Yippie Project Management

As mentioned in the project proposal, the Yippies in NYC website is intended not only to document Yippie activity in the city prior to the Chicago 7 trial, but to also incorporate the Yippie theatrical spirit. In other words, the site will not simply be a digitizing project of Yippie related material and publications, but with will include oral histories (either audio or video format), and interactive timeline, and a map of New York City detailing Yippie activity in the area. Many different formats and the interactive nature of the website necessitates, however, either utilizing a larger staff in which every member has a different skill set or using a smaller staff who are familiar not only with historical research but with some of the technical aspects of audio/visual materials and websites.

The difficulty in this project will be in collecting Yippie materials from all of the various institutions in which they are held. While Tamiment has records of other activists during the 1960s, I am unsure if it contains any information specifically relating to Yippie Party members. However, at this point, my research has only scraped the surface of Yippie activity. It may very well be that some of the interviews included as part of Tamiment’s Oral History of the American Left contain information about New York Yippies. The same applies to the Protest and Activism Collection housed at Columbia University. Presently, the only two collections that I have found containing Yippie material are the Social Protest collection in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley and the Hoffman Family Papers at the University of Connecticut. While it would be ideal to get the project off the ground before the 2008 Presidential Election (to honor the 1968 activism) another key collection will not be available until October 2008. The Labadie Collection at the University of Michigan will open the Stew Albert archives containing personal correspondence, writings, FBI files and other valuable material in October. Because of the richness of this upcoming collection, my project would want to utilize such material and might not be finished until early 2009.

Because of the scattered information, it is unclear whether I can gain institutional support from local universities or archives even though I will be focusing on New York City. My first step would be to hire a Project Manager who could help reach out to institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Michigan for some funding and support. Knowing how scattered Yippie material is, the project will have to be a collaborative one using student volunteers or recent graduates from Berkeley, Michigan, and the New York area to research information at NYU and the University of Pennsylvania. We would use about one student from each institution to conduct 8 hours of research a week in these institutions, gathering relevant material about Yippies in NYC. The researchers could check in weekly with information and possible useful documents for the project. Although I feel strong enough if my knowledge of the period to judge what documents will be useful, I would hire another content specialist to help sort out what will be used. Once we have a grasp on the documents and images we would like for the site, I would hire a ‘digitizer’ to travel to the institutions and handle digitizing the material. I do not anticipate any special equipment necessary, as the documents won’t be older than 40 years. However, if partnerships are indeed made with the various institutions, they could handle the digitizing themselves.

I intend to use Filemaker Pro to manage the documents and images in a database. However, I will use Omeka software to build the website itself. My Filemaker database will hold all of the ‘potential’ documents sent to me from my researchers, while Omeka will hold all of the documents we will actually use on the website and store it in the archive. I anticipate hundreds not thousands of documents used in the final website, therefore the Omeka software will be ideal for this size of a project. Finally, as mentioned before, I would like to include interactive materials including audio or video recorded oral histories. These might not be available in the collections, therefore I might have to hire another team of 2 or 3 to conduct interviews with former Yippie members. Having only brushed the surface of membership, I know that Judy Gumbo Albert and Nancy Kurshan are alive and could be interviewed. Most other members, however, are dead and I would therefore have to rely on archival materials. If Albert and Kurshan would allow it, my crew could interview them and we could include it on the site. I say crew of 2 or 3 because of the possibility of conducting a filmed interview. Omeka can handle moving images, therefore we could add these interviews easily to the site without an additional IT team. The biggest technical challenge might come with the interactive timeline and/or map. I have seen this been done with Google maps, however, I have little knowledge myself on how to create one. Therefore, this element of the project would require an outside IT person or student worker who could put this together. Futhermore, I would have to check to see if a Google map application could be used with Omeka software. It might be something that will be linked to the website created by Omeka.

My project is an ambitious one that will need staff members around the country. However, I have confidence that I and the Project Manager will be able to organize a successful project.

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License