Columbia Crisis -- Added Value Features

One to two paragraphs will appear on the main page, providing a brief summary of the occurrences of the eight-day strike, a statement on its significance, and the general goals of the site’s creators.
Furthermore, as the site will consist of both an online exhibition and a digital archive, the exhibition can certainly serve as a valuable ‘introduction’ in its own right. It will provide a very thorough narration for the strike as well as for the months before and after the event. If visitors were to explore the exhibition first, they would discover an excellent sense of context to proceed into accessing the archived materials.

Due to the fact that there are a number of significant individuals and organizations involved in the planning, execution, and ultimate commencement of the protest, the site will reserve a separate section for a glossary. The tendency of many civil rights and anti-war organizations of the 1960s to operate primarily by the acronyms of their full titles can often confuse those not already familiar with the subject matter. In addition to the numerous acronyms that will be used throughout the exhibition, there will be a multitude of names, referring to student leaders, faculty, administrators, and press associates. Keeping track of these many individuals may become daunting without a sufficient reference guide.

The glossary will be organized amongst two pages: ‘people’ and ‘organizations.’ Within each of these pages, there will be links along the top of the page, so that users can jump immediately to the category that most specifically meets their reference needs. The ‘people’ section of the glossary will list links for: ‘students,’ ‘faculty members,’ ‘administrators,’ ‘authorities and security personnel,’ ‘community members,’ and ‘press members.’ Linked within the ‘organizations’ section of the glossary will be: ‘student groups,’ ‘faculty groups,’ ‘administrative councils,’ and ‘press outlets.’

A descriptive account will be provided for each item in the glossary. Entries for individuals will begin by clearly stating their specific role in the events at Columbia University in April 1968. The space will further include a brief biography, including their birth date (and death date, if appropriate) and an overview of their life accomplishments. Glossary sections for organizations will, as with the individuals, first state the group’s direct connection to the eight-day strike, and then look at the more general lifespan of the group.

While the online exhibition itself will be presented in a chronological, narrative format, readers may find the presence of an actual timeline helpful in structuring their learning. A timeline will be permanently present beneath the actual exhibit space, so that if a visitor prefers to immediately skip forward to a specific day of the strike, he may click on that date along the timeline. Once he has clicked, the narrative of that day will appear within the exhibit space above. The ability to physically view the chronology covered within the exhibit will likely make the site more accessible, particularly for younger audiences.

Search Function
Users of the Digital Archive will be allowed the opportunities to both browse and search through the digitized materials. The 'Browse' function will allow them to move through the materials at a surface level, through the options to browse 'by type (of document),' 'by date,' 'by individual,' 'by organization,' or 'by occupied school building.' When users click onto a browsing category, a drop-down box will appear that will list all possible options for this category. Users will then select the specific date, organization, building, etc. that they would like to look at more closely. A more advanced and focused 'Search' function will give visitors the chance to search by using a combination of specific query types, i.e. a photograph of crowds outside of Hamilton Hall on April 25.

Resources Page
The Crisis at Columbia Online Exhibit and Digital Archive seeks to serve as a thorough and engaging introduction to the names, faces, and perspectives of those involved in the eight-day strike. It does not, however, desire to become the exclusive resource for individuals interested in the event. We would like to provide a section of the site for our visitors to discover additional relevant online and manuscript-based resources.

The resources page will consist of two sections: web links and a bibliography. Within the web links section, the site’s staff will present a number of links related both specifically and more generally to the Columbia Crisis of 1968. These linked web sites will include: online exhibits (both created by institutions and private individuals), official organizational web pages, and other digital archives. The listed sites will cover a wide range of subjects that were touched on by the eight-day strike, such as: civil rights, peace activism, student activism, and free speech. The site will also allow its visitors to contribute to this page by submitting links to sites that they find particularly relevant to our subject matter. These submitted web links will be, of course, reviewed by the site’s moderators and approved if they are indeed relevant.

The bibliography section of the resources page will consist of the several superb books and scholarly articles that are pertinent to the discussion of April 1968. The staff will include the resources that they used in the research process, in addition to those they have discovered after the fact.

Education Section
This site would very much like to serve as a resource for young people and their teachers, and has chosen to devote a section for this sole purpose. We will provide a number of suggested lesson plans, in downloadable PDF format, for teachers to use in their classrooms. The lesson plans will be designated for students at the secondary level (from grades 6 to 12). The Education Page will also include a forum specifically reserved for teachers, providing them the opportunity to discuss the benefits and challenges of including these types of events within their curriculum. Teachers may also use this forum space to introduce activities they have incorporated into their own classrooms to educate students on issues relevant to this event.

Community Section
The events of April 23-30, 1968 would not have been possible without our country’s assured right to free speech and free expression. This site seeks to allow its visitors this invaluable capacity as well. It would like to serve both as an informational resource and a community center for American and international audiences. The site’s staff would like to offer the opportunities for former activists to reconnect, for scholars to share their bodies of knowledge, for today’s young people to discuss similar issues that they confront today, and for people all over to consider the complex meanings of the student activism of the late 1960s and 1970s. The staff will encourage an open atmosphere, but will also closely moderate this section to ensure that offensive boundaries are not crossed.

In addition to the discussion forums, the Community Section will include a feature for visitors to submit their questions, comments, and suggestions to the site’s creators. They may do so by completing a brief form that will be automatically forwarded to the e-mail account used by the webmasters. Those who make submissions will be permitted to do so anonymously, though if they expect a response, they should provide their contact information.

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