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Digital Docs in a Box

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Postcard, Group of Chinese children, 1900, Berkeley Digital Library

Digital Docs in a Box recognizes that student-made documentaries engage students in questioning the past and examining sources. However, the time needed to create these films is often a barrier to their assignment in a course. The website addresses this problem by providing documentary kits consisting of an overarching question and a set of copyright-free documents and images.

At the time of writing, there are are 11 documentary kits. They cover the impact of westward expansion on Native Americans, the relationship between American identity and Chinese immigration, social change brought about by Lewis W. Hine, imperialism's relationship to natural resource procurement, different factions of women's suffrage and their impact on the 19th Amendment, photojournalism and the public view of the New Deal, the Japanese American internment experience, young people's place in the civil rights movement, Native American diets and differing cultures, how transportation and views of progress are intertwined, and how Inauguration Day celebrations relate to the U.S. Constitution.

Each of these kits includes a short introductory text introducing the question; between four and 23 documents—speeches, songs, official documents, patents, newspaper articles, political documents, maps, architectural drawings, personal accounts, statistics, and book excerpts; and 16 to more than 100 photos, advertisements, artworks, and other historical images. A few of the kits also include audio samples.