Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SlaveryStories

Solomon Northup engraving, c1853
Amy Cavender of ProfHacker reports on a brand new digital project called "SlaveryStories. She bills it as "an online home for stories about slavery, told from the perspective of the slaves themselves." Here is more:


The project got its start shortly after Rob Walsh, one of Scholastica’s* founders, went to seeTwelve Years a Slave. He decided to read Solomon Northup’s memoir, but quickly discovered that there was no good, easy-to-read online version. Those versions that were available online were in formats that weren’t pleasant to work with, such as PDF scans of print documents, or plain-text versions full of errors.
Creating a digital version of Northup’s story that would be easy to read, and nicely formatted for any device, quickly led to a bigger project. Why not go beyond Northup’s story, and make the stories of other former slaves available as well? Moreover, why not make it a collaborative project, enabling anyone with the time and interest to contribute?
The necessary materials are in the public domain, and it doesn’t take much technical skill to do the work. All that’s needed is the ability to
  1. put the narrative in HTML format, and
  2. share it on GitHub.
If either of those sounds intimidating, not to worry: the project site provides instructions that are easy to follow, along with an HTML template.