The Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project, a collaborative effort based at Northern Illinois University Libraries, invites faculty, students and the public to visit its Lincoln/Net World Wide Web site.
Lincoln/Net brings together primary source materials shedding light upon the life of Abraham Lincoln and his social and political context in antebellum Illinois in a searchable, indexed database. Contemporaries commented upon Lincoln's "representative life," in which he farmed, worked on flatboats and in groceries, educated himself, practiced law, and doggedly pursued a political career. Lincoln/Net hopes to use these experiences as lens through which to examine and interpret the larger sweep of antebellum American history.
In addition to Abraham Lincoln's writings and personal papers, this database provides digital copies of text and image materials from the Chicago Historical Society, Newberry Library, University of Chicago, Illinois State Archives, Lewis University, and Knox College. These materials include letters, diaries, maps, broadsides and other images, records of voluntary associations, and political song books and pamphlets.
The Lincoln/Net archives also include sound materials. In the future, the archives will feature video (of historical re-enactors) and GIS-based interactive maps as well. As the project develops, Lincoln/Net will become a multimedia historical database
In addition to these primary source materials, Lincoln/Net presents basic interpretive materials, including a brief Lincoln biography and discussions of eight historical themes useful in analyzing Lincoln and his milieu: Frontier Settlement; Native American Relations; Economic Development and Labor; African-Americans' Experience and American Racial Attitudes; Women's Experience and Gender Roles; Law and Society; Religion and Culture; and Political Development.
These interpretive materials can help World Wide Web users lacking a graduate degree in history or immediate classroom instruction with an analytical framework, with which they can begin to formulate historical hypotheses and frame historical queries for the databases.
Please examine the site at http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu and share your impressions with us.
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