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Researcher: Andrea Smith, Anthropology and Sociology
DSS Partners: John Clark, James Griffin, Paul Miller
Status: Initial research and prototype complete

Project Description: Anthropology and Sociology Professor Andrea Smith’s oral history project examines the demolition of Easton’s “Syrian Town,” a once a thriving multi-ethnic community destroyed when over 800 homes were torn down under the auspices of urban renewal in the 1960s. The application developed by DSS uses a base map made from Easton Area Public Library insurance maps dated 1919, when the Lebanese neighborhood still existed.

The stories and photographs Smith and her students have collected and digitized with the help of DSS’ Digital Production Manager Paul Miller, are being geo-referenced on the map. Collecting these materials from the community acts as preservation not just of the photos, but also of the memory of this space. The custom built tools created by DSS, together with the team’s expertise in imaging and mapping technologies, give Professor Smith’s work a broader voice and the ability to share this story with a much larger audience.

After the completion of the mapped environment, the next phase of the project will include a crowdsourcing component that will allow community members to add their own materials directly to the map.