SUNY Geneseo COPLAC Project Contract

Lauren Sternberg and Jacob Rogers

Spring 2019

Mission Statement

The purpose of this website is to investigate the challenging of The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. The case we are highlighting took place at Halton Catholic School District in Halton, Ontario in 2007. Our goal is to educate the Southern Ontario and Western New York regions, on the origins of this complaint, as well as situating the incident regarding The Golden Compass within the larger contexts of the long history of censorship. Additionally, we will be comparing and contrasting our case with other cases surrounding this particular book and series, as well as facilitating an understanding of the themes that are viewed as problematic within the hybrid public and public-Catholic Canadian Educational System. Our objective for the majority of the site is to treat both sides of this case with respect, even when that may have to come alongside some degree of necessary criticism. It is important to be respectful and distant, although abstaining from criticism would lead to a poor and inaccurate history. The case may be used to better understand the values of those who saw The Golden Compass and the entire His Dark Materials series as a threat to their religious beliefs, as well as those who were more sympathetic to allowing the book to stay.  It is valuable to use the vantage point of the present to look back on this case, both in noting its context and being able to evaluate the accuracy of both sides’ fears. There will be one section of the site dedicated to analysis of the case with full view of our own biases, presenting our personal viewpoints and primary sources that support our reasoning. A conclusion will be reached as to whether or not we believe the school should prohibit this text in our opinions as observers.

Digital Tools

  1. Website Publishing – WordPress will be used to publish our website. The website theme we have selected is called landscape. Pages developed thus far include who, what, when, where, why, and about us. There will be subcategories underneath these header titles.
  2. Google docs – Google docs will be used to organize and share data between partners. All rough drafts, interview materials, and other primary sources will be easily accessible in a folder designated for the course.
  3. Obtaining Images – Google searches for rights-free images, as well as Wikimedia Commons, both seem like probable locations from which we will obtain the images that make our website appealing. Although, of course, taking our own photographs is a possibility, as well.
  4. Audacity – Audacity is the audio editing software we will use for fine tuning our interviews.
  5. YouTube – Youtube is the ideal location to store any video we may come across or any video content we record ourselves.
  6. iMovