This past week I got the news from the National Endowment for the Humanities that our grant application to create a major website on the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe was accepted. The project, Making the History of 1989. Sources and Narratives on the Fall of Communism, will be the latest installment in our websites that marry scholarship, teaching, and learning. Here is a mock-up of the proposed website that we prepared for the proposal.
This particular project will take three years (or so) to complete, which meansit will be done just in time for the 20th anniversary of the collapse of communism in the region. For those of us who were there when it was happening, it’s very hard to believe it will be 20 years.
Several of our websites (History Matters, Women in World History) contain databases of primary sources and the 1989 project will include at least 300 sources, many drawn from the collections of the National Security Archive and the Cold War International History Project. One thing we are going to do differently with this database, however, is test out the idea I floated the other day. We are going to allow visitors (who sign in) to tag what they find in the database. We’ll have begun the process of tagging ourselves, but I can’t wait to see how visitors tag the sources themselves. We’ll also be creating some teaching suggestions for high school and college teachers around this tagging.
As the project moves along, I’ll be blogging about it a good bit. Having a diary of how such a large project unfolds will, I hope, be instructive to others who want to do something similar (or at least of similar scope).
For now, if you know anyone who has some extra cash and would be willing to contribute the $10,000 the NEH required we raise in matching funds, please put them in touch with me right away!