Yippie Tools

Added Value

The most important added value tools for my digital project will be in the development of an introduction, search/browsing options, and a bibliography. In his book, Revolution for the Hell of It, Abbie Hoffman wrote of the Yippies, “Our goal is to remain a mystery. Pure theater. Free, with no boundaries except your own.” Much of the literature written on and by the Yippies uses this “myth” theme when describing the party. While that myth was an effective publicity tool within the political atmosphere of the late 1960s, now at 40 years later, it is time to really examine how this party operated. The time frame for this project is very tight, focusing only on the year before the 1968 Democratic Convention. Yet, within this year Yippie activists committed numerous political “pranks” and garnered the attention of multiple media outlets. How were they able to accomplish so much plus develop this myth in less than a year of the formal foundation of the party? Who were the core members behind this myth? When did many of these activities take place and how were they reported? My website, and consequently its introduction, will not attempt to de-bunk any myths, but rather show the actions taken behind the scenes to create the myth. My project will reveal the process behind the myth-making and the basic activities of the party. The introduction will explicate this mission statement. The two most interpretive aspects of the website will be explained as well: the “Dig It” timeline and “Mapping the Myth” interactive map. The timeline will present Yippie activity chronologically. The user will be able to click on each event and be directed to different documents pertaining to this activity. These documents may include ephemera like leaflets and pamphlets, TV news reports, and newspaper clippings. In much the same fashion the “Mapping the Myth” will contain an interactive map of New York on which sites of Yippie activity (pranks, meetings, etc…) will be marked. When a user clicks on the markers, he or she is directed to the same sort of primary source material that is provided in the timeline. “Dig It” and “Mapping the Myth” are therefore just two ways of looking at the same information and can appeal to different users. The primary source material will also be organized separately on the site by format. Therefore, while users can explore the map and timeline, if they want to go straight to documents or articles, they are able to do so.

In keeping with the ability of the website to function for different audiences who will approach the website in different ways, I will include both a search and browse function for the primary source material. In the search box users can look up keywords or search for particular tags. However, the browse function will allow users to browse the material by format, date, Yippie activist, and location. The format section will also provide a larger breakdown of the different publications or news channels on which the Yippies appeared. For example, a researcher can browse for “newspaper articles.” Within that search, the researcher can browse the The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Realist etc….

As mentioned before, one of the most important aspects of the website will be its bibliography. The project will function to consolidate Yippie material that is scattered throughout the United States, in multiple publications, and through various media. While I think the consolidation of this material into one site is important, researchers should be made aware of all the collaborating institutions and their collections. Therefore the site will have links to various institutions and their depositories (ie NYU’s Tamiment Library) and, if possible, links to the finding aids of the collections. I do not want the site to turn into the kind of “myth” that the Yippies were: all finished product with no mention of the behind-the-scenes effort. The collaboration between institutions will be transparent. Links to other books and relevant websites will also be included.

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