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A Walk Through the Boston Marathon Archive


13 Jan A Walk Through the Boston Marathon Archive

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Digital Storytelling Memorializes Those Lost

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The 2013 Boston Marathon will always be remembered for the tragic bombings that killed three people and injured more than a hundred. In the wake of the attack, most of the media coverage focused on the bombers and their terrorist connections; however, there was much more to this event and its aftermath. Northeastern University’s Our Marathon project aims to share the stories of survivors and victims through its collection of experiences related to the tragedy. From Bostonians to Marathon participants, Our Marathon attempts to capture reactions related to the bombings, the aftermath, and the subsequent healing process.

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According to a statement on the Our Marathon About page, the project seeks to use the archive as a way to allow a broader range of important stories about the events to be told and shared.

“The bombing changed lives in ways small and large and in ways that were immediate and enduring. This [Our Marathon project] is a place for those images, emotions, and experiences to be shared and for us to understand the event in its broad, community-wide dimensions.”

Starting the Project

The idea for the project came after Northeastern English professor Elizabeth Maddock Dillon spoke with her students about their Marathon experiences. Dillon, who is also co-director of the digital humanities focused NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, realized the importance of these accounts and decided to pull the stories together and publish them to one place.

“Digital humanities is a very publicly engaged field. Digital projects are highly visible and interactive, and the Our Marathon project will allow the NULab to build on the strengths it’s cultivating here by creating a public project that benefits the community,” states Ryan Cordell, an assistant professor of English at Northeastern.

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Adding Your Story

The project allows people to share experiences in a variety of formats—including stories, images, social media, emails, videos, text messages, audio recordings, and websites—in its crowd-sourced digital archive. Since May 2013, the Our Marathon project has collected thousands of memories.

The home page contains a slideshow of images from the archive, including “Boston Strong” posters, and links to submit a story are on tabs located at the top and middle of the page. From these links users can contribute their pieces to the archive. In the “explore” section of the site, users can browse the site based on different topics like Boston Strong, messages of support, social media, and firsthand accounts. Submissions must be original and made by those who are 13 and over. Each story contains citations.

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Hillary Corbett describes how the Boston Marathon affected her sleep using the Sleep Cycle app.

Elena Agapie compiled several memes including this one of arms with “BOSTON” written on them.

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For more information about the One Marathon project, visit or follow One Marathon on TwitterFacebook, and Tumblr.

Kathleen Hansen

Kathleen Hansen is a writer for Appoet. She graduated from Beloit College in 2013 with a Dance major. Kathleen's a fan of the oxford comma, white chocolate, and the color blue.