From the Editor

Welcome to the third issue—actually volume—of The Journal for MultiMedia History (JMMH). This volume continues our efforts to showcase the best historical research and pedagogy presented in a digital multimedia format. It contains a number of excellent feature articles, pedagogical and research guides, and reviews. Over the past three years, as we worked to expand the borders of multimedia scholarship, we came to better understand its complexities and demands. Today, we remain as deeply committed to this pioneering venture as we were back in 1997 at its inception. It is indeed very heartening to see the Journal of American History, the American Historical Review, and others joining us in smashing the boundaries of traditional publishing. With a growing recognition in the historical profession that there is a future to hypermedia explorations of the past, we expect to see an expanding number of scholars engaged in hypermedia publishing.

The centerpiece of this issue of the JMMH is "Miner's Son, Miner's Photographer." Tom Dublin and Melissa Doak have produced an outstanding in-depth profile of documentary photographer George Harvan and his work. Presenting 280 photographs, hours of oral interviews, slide exhibits, and an analytical essay, it stands as an example of how to utilize the full potential of electronic publishing in scholarship focusing on photographic, video, or audio subject matter. Hundreds of hours of labor went into producing it. It shows.

Volume three continues our examination of historically significant film works. Last year we examined the cinematic creations of Frank Capra; this time we look at one of the most important and prolific American black filmmakers, Oscar Micheaux. On this fiftieth anniversary of Micheaux's death, Gerald Butters pays tribute to the man and his craft by examining one of Micheaux's most controversial films—Within Our Gates. Originally released in 1919, and now available through the superb restoration efforts of the Library of Congress, it is a powerful African American response to D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. Butters examines this aspect of the film, as well as its depiction of black masculinity.

Sonic History: The Making of Lost and Found Sound was stimulated by an encounter with Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva—better known as the Kitchen Sisters—in October of 2000 at the annual meeting of the Oral History Association in Durham, North Carolina. We cajoled them, with the help of Charles Hardy, to sit down for an interview and explain their entry into radio and the genesis of the series they co-produced, Lost and Found Sound. The series—along with Quest for Sound, curated by Jay Allison—extensively mines a century of sound, extracts nuggets of aural treasures, and presents them to a nationwide radio audience. It is part oral history, part aural history, part audio archaeology: sometimes humorous, always insightful, and stunningly well produced. An encounter with Art Silverman, senior producer at National Public Radio a few months later in Washington, D.C. yielded his own musings on Lost and Found Sound. If you missed the series, Sonic History will give you an opportunity to explore it and become acquainted with its creators.

In our series Historically Speaking, Mary Beth Norton discusses her approach to the study of early U.S. women's history and her intellectual odyssey from her years as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan to the present. This issue also contains a new feature that we are extremely excited about and hope to expand in the future: From the Archives. Here we intend to present historical media treasures of all sorts from photographic, audio, and video archives from around the world—introduced by scholars uniquely qualified to comment on them. These might include speeches by the famous, the infamous, and the obscure; restored archival video and film footage of important incidents from our past; audio memoirs of significant historical actors, recorded and forgotten; or, as illustrated by this issue's selection, little known cultural works that offer a glimpse into the impact of highly charged political and social events. The Investigator, a radio play first produced in Canada in 1954, and a thinly disguised, devastating commentary on McCarthyism, is an excellent way to begin our series. We asked Gerald Gross of Concordia University, who has thoroughly researched the work and its author, Reuben Ship, to comment on this unique audio artifact of the past.

For those interested in exploring the pedagogical and research implications of new digital technologies, we offer two essays that provide guidance: Robert Griffith's "Un-Tangling the Web of Cold War Studies; or, How One Historian Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Internet," and Ian Anderson's "Creating Instructional CD-ROMs." The former gives students and scholars a roadmap to on-line resources pertaining to the Cold War. Anderson's essay summarizes the work of the History Courseware Consortium at the University of Glasgow, Scotland in developing CD-ROM and on-line multimedia resources for undergraduate instruction.

Finally, we ask you to pay close attention to all directions for viewing content. As some authors become more sophisticated with their presentations and make use of plug-in resources that add viewing features to basic browsers, you will need to download the plug-ins to view works as they were intended to be seen by the authors. You may also need to update your browser to properly view the Journal's content.

Those of you returning to our site will note two changes. Julian Zelizer has resigned as co-editor of the Journal to concentrate on his current book project; he does remain, however, on our editorial board. Also, Susan McCormick has now become Associate Editor. Her concern for quality and her attention to detail is reflected in every single one of this volume's pieces.

We hope that you will continue to find our work stimulating, provocative, inspiring, and more. We appreciate your feedback and hope that very soon some of you will submit your own projects to us for publication in future issues.

Gerald Zahavi,
Department of History, University at Albany, State University of New York
March 29, 2001

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From the Editor: A Status Report on the JMMH
Copyright © 2000, 2001 by The Journal for MultiMedia History

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