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Website Review Essay, Research Paper

Documenting the American South

Documenting the American South is a collection of resources documenting the American South during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Complete with first hand narratives and detailed accounts of the era, Documenting the American South (DAS) is a fact filled, informative website. DAS is clearly organized into five separate projects, which makes finding all information fast and effortless. This website provides an educational resource for thorough records of the American South during that time period.

The Academic Affairs Library at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sponsors Documenting the American South. The site is a collection of works from various authors documenting events in the south from the colonial period to the beginning of the 20th century. While the information is compiled together by different members of the faculty, the Editorial Board guides development of all the projects. The site was last updated March 1, 2001 and it includes 846 books and manuscripts.

The first page gives you direct, easy access to the vast array of information provided by this website. The website is currently split into five digitization projects which are individually funded by grants. These projects are: First Person Narratives of the American South, the Library of Southern Literature, North American Slave Narratives, The Southern Homefront 1861-1865, and The church in the Southern Black Community. The first section, First Person Narratives, focuses on autobiographies, travel accounts, diaries, and memoirs from 1860 to 1920. The next section, Library of Southern Literature, has 100 literary works documenting the Southern Experience. Then, North American Slave Narratives is a collection of stories documenting the African American struggle up to 1920. Text of individual and collective stories are presented for the reader. The fourth collection, The Southern Homefront 1861-1865, consists of 400 works and manuscripts, plus 1000 images of currency, maps, photographs, etc. This section centers on Southern Life during the Civil War. The fifth section is The Church in the Southern Black Community. It focuses on the transformation of Protestant Christianity into the black community through detailed slave narratives and observations by authors of that time. All of these sections combine to form an educationally based website that is both informative, and accurate.

The website is very organized and resembles a book. Complete with three search engines on the main page, information on the website is easily accessible. Even though the website is not very colorful, not crowded with information, and has no graphics, the visual design does not hinder the delivery of information. This website is a well-designed, informative site that delivers the American South to you. Since it s full of detailed accounts of that time period, it s not a site that would create any good or bad feelings of the author.

Documenting the American South includes a few links to resources on the American South. In Addition, there is an address for comments and suggestions, along with a place to leave your name and title to help continue the sites development. I liked the website, Partly because I m interested in History, and partly because the site was put together so well. From the first hand narratives to the 1000 images the site has collected, I wouldn t change a thing about the site


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