Exploring the document types found in student files

Date of Post: 
May 4, 2016

This is the third in a series of posts about the ‘Explore Student Files’ section of the site. Today we are looking at the third tab in this section, ‘Document Types.’ The data in this tab provides a way to explore the prevalence of different types of documents in the student files scanned and made available for research through the site. This information can help in developing research topics, whether around a particular document type or the patterns that emerge between them. For instance, where is there a lot of rich documentation? What does this indicate? What can it tell us the history of what kinds of documents were kept or created?  Does this change over time? Does it vary by nation?

You can get a general overview of how often each document type appears in the student files currently digitized through the main “Document Types” tab. This page lists each of the possible document types with a count of how many student files contain the each type of document. You can choose to sort the data either alphabetically or by the number of files (A1). To view a list of the student files (with additional browse and filter options), click the number of files for the document type you would like to explore further (A2).

To explore in more detail, use the subpages on the tab (A3). The first subpage, “View Details for Nations and Tribes,” allows you to examine how the numbers of student files containing particular document types differ by the nation or tribe of the students.  As we have seen previously, the prevalence of different document types shifts over time. But does it also vary by the nation or tribe of the student? Do those document requiring student responses seem more prevalent among students from some nations and tribes than others? This subpage can help you begin to explore these questions. The subpage allows you to jump to a particular document type (B1), to narrow by nation or tribe name (B2), and to increase the number of results per page (B3).  Note that this last option can be very useful when examining long lists of results.

The second subpage, “View Details for Years of Entry,” allows you to compare the numbers of student files containing particular document types in relation to the year the students entered the school. This subpage can help reveal how the prevalence of particular document types changed over time. When were various document types introduced? When did they increase or diminish in use? On this subpage, you can both jump to a particular document type and increase the number of results per page to view results from all years on a single page.

We hope this helps you explore the patterns surrounding the types of documents digitized in student files in more depth. Please let us know if you have any questions! You can click on the "Feedback" tab to send questions or comments. Future posts will continue exploring the tabs of the ‘Explore Student Files’ section.