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IBM-Sponsored Grant Provides Story Builder Tool For Crossroads

Publication Date: 6/6/2011

Rhodes’ Crossroads to Freedom will incorporate a new “Story Builder” tool into the archive, thanks to a $130,000 services grant from IBM Corp. Established in 2006, Crossroads is a digital library of oral history interviews and other primary sources related to the American Civil Rights era, cultural history of Memphis, and stories of Memphis neighborhoods. Currently there are 125,000 items available.

From November 2010 through April 2011, IBM software developers worked with Crossroads team members to create the “Story Builder” tool that enables users to make their own presentations using primary materials (video interviews, newspaper articles, photographs, etc.) from the Crossroads archive. The projected public launch of the tool is late 2011.

Teachers, for example, will be able to pull video, audio or documents from the archive and add their own titles and notes to make lesson plans and presentations for their classes. A student living in the Evergreen or Hollywood neighborhood, as another example, will be able to pull interviews with residents of the community as well as add his/her own stories and interviews with residents. The student then can publish the material on the Crossroads site to share with his/her class, thereby making online community building more integral to the archive.

“The Crossroads Story Builder makes the important materials about the Civil Rights movement and Memphis history even more accessible and useful in the classroom,” says Dot Neale, Rhodes alumna and IBM’s corporate citizenship and corporate affairs manager. “IBM is pleased to have played a role in bringing the archive to a global audience.”

Tags: Campus Life, Grants

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