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Accessible: able to access or capable of being reached.

Advertisement: also known as an ‘ad;’ the public promotion of something; within a newspaper may be clearly defined as something supporting the purchase of an item or services such as an announcement for a sale; may be free like a public service announcement put out by the government.

Almanac: invented in the 14th century, intended to be annual publications containing information about the stars, the predicted weather for the year, and other information. Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack is a popular publication throughout the colonial East Coast of the United States and includes some general advice that is still used today.

Ancient Time Capsules: there are numerous examples of ancient time capsules from different civilizations. For example, British archaeologists exposed Egyptian King Tutankhamen’s burial tomb in 1922, and the discovery revealed an unintentional time capsule from 1346 B.C. When King Tutankhamen was placed in this underground tomb, he was expected to remain there untouched and protected. However, its discovery revealed treasures in gold and new information about this civilization. Do you think this capsule should have been opened or should have archaeologists respected its creators’ intentions? Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a time capsule is intentional or unintentional.

Atlas: is a bound collection of maps often including illustrations, informative tables, or textual matter.

Audience: a group of readers or spectators for a text or performance; the intended group of people or persons who will interact with an authored text; includes those who interact with a text by listening or using any and all of the human senses. For example, the audience for a newspaper is its readers, this group may be further defined by region, age, political orientation, language capabilities, gender, and class.

Caption: a phrase, sentence, or paragraph that describes the contents of an illustration such as a photograph or chart; usually placed directly above, below, or to the side of the object it describes.

Chamber of Commerce: organization that organizes businesses in town. Most chambers of commerce have information that promotes the town, including tourism and sometimes historical information.

Chronological: from the word ‘chronology;” refers to the order in which a series of events may take place.

Colonialism: the extension of a nation’s sovereignty over territory beyond its borders by the establishment of either settlements or the exploitation of local economies.

Context: the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, or subject.

Creation Myth: a supernatural story or explanation that describes the beginnings of humanity, earth, life, and the universe; many share broadly similar themes. Common motifs include land emerging from an infinite and timeless ocean.

Credibility: the capacity to inspire belief or trustworthiness; can the subject be believed?

Democracy: government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.

Deportation: the eviction or expulsion of a person or group of people from a place or country.

Diaspora: originally specific to the history of Judaism and the Jewish people; now applied to any dispersion of people from their original homeland and the community they form.

Edit: the process and/or preparation of putting together the various parts of a document for the purpose of presentation, such as newspapers, television programs, films, or anthologies.

Editorial: an essay or section of a newspaper that reflects the opinions of the editor of the newspaper or a group of writers chosen by the newspaper to explicitly show a point of view.

Emigration: leaving one’s place of residence of country to live elsewhere.

Epic poem: the word ‘epic’ can imply heroic or majestic; a long poem narrating the heroic exploits of an individual in a way central to the beliefs and culture of society. Typical elements are fabulous adventures, superhuman deeds, polyphonic composition, majestic language and a craftsmanship deploying the full range of literary devices, from lyrical to dramatic. Consider the other epic poems that are used in ancient civilizations like The Iliad and The Odyssey. There is a standard format to the organization of epic poems. The length of the poem, however, will depend upon the writer.

Global: referring to the entire earth or worldwide.

H - I

Headline: the phrase in larger type at the top of a newspaper or magazine article indicating its subject.

Historiography: the history of history; or the writing of history and the broader trends and paradigms that shaped the writing of history over time.

Immigration: entering a country of which one is not a native for permanent residence.

Imperialism: the policy of extending the rule or authority of an empire or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies.

In Medias Res: Latin for “in the middle of;.” a writing convention used in epic poetry but one that we see reproduced in other art forms like film noir, comics and soap operas.

In-migration: the movement of people into a region or community within the same country.

Index: a list of words or phrases ('headings') and associated pointers ('locators') that allows readers to know where useful material relating to that heading can be found in a document; may be chronological and note when one may find a section on an interview, or it may be alphabetical, as in the back of a book.

Indian Reservation: an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Intake Interview: a short interview with a subject to prepare for the subject’s oral history. It includes questions that help the interviewer determine relevant questions and a short interview to assess the basic parameters of an interviewee’s life.

L - O

Landmark: According to Reginald Golledge of the University of California at Santa Barbara: “Landmarks are key components of the way we organize our knowledge of global, regional, and local environments. In general, landmark status is defined by some combination of features including: dominance of visible, natural, or built form, such as the Eiffel Tower or Niagara Falls; outstanding color, shape, extent, such as the Kremlin; functional significance, as with the Golden Gate Bridge; symbolic significance, as with the Blarney Stone in Ireland; or historical significance, such as the place where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. Sometimes natural features (e.g., mountains, volcanoes, deep canyons, waterfalls, or reefs) attract enough attention to label phenomena as a landmark. (Note that natural features need not be restricted to a single point in space, as with the Great Barrier Reef). Sometimes it is a part of the built environment that catches attention - such as the Kremlin, Notre Dame Cathedral, or the Sydney Opera House.”

