This project was developed as a partnership between the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries and the Cornhusker Marching Band with the support of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. This website was created not as an all encompassing or ongoing history of the band, but as a snapshot in time of band materials in the Archives & Special Collections.
For technical or other issues, please contact the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities. Email email@example.com or call (402) 472-4547.
This website would not have been possible without the support of Katherine Walter, Professor and Chair, Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, who invested funding, resources, and staff time into the project; Rose Johnson of the UNL Band who shared a wealth of photos, time, and memories; Blake Graham, UNL Digital Archivist, who prepared the Johnson interview video for the web; Josh Caster, UNL Archives, who knows where everything is and when everything was; Greg Tunink of the CDRH, for setting up the domain and being a sounding board for programming ideas; Dr. Carolyn Barber, UNL Director of Bands, for sharing her experience with the Bands and for providing her advice; and Gary Steffens for contributing an article. Many thanks to Matthew Dussault, Zach Jewell, Ed Love, and Andy Pederson, who tested out the site before its launch, and to proofreaders Chad Koch, Serene Leow, and Laura Weakly. Thanks to Jeremy Spale for sharing a photo from his personal collection. And of course, to Sara Bailey Roberts, previously of the CDRH, for starting this project with me several years before it became reality.
Archives & Special Collections is a treasure trove for those who have the time to look through its contents. This site samples only a small number of its resources. There are likely far more band related documents in collections that might not immediately spring to mind, such as the correspondence of past chancellors, Board of Regents minutes, and completely unrelated collections which may have a document mentioning the band or an important event in passing. Archives collections which were used in the creation of this site include:
Additionally, a number of digital resources maintained by the University of Nebraska Libraries were crucial for the research of timeline events and stories. These resources are open to the public and you are encouraged to explore them if you have the opportunity.
This website was preceded by a student project by Jessica Dussault in 2009, "The Pride of All Nebraska: A Band's Growth from the Military Tradition," which, though aging, is still available online through the Nebraska U portal: http://unlhistory.unl.edu/exhibits/show/nebraskaband.
This website is built in Ruby on Rails on the Orchid framework developed by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (CDRH). The search and item view is largely powered by Elasticsearch using the CDRH Apium project.
Items are stored as a combination of spreadsheets (for materials such as footage and images) or TEI-XML files (newspaper articles, letters, other documents). These are then transformed using the CDRH project Datura into Elasticsearch JSON or display HTML.
The first release of the project was built with Middleman, a Ruby static site generator. This was done intentionally to create a static HTML site with minimal resources and maintenance requirements. The site was migrated to Ruby on Rails during 2020 when work on the project began on text based resources.
This website was originally envisioned in order to make more widely available footage which was part of the marching band collection in Archives & Special Collections, gathered and donated by Don Lentz and Gary Steffens. A digitization effort was undertaken in 2016 and 2017 to secure funding to digitize and preserve the reels of footage for future generations.
Many thanks to all those who worked on that digitization effort. Jessica Dussault and Sara Bailey Roberts, who were the co-principal investigators of the project; Katherine Walter, Professor and Chair, Digital Initiatives and Special Collections, for funding the digitization of three reels as a trial run to test their quality; Gary Steffens, band alum and previous steward of the reels in the band collection, who financially sponsored their digitization; the Nebraska Band Alumni Association, who gave their support and foundation ties to the project; Dr. Carolyn Barber, Tony Falcone, and the other School of Music staff who enthusiastically supported the project, filled out financial paperwork, and made connections to interested parties; Blake Graham, UNL Digital Archivist, who brought his digitization expertise to bear, coordinated with Archives Filmworks, and described and uploaded the footage to the library media collections; Bill Reece, University of Nebraska Foundation, who served as a liaison between multiple interested parties; Josh Caster, for his archival experience in locating and storing the reels during the process; History Nebraska, who learned of the project and transferred relevant film in their archive to Archives & Special Collections for inclusion with the band footage; and Paul Eisloeffel with Archives Filmworks, who digitized the footage, repaired the reels, and repackaged them for long-lasting preservation.