwork by DALL- E2

Mini Lecture Module Two

In module one, we took some time to identify potential sources, sites, organizations, or various types of subject matter experts that could help us reach the goals of our End-Learners.

The readings in this module will help you:

·       Begin Collecting Content - while keeping your end goals learner in mind.

·       Start to build a Digital and Hardcopy Archive that is protected, shareable, expandable, and easily accessed.

·       Create a catalog and Organize Content by Media Type

Now that we’ve assembled this list, we want to start looking at materials that can dovetail into our existing curriculums. As you start to assemble these materials, it’s essential that you look for opportunities to either replace some existing modules or supplement them if you feel that the material you are collecting can build a greater understanding within your students. If you can reach the same lesson goals with more excitement, recognition, and local pre-requisite knowledge, you have a chance to create curiosity that is constantly triggered by local situations or sites. You could take some of your more current abstract historic lessons that don’t seem to be connecting with students and try to improve the concepts of your lessons by telling stories or performing activities that involve local people or local sites.

Our End-Learner Goals in this mini-course were identified in our Performance-Based Objective as follows:

Kindergarten students - should be able to identify, describe, and comment on the significance of many local historical people, places, ideas, and events. The focus will be on:

  • Colonial Townspeople, Tradespeople and Trading of goods of or services
  • Farmers and Farming - including animals and their purpose on the farm and farm to table
  • Communities - Rural vs Urban
  • Community helpers and leaders
  • Land use and Types – Then and Now
  • Important Buildings and Geographic Features - History of and uses and how they contributed to the developmet of the local community.
  • Daily Life - Then and Now
  • How education has evolved from the one-room Schoolhouses to todays schools.

In the next module we’re going to start using some of what we collected and create some synergies for concepts. For instance, if we were talking about commerce in the 1800s, and what type of occupations, trades, people, agriculture, and environmental conditions or land-use you could talk about your immediate locale rather than a globalize or a national subject matter.

I’d also like to know that many historical societies will give you hardcopy books or files, you just need to ask them and show your interest. You will likely find a lot of the consolidation work may be done for you already and it’s always a lot of fun to discover a document, tape or video where someone has already composited local stories or studies. So don’t be afraid to ask, everyone likes to see their content get used.

In this module, we’re going to gathering materials and not pay a lot of attention to distilling them into stories or activities……yet! That said, you likely have enough experience with your students to know the kind of things that would appeal to them. So as you collect these materials always keep in the back of your mind where something could be applied. We are gathering at this point and not really distilling yet. As you practice this a bit you will find that you will develop a discriminating eye and recognize opportunities.

You already know your audience and your students and you know what excites them and what type of things will interest them. Finding those types of things will create the “hooks” that I’ll refer to in later modules. These hooks will draw the student in.

Over time, you will likely be working with a variety of media. For hardcopy materials, books, pamphlets, letters, and photographs I would suggest consolidating them in one area where you know you can find them easily. Staying organized and knowing where your tools are will save you frustrations. If you see something that really jumps out at you as you collect.  hardcopy materials I would go ahead and tab the page with a Post-it. That’s always helpful when you’re looking for something in the future.

A lot of what we gather will be digital assets. These are portable, and could be easily shared, and they are perfect for collaboration. One thing you want to be certain of is that you are backing up these materials. If you’re working through a personal computer or tablet, you can store items to the cloud very economically. My workflow involves storing everything on my PC and then backing up my entire PC with some sort of service, like Carbonite. That way everything on my PC is backed up and I don’t have to worry about losing anything.

When I’m working with my historical society, I use Google drive to pack up all my materials. This also allows me to share documents files and videos with other people in the society.

It’s also great idea to make sure you are naming folders and files in a descriptive manner – it will save you hours of time over the years. One thing that really helps are the search engines within the operating systems. Using a few keywords you can usually get to the file or subject matter you are looking for.

If there’s only one hard copy of a resource, I like to scan it. Scanners have come along way. You could use a flatbed scanner, your phone or document scanner to create digital copies of delicate or borrowed materials. What I find very useful are the pedestal scanners that will scan open books, separate the pages and clean them up (despeckle and deskew) as you scan. These scanners start at around $100 and their utilities are really great. I use one with a foot activated pedal that allows me to scan an image by tapping on the pedal and using my hands to turn the pages.

Once again please……it’s essential that you back up your digital files! if you’re storing everything in the cloud, I would keep a local copy or ensure that your cloud service is backing up materials so that you can recover it. Initially, you may lose a few things if something happens to your hardware, but as your content collection increases, it can be devastating to lose large volumes of resources, I know this seems somewhat obvious as we probably all have been victims of not properly backing up files.

If you are sharing files with other teachers or subject matter experts, make sure that you have protocols in place so that your digital resources stay organized, and they’re not lost or modified in an unexpected manner. Version control, or revision labeling is very helpful. Often in the working with files, I label them with the dated embedded in the file name. Example:: “The file I am working on as of December 1 2022 6 PM”.

OK, so that’s enough of the mechanics!

Happy Hunting!!!!!

AI generated image by DALL-E 2

Browse the Websites links below.

As you look through these websites take note of what works for you. These sites are great to come back to for digital archiving practices as well as ideas for applying the materials you collect. The portatbility of digital assests allows for a lot of flexibility repurposing and collaboration.

Building a Digital Archive - this website provides a quick overview of building an archive. It's a short read, but highlights some great practices. As you read it think of how you might apply the concepts put forth. If you are working with a larger team you will find that the content will expand and being familiar with practical tools and tips will help you and your team as you grow.

Sustaining Places- Building a Digital Collection - just browesthis website iand bookmark it as collection point for practices of small museums and archivists. Odds are good your School Librarians and Information Technlogy Team have a good handle on this, but take a look at the menu on the left handside for a wealth of ideas and for future use. Two menu items are of particular interest are Digital Storytelling and Education & Programming.

Teaching Tools for Local History - this website is teaming with great, simple, and entertaining ideas. It will help you develop and eye for content and help us as we get ready to put the content we have found to use.

Making Greenwich History Accessible - This website is truly amazing. You can see the lessons and variety of activities the organization has created to teach and entertain. Spend some time looking through the tabs for ideas!


Think about how you are going to store and maintain your files. Post your thoughts on the Link below,

Click here to describe how you will store and back up your files

Now list the resources that you have collected so far. In the next module you are going to use these to create a story or activity that engages your students.

What have you collected so far?

What are you waiting for

Click here to return to the Course Home Page

Click here to go to Module 3 - Select Content that Support Objectives

References and Resources:

Building a digital archive. (2018) TEC. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from

Digital Collections. (2019)Sustaining Places. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from

Digital Archives. Greenwich Historical Society. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from

Riley, J., Robinson, B., & Baron, C. (2005, July). Table of contents. Retrieved December 7, 2022, from