Landscape: an expanse of scenery that can be seen in one view.

Legacy: anything handed down from the past.

Literacy: the ability to read written text. In recent studies, scholars have attempted to expand the term to include the ability to read many different texts and symbols, and to understand the practice of reading in its proper context, or time and place.

Local: to, of or belonging to; characteristic of a particular locality or neighborhood.

Map: a survey or plan that is usually on a flat space and represents geographic space or part of an area.

Memorial: an object, often public, designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, place or other subject, as a monument or holiday.

Migration: the movement from one country, place, or locality to another.

Neighorhood: a spatial designation that may mark an area of a city or place and/or the group of people who form its community.

Objective: unbiased or free from personal opinion or emotion. In the last half of the twentieth century, historians ultimately agreed that total objectivity is impossible in the recording of the past. As a result, different scholars often explain their goals in presenting their research.


Petroglyph: ancient drawings that are carved into stone. Petroglyphs in caves may have been intentional time capsules—these early Indian tribes may have wanted to communicate their histories and values through paintings and rock carvings. Or, this imagery may have been created for the time in which it was made. Depending on the group, today’s historians simply do not know enough about the civilization to determine the intent of all petroglyps. Regardless of intent, cave paintings, petroglyphs and surviving forms of art are time capsules because they communicate information about ancient people to future generations.

Photo essay: a set or series of photographs that are intended to tell a story or evoke a series of emotions in the viewer. Photo essays range from purely photographic works to photographs with captions or small notes to full text essays with a few or many accompanying photographs.

Pluralism: a condition in which numerous distinct ethnic, religious, or cultural groups are present and tolerated within a society, such a condition is desirable or socially beneficial; the doctrine that reality is composed of many ultimate substances, and the belief that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life.

Point of View: a position from which something is considered or examined.

Political Asylum: the granting of refuge to a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country by another sovereign authority. Asylum may be temporary or permanent.

Preservation: the act of preserving; care to preserve; act of keeping from destruction, decay or any ill treatment.

Printing Press: a machine that integrated moveable type and allows for the mass production of any printed item.

Private: not open or accessible to the general public and pertaining to or affecting a particular person or a small group of persons; intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person, group, or class.

Property: related to something owned; any tangible or intangible possession that is owned by someone.

Public: being open to the knowledge or view of all; of, pertaining to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole.

Public Art: art that one may find in the public and not subject to restrictions in its viewing, though some argue that the original intent of the artist should be included in this definition—that an artist must have intended the artwork to be presented in the public sphere.

Public History: National Council on Public History Board of Directors, defines it as, "... a movement, methodology, and approach that promotes the collaborative study and practice of history; its practitioners embrace a mission to make their special insights accessible and useful to the public." Public history is history that both engages the public and invites the public to participate in the writing of history.”

Pull Factor: something that draws a person to a new location.

Push Factor: something that drives a person away from his or her native location.

R - Z

Redlining: the discriminatory practice in which a mortgage or insurance company refuses to lend money to a person on the basis of race, color, creed, age, gender, sexuality, etc., therefore preventing such person from owning property in certain neighborhoods.

Repatriation: the voluntary and/or the involuntary movement of people back to their country of origin. Repatriation can be involuntary, as is the case of the government raids of undocumented immigrants, or voluntary, as is the case of many Italians who moved back to Italy after finding fortunes during the first part of the twentieth century. However, there are cases of repatriation in which there can be a mixture of both voluntary and involuntary movement. For instance, during the Great Depression, many Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were sent to Mexico by both Mexican and US government officials; while others left for fear that they too could find the same fate, and/or because of the lack of jobs.

Republic: a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

Revolution: the drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving. The American Revolution refers to the political upheaval of British rule in the thirteen colonies of North America, while the industrial revolution defines the drastic change in the way people manufactured and bought goods.

S - Z

Sacred Sites: a place of religious or spiritual significance. Cemeteries are considered sacred sites, as well as churches, temples, synagogues and other places of worship.

Segregate: to separate or isolate a person or community from others or from the rest of society.

Social History: the history of every day people or history from the “bottom up” in contrast to previous historiography that focused on leaders, military events, and economic history. Social historians are concerned with what life was like for the average person within a specific context. The roots of social history are found in the 20th century French Annales School, which reordered the hierarchy of history writing and attempted to decentralize its focus. Social history saw its popularity rise with the Civil Rights Movements and Women’s Movements of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. These movements used the contributions of their groups, and the neglect of this history in traditional accounts, to call for reform in the United States’ democratic society.

Spatial: the size, dimension or area of a subject.

Subjective: personal, or coming from a person, and an opinion or a defined point of view.

Timeline: a chronology of events or an ordering of events based on when they happened. Timelines represent events within a particular historical period, often consisting of illustrative visual material with text.

To Remember: to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; think of again.

Transcription: transferring information from one medium to another. Transcription in oral history refers to the transfer of audio information to a text document.