Project Brainstorming

The making of this multimedia annotated album of Mavis Gallant’s journalism was a collaborative effort that extended over roughly 6 weeks.

First we had to find Gallant’s news articles, no easy task because our local university libraries in Vancouver do not have physical copies of the Montreal Standard. Luckily, we were able to arrange for an interlibrary loan from the University of Alberta, though not of the physical newspaper. We had to make do with microfilm reels, a clumsy technology that the Library’s one microfilm machine barely deigned to read. (As you can see if you check out our image archive from the microfilm).

But we managed to collect roughly 35 different news articles, and identified the themes that ran through them as well as Gallant’s distinctive journalistic voice.

Only a handful of these news articles have made it onto our site, however. By class vote, we group curated the 8 best articles, and our exciting discovery of Gallant’s report on Jean-Paul Sartre’s visit to Montreal.  We only had so much time, and had to keep the project contained.

It is hard to say if there was a group rationale behind what we considered the 8 best news articles: it seems as though we appreciated the hard-hitting features Gallant wrote about the post WWII immigrant experience in Canada, as much as the humorous stories about lazy bachelors and ski jumping authors.

Finding and curating the news articles was only the research phase of the work. We also had to figure out how to present this work in exciting and accessible ways. So we organized ourselves into three work groups: text wranglers (in charge of transcriptions), audio wranglers (in charge of the podcast content), and image wranglers (in charge of the visuals).  Dr. Hannah McGregor, Assistant Professor with Publishing@SFU also led a podcasting workshop, giving us ideas as to how we might generate interest in Gallant’s journalism today and use podcasting as a form of scholarly communication.

Anyway, here are some of us at work on March 22 2017, nearing 9pm in our night class, wrangling text, image, and sound.

Last but not least, we had to think through how we would annotate Gallant’s news articles.    Our annotations operate in a few different ways: they contextualize, remediate, and spotlight the articles to bring attention to their distinctive features and our own research discoveries.

Here is how we collaborated on the annotation of two articles, with each work group taking on annotation tasks.

If you want to track our collaborative process in curating the newspapers and annotating them for our site, check out our powerpoint.