Student Researcher Expands ALB Website

August 14, 2021

Over the past couple of years, I have worked with history teacher David Hanna at Stuyvesant High School to create a website dedicated to preserving the memories of the brave souls who risked everything to fight fascism. Originally, it was to be a simple thing, a small blog perhaps, but since then it’s expanded into so much more and I’m proud of all the effort that’s gone into making that a reality.

The website primarily contains biographies of various volunteers who lived in NYC researched by students at the school. The biographies contain images and sources, and we have a page to view all of the links that occur in sources for your own further research. Each of the biographies also contains tags about locations, people, and events, and there is a map page that allows you to visually navigate a network of tags and the volunteers they’re connected to. The text and tags are also searchable on the main volunteer archive page.

In fact, we currently have the biographies of 65 volunteers, half of which we only just added, and we upload more every year. We partnered with the Tamiment Archives to give the students first-hand research experience, and much of the data is only now being collated to preserve the volunteer’s stories. Naturally, properly credited all materials on the site are free to cite.

The other large data collection our site contains is an interface for navigating the SovDoc archives in English. They are similarly tagged, and their documents are also divided into 6 directories containing thousands of subdirectories filled with high-resolution scanned documents from the archives of the COMINTERN. Like our own volunteer archives, these are fully searchable. The website also contains a contact form if you want to get in touch for any reason, we’d be glad to hear from you!

All of the website and materials used to make it are open source, and I want the largest takeaway to be truly how much people organized for a common good can achieve, and how research and software can come together to tell the stories forgotten by history, and how a small idea and some dedication can grow into something much larger than yourself.

Finally, this project has been incredibly fulfilling to work on and continues to be. The site and project continue to be entirely nonprofit, and I’ll continue working on it for the foreseeable future, but recently I created a donation platform to make devoting the time to this easier, the development is intensive and any help would be appreciated!