Looking back on the final weeks of class and the work we’ve all done on our archival project, I have to say that is has been an adventure, to say the least. At first I really struggled with deciding on a topic. I went back and forth between a few, searching for the right documents that were both informative and interesting. Finally, I settled on a topic that was relevant to myself and, thus something that I found incredibly fascinating; the history of the Catawba Indians in colonial Carolina. Though it has been frustrating at times, I have enjoyed my research on the Catawba Indians and have really learned a lot about the people and culture as a whole, specifically about their time here in the Carolinas and the struggles that they have faced throughout their history. I am pleased with my topic selection for the research project, and grateful for all that I have learned from my studies.
As I said, I have found certain aspects of this project very frustrating. I felt like the amount of work we were trying to do was far too extensive for the time constraints that we were working within. I was often confused about guidelines, due dates, and expectations for the assignment, and did not figure out until pretty far into my research exactly what we were trying to do. Though things were difficult at times, it really helped to know that we were all basically in the same situation. We were tackling something brand new, and therefore met with all the same issues throughout to project, so that was comforting. I do wish that we would have had more time to devote to the assignment, though. I know personally that my research could have been much more in-depth and my final product much more interesting and extensive had we been given more time. As I mentioned, I researched the Catawba Indians, and their reservation is located in my home town. Had there been more time I could have visited the reservation, dug up some really neat archival documents from our local newspaper and the collections housed on the reservation, and had a pretty substantial contribution to make to our anthology. Given the constraints, I was unfortunately unable to make any of this happen. So, if I were to complete the assignment again I would request more time to devote to topic selection and research. Perhaps the entire semester could be devoted to the project, or at least have it assigned earlier on to allow for independent research throughout the course. I believe that that would result in a better collection of documents as well as a more complete and comprehensive final product.
Overall, I think the idea of constructing an online class anthology is great. I liked the process of deciding what to include and how to format everything, as well as the work of locating a studying archival documents. I believe it was a great way to get us to see everything that goes into creating an anthology rather than just taking for granted one that we were given to read for the class. It has given me a new appreciation for those who collect and assemble anthologies, as well as for the time and effort that goes into searching for, transcribing, and contextualizing these documents. I feel as if I have gleaned a lot from this experience and am excited to see how the final product turns out.