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Welcome to the Blackout History Project


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You are about to enter a nonprofit experiment in historical research. This site uses the web as a research tool to reconstruct two memorable power failures that struck New York City and its surroundings. The first event, the Great Northeast Blackout of 1965, was part of a massive cascading system failure that, in the span of fifteen minutes, left 30 million people in the dark. The second was the New York Blackout of 1977, which affected a much smaller service area--the metropolitan region--but resulted in severe looting and disruption.

Visitors are enlisted to help build the site by adding their memories, expertise, and informed opinions to the forum. Whether you're a New Yorker who "survived" the blackouts, a member of the electric utility community who remembers those pivotal times, a scholar of technology and history, or just someone interested in how to use the web environment to build communities, the Blackout History Project can benefit from your contributions.

Original historical materials from the period have been digitized and placed in an on-line archive so that visitors may explore the history of the blackouts in depth, according to their own interests. As this archive and the visitor forum grow in size, essays making use of their historical source materials will appear in the perspectives section. The methods section will feature specialized discussions of the historical techniques and web authoring tools used to conduct this project.

If at any time you find yourself disoriented, confused, or in need of more detailed instructions on how to make your way through the Blackout History Project web site, click on the help section located at the bottom of the sidebar. Then let us know how we can improve the site by sending us email (click the envelope at the bottom of every page), or by sending mail the old-fashioned way.


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jts{27 June 2000}