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Studies in Southwest Literature [TESTING ONLY]: Introduction


About this Lesson

Discipline(s): Literature

Course number and name: ENGL/AIS/MAS 542: Studies in Southwest Literature

Lesson plan author: ?

Background/context for lesson: Introduce students to the concepts of archives, digital collections, and primary sources. Demonstrate overview of searching Library of Congress digital collections.

Time needed: Overview of Library of Congress collections in one class period; students given several weeks to complete assignment.

Learning objectives:

Students will be able to:

  • Define digital collection.
  • Define primary source.
  • Search Library of Congress digital collections to find relevant sources.
  • Understand descriptive metadata associated with primary source document/media.

Before class preparation/set up

Library of Congress digital collections:


Discuss difference between digitized archival materials and digital collections. Introduce Library of Congress and provide overview of digital collections platform. Demonstrate searching and refining searches with filters or keyword modifications. Introduce descriptive records and demonstrate how to use/understand.


This is a two-step assignment. First, you are to create an (artificial) collection from among the Library of Congress American Memory Project holdings. Your collection will be gathered from records in existing collections (as with Pinterest, but not “pinned”).

You should select a total of 18 records, which must include no fewer than:

  • one holographic (handwritten) letter
  • two maps
  • one government document (census, treaty, law, building code, policy document, military record, etc.)
  • five photographs
  • one material object
  • one moving image record, if temporally appropriate (that is, it should be an original record from the timeframe of your project, not a retrospective or distilled

The remainder may be traditional print documents, visual materials, or artifacts. Choose a topic for your collection. You are welcome to consult with me about this choice: I’m happy to talk over ideas or suggest topics based on your career or avocational interests. TIP: As you are gathering your records, keep good notes on provenance, so records can be retrieved later on. You will submit a list of records with URLs and pinned images, if possible, along with your bibliography.

Second, devise a bibliography of your findings, tailoring your citations to CMS 17th and bearing in mind the need to reflect the diversity of content and format. *Note: Your search should yield 18 items, but the bibliography need only contain 15 citations. Choose based on your research question, or include all that you discover.


Associated assignment graded

Additional Information