Remixing Rural Texas=Remix (YouTube) + Data Source Annotation (Mozilla Popcorn)

Our Digital Humanities project consists of two elements: (1) a remix, delivered via YouTube and consisting of archival materials (university archives,  Library of Congress, public domain films, oral history interviews, news reports) and other artifacts produced for other purposes and (2) a prototype utilizing Mozilla Popcorn to provide direct links and other relevant information concerning the original context of all source materials, as well as relevant temporal and geographical details linked to timing in the playback.

I described our latest remix in the previous post.  Here, I focus on the second element, the prototype itself. The first 121 seconds of annotations have been loaded into the prototype and are available to share at Remixing Rural Texas. Some corrections need to take place, most notably: (a) video appearing in prototype is not the final version of our remix and (b) the timing of annotations is way off after first 60 seconds. Both of these concerns seem minor and quickly corrected. Instead of focusing on what you won’t see in the current version of prototype, I want to note the items you WILL (now and soon) and what we think makes this demo significant. 

View prototype depicted here and described below at Remixing Rural Texas.


The project consists of two components: a short documentary, remixed almost entirely from existing archival materials, and a prototype (using a variation on the data-source annotation tool powered by Mozilla Popcorn) designed to foreground the original context of all audio, video, and image-based materials included in the remix, as well as permissions for all artefacts, relevant geographical and temporal context contexts, and additional contextual elements. I will take each element in turn.

REMIX (delivered through YouTube)

Described above, the remix itself offers the initial layers of this local story about communication across difference in 1968—first through sprinters what has been dubbed the “Sports Moment that Changed the World” (see Carlos and Zirin’s The John Carlos Story, 2011):  John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s silent protest at the Mexico City Olympics that followed initial attempts to establish a global channel for this communication about equality and social justice (through the Olympic Project for Human Rights or “OPHR”). We then turn to the time one of those two sprinters spent at our rural university just two years earlier, as part of the ETSU track team from 1966-1967. In this local context, Carlos experienced de jure racism for the first time in his life (Carlos was raised in Harlem). He was here when he first first learned of OPHR, from a Track and Field article in 1967 that generated OPHR’s first most significant and visible and press coverage. While in this local context, Carlos began speaking to local reporters about racism he was witnessing across the region, a fact understandably met with widespread local resistance and eventually leading to Carlos leaving Commerce altogether. The final section turns to another local attempt to establish “a clear channel” for social justice, this one developed on the night of MLK’s assignation when students established a “clear channel” for communication across difference through the Afro American student Society of East Texas.

AUDIO, VIDEO, and IMAGE (text-based, including direct links)

The remix brings together a wide range of artifacts, the vast majority of which were created for other purposes. Our variation of the data-source annotation tool provided by Mozilla Popcorn enables us to make visible the original context for all artifacts included, a use inspired by Jonathan McIntosh’s HTML5 demo of his popular Right Wing Radio Duck(, which Carter saw one month before her NEH ODH grant application materials were due (in February 2011) and quickly adapted for the humanities content and scholarly purposes she wished to design (grant awarded Summer 2011 for project to be completed December 2012).

The contexts for which almost all of the artefacts selected were originally created and circulated significantly informs the arguments, narratives, and counternarratives largely contained in the remix itself. Our goal is to provide all the information viewers need to explore the original context from which we drew the remix’s audio, video, and images. Where possible, then, we draw from permanent collections maintained by professional archivists—university archives, the Library of Congress, and similar repositories providing free, public access. We also draw extensively from respected, growing repositories of digital content like (especially the Prelinger Archives). The remix has also yielded a wide array of artifacts previously unavailable to the general public, including items from the personal archives of local activists and oral history interviews we Carter and other members of the research team have conducted in the course of our research. The vast majority of these items are now available in the Special Collections at Texas A&M-Commerce, thanks to the generous donations of their original owners.  Where possible, we link directly to the source materials. Many artefacts utilized are publically available but not digitized, thus we provide the complete information necessary to locate the items. Each artefact communicates vital information to researchers, yet knowing where to find the item serves another purpose as well: to encourage others to remix the content themselves.

PERMISSIONS (text-based, including direct links)

We take as a given the important role played by doctrine of Fair Use, especially as copyright law (can) encourage creativity and especially as this particular treatment and the application of popcorn to it further establishes it as appropriately “Fair

Use” in compliance with all four factors of section 107 of the Copyright Law.  Where possible, we draw from materials in the Public Doman or holding Creative Commons licensing options that allow the uses we require. Where possible, materials we have created for this remix hold the CC licensing option Attribution-ShareAlike and are placed in the Northeast Texas Digital Collections in the James G. Gee Library at Texas A&M-Commerce. An extended discussion of “Permissions” and links to relevant source materials will be available at on or before August 10, 2012.

MAP (interactive, Google Maps)

The map communicates vital geographical information via an interactive Google Maps option, one we borrowed directly from the elements Mozilla Labs have made available to Mozilla Popcorn users. For our purposes, the map enables viewers to better understand the current, often locally-driven stories as they relate to other places.

