Archive for May, 2010

WDP 6 (2010) Concludes

This year’s version of the Williamsburg Documentary Project officially ended about ten days ago. WDP 6’s fourteen students did some excellent work, gathered a lot of terrific materials, and produced several outstanding analyses of Williamsburg and its social and cultural history (and left a number of foundational provocations for future research).

We are constantly adding materials to the WDP archives–oral histories, documents, reports–and much of it can be found by following the “online archives” tab (or by going straight to William & Mary’s Swem Library dSpace).

Our blog will now get much quieter–but look for it to come back to life in January 2011, when WDP 7 will come into being.

Work Journals 6

TUESDAY, April 20: Today I found an interesting enthnographic study: . In tandem with the essay about the Postcard 2 alternative country listserv phenomenon that I found in Music Scenes: Local, Translocal, and Virtual, I could be melding a pretty helpful companion narrative for my Williamsburg case study.

WEDNESDAY, April 21: Interviewed Danny Michel today; Paula indexed. Extremely insightful interview. I learned more than I expected about WCWM. I am looking forward to possibly comparing his perspective on the station with that of another potential interviewee. Took out some extremely helpful resources from Swem. There are seven books altogether that really shed some light on the general trends and social paradigms that organize and characterize music cultures, subcultures, and “scenes.” A few of them (namely Understanding Popular Music Culture by Roy Shuker–2008) even analyze the Internet and its unique role as mediator of music scenes.

THURSDAY, April 22: Spoke briefly with the other music people about our respective projects. It seems everyone is starting to make some interesting discoveries. I’ve been in an e-mail correspondence with Bobby Moeller (from our class). He has been extremely helpful in giving me some excellent contact information–people currently or recently involved in the Meridian Coffeehouse, Plan 9, WCWM, digital music in general, online music marketing, etc. Great stuff.

FRIDAY, April 23: I had free time, so I gave the books that I took out from Swem on Monday a closer read. The Shuker book is going to be an invaluable resource for me. I’ve done some research from the bibliographies supplied in all of the literature I’ve been stumbling upon, and it is certainly becoming clear that Roy Shuker is an authority on the evolution of popular music scenes.

SATURDAY, April 24: Playing some internet tag with my last potential interviewee, Dan Siepman. He seems to be very accomodating, so I just need to confirm a time that works for both of us. Played around with some statistics from the RIAA web site today. The numbers really drive home the perception that physical record sales are being replaced by the exponentially rising tide of digital and mobile record sales. Also: the tendency to download just a single rather than the entire album is becoming increasingly frequent.

SUNDAY, April 25: Paula, a colleague form WDP, needs indexing assistance tomorrow, for an interview with Professor Jack Edwards, so I offered to help out. Today, I started drafting up an outline for my paper, including a working bibliography and how I can implement some of the interviews I’ve been conducting/helping to conduct.

MONDAY, April 26: Finalized interview with Dan Siepman through e-mail correspondence. We’ll be meeting tomorrow afternoon. Spoke briefly with Andy and Grace; I think Grace will be able to index and ask some questions of her own. Dan sounds like a really nice guy, and I am very excited to meet with him and hear what he has to say about his experiences in Williamsburg and specifically, his engagement with the musical crowd. Today, I prepared questions for the interview. Paula ended up having sufficient indexing help so it turned out I wasn’t needed after all–no worries!


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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