History, Department of


Date of this Version



Peterson Brink, Mary Ellen Ducey, Andrew Jewell, and Douglas Seefeldt, “Teaching Digital History Through the University Archives: The Case of Nebraska U: A Collaborative History,” in Past or Portal?: Enhancing Undergraduate Learning through Special Collections and Archives, Eleanor Mitchell, Peggy Seiden, and Suzy Taraba, eds. Association of College and Research Libraries, 2012, p. 163-168.


http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3828. Copyright 2012, the authors. Used by permission.


Nebraska U: A Collaborative History (http://unlhistory.unl.edu) is a collaboration between faculty and staff in Archives and Special Collections (Brink, Ducey, and Jewell) and the department of History (Seefeldt). This project engages undergraduates in archival research, historical synthesis, and digital project creation.

Nebraska U uses digital technology to provide a research framework for students exploring the way the study of history is transformed using new media publication forms. Specifically, students in Dr. Seefeldt's "Digital History" course selected a topic from the history of the University; worked with Archives staff to locate materials and thoroughly research that topic; selected items from the Archives for digitization; and prepared a digital project for publication on the Nebraska U site that provided synthesis and analysis of their topic.

This essay explores the mutual benefits of the Archives-classroom collaboration and, particularly, how digital technologies create distinctive opportunities for such collaborations. Through creative use of technology, Nebraska U is able to both enhance students' learning of the historical record and their ability to critically engage the rhetoric of online, multimedia publications. Additionally, the project assists the Archives in its effort to more fully understand the depth and nuance of its collections, as the students' research uncovers a wide variety of materials and generates a digital surrogate that can aid access to researchers worldwide.