TIMELINE (image-based, with embedded link)

Initially, we planned to develop an interactive timeline for the same reasons we incorporated the interactive Google Maps option.  Many open-source options for dynamic timelines are available, of course. We have not yet been able to incorporate the timeline into our prototype, however. Instead, we will create the timelines as static images with an embedded link that leads to an interactive timeline hosted elsewhere. We will complete this element by November 2012.

FOOTNOTES (text-based, including direct links)

Much of the narrative includes direct quotes from a range of scholarly sources, including much of Carter’s own more traditional, print-based scholarship. When direct quotes occur in the narration, the footnote provides the exact reference including the page number. Also included in the “footnote” are the sources and page numbers for direct quotes appearing on the screen. For us, the “footnote” here functions in many of the same ways the “in-text citation” functions in Modern Language Association documentation format.

CONTEXT (text-based, including direct links)

In many ways the “context” elements function much as would the scholarly “notes” or “endnotes” in traditional, print-based scholarship. We like to think of this element as contributing most directly to the prototype as a “scholarly edition” of the remix itself, providing relevant scholarly, historical, and theoretical information viewers might find especially useful in teasing apart the various storylines embedded in the current remix and inviting deep participation of readers as they construct counternarratives and/or extend existing ones.

AUDIENCE (intended and strategy for engagement)

The target audience is scholars and students in rhetoric, composition, and communication studies, academic/public historians, academic/public librarians, especially those interested in activist rhetoric, the long civil rights movement and, especially, the black freedom struggle.

Our plan to engage audiences across the specified media platforms:

The project addresses issues of key concern (communication across difference) by drawing from material likely to be familiar to many, reframing the key issues by juxtaposing the familiar with the unfamiliar and, in doing so, hopefully making both the familiar strange and the strange familiar. Our desire is to inspire and facilitate new research on communication across difference among speakers and writers underrepresented in our scholarship, classrooms, public programing, creative works, and collective memories. By calling attention to one local context we hope to inspire others to do the same, perhaps further extrapolating these or related issues in Commerce, Texas, or (we hope) attending to similar issues in the viewer’s own local contexts. Perhaps new remixes and data-source annotations might even remix other local contexts with the narratives emerging in this particular university town.

Such issues of audience engagement are of key concern to us in the next phases of this project. The current phase (Start Up) is primarily expository rather than participatory. We are fundamentally concerned with the potential for this prototype to encourage and enable participation among a variety of community, educators, and researchers as partners. Thus our next phase will foreground these efforts.


In addition to direct reference, use, and extended analysis in two key national publications appearing in September 2012 (bibliography below), we are already scheduled to present this project at a variety of area and national events. Below please find scholarly publications and presentations already scheduled for the upcoming year.


Carter, Shannon and James H. Conrad. “In Possession of Community: Towards a More Sustainable Local.” CCC (September 2012).

Carter, Shannon. “A Clear Channel: Circulating Resistance in a Rural University Town.” CLJ (September 2012).

Carter, Shannon and Kelly Dent. “Racing the Digital Humanities: Rhetorical Historiography and Community Engagement.” College English (invited). September 2013.

Carter, Shannon. Keynote. Florida Writing Symposium. University of Central Florida. Orlando, FL. September 21, 2012.

Carter, Shannon, with Steve Parks (Syracuse University) and Deborah Mutnick (Long Island University-Brooklyn). Imagining America. New York. October 5, 2012.

Carter, Shannon, with Kelly Dent, and Sunchai Hamcumpai. Thomas R. Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition. Louisville, KY. October 21, 2012.

Carter, Shannon, with John Carlos (featured speaker). Conference on College Composition and Communication. Las Vegas, NV. March 21, 2013.

Carter, Shannon, with John Carlos and Nancy Welch. CCCC (Writing Democracy). Las Vegas, NV. March 21, 2013.

Carter, Shannon, Kelly Dent, Belford Page, Jennifer Jones. CCCC (panel). Las Vegas, NV. March 21, 2013.


Our project has been funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities (Start Up Grant HD-51398-11) and direct and in-kind support of Texas A&M-Commerce’s Office of the Provost, College of Arts and Humanities, Special Collections (Gee Library), and Faculty Center for Teaching with Technology.

For future project phases building from this prototype, we will be applying for an ACLS Digital Innovations Award (due September 26, 2012) and an NEH Digital Implementation grant (due January 2013), as well as a Media Grant from Humanities Texas (in November 2012).


Other than the Timeline, all project elements for Remixing Rural Texas will be complete and finalized by no later than midnight CST on August 10, 2012. Timeline complete by November 1, 2012.

As of July 27th, 2012

Remix complete. Prototype complete. First 121 seconds of data-source annotations loaded into prototype (for Audio, Video, Image, Map, Context, Footnote, and Permissions). Between date of submission and August 10, 2012, we will be finalizing details and complete input of data-source annotations.

Above elements from the application I just submitted for the The Pixel Market 2012 contest. Application materials found at reda-THE-PIXEL-MARKET-2012_Shannon-Carter