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Peer Review

Archiving Early America

by Don Vitale


Overall Numeric Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 08, 2009 by Teacher Education
Overview: Archiving Early America is primary source material site from 18th Century America — all displayed digitally. The unique array of original newspapers, maps and writings are provided for viewing and supported by milestone events, portraits, town crier forums, pages from the past, games, music, and movies.
Type of Material: Interactive collection
Recommended Uses: Introduction and investigative uses of primary source material for K-20 students and educators. Librarian media services and library training session will find the content useful. Primary sources provide resources for writers of history and they offer a range of perspectives for helping understand what people thought and did at a particular point in time.
Technical Requirements: Internet access; high speed connection to appreciate the multimedia
Identify Major Learning Goals: Displaying documents from America's historical past achieves the following: 1) Provides open access of historic documents to the greatest number. 2) Re-awakens, encourages and maintains an interest in this country's early history — the roots of American society. Original two-century-old newspapers, maps and books that faithfully chronicle the events of the day track the beginnings of The Republic as few history books alone are able to do. These historical documents are an important adjunct to the study of early America.
Target Student Population: K-20 students and educators, particularly those involved in social studies and history, writers, researchers, and librarians
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Internet access. Reading level geared for upper elementary and above

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: The vast array of material is from the United States and archives our early American history. The content is organized around the themes: Early America Home, Freedom Documents (including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights), Early America Review, World of Early America, Lives of Early Americans, and A Jefferson Primer. Further resources include maps, milestone events, portraits, and pages from the past. There are interactive Town Crier Forums for online discussions, as well as games, music, and movies all anchored with an historical angle. The Early American Review is an bi-annual online journal that has its home on this site as well.
Concerns: This site contains several ads that are distracting. The ads change each time the user clicks on a new link. The ads are on the left side of the page under the menu list and on the bottom of the page.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Providing access to primary source material from 18th century America is the strength of the site. The content, organized by themes, allows for a range of perspectives in teaching, research, and writing. The images and music are from the time period. The movie clips can be viewed with or without captions depending on viewer choice. They feature primary documents from the archives collection. These could be used as an introduction to a given area of study or as individual review. And all are available online
Concerns: The content on the website is easy to access, the only concern are the ads that appear on each page of the site.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The information on the site is clearly labeled and easy to navigate. There are drop down menus from the theme list on the left. There is a search slot for finding what you need within the site.
Concerns: Again, the only concerns are the distracting ads on the pages. Some of these include audio which could be detrimental when used in a classroom setting.

Other Issues and Comments: The site is rich with content and it is evident that care has been taken to present these primary sources.

Creative Commons:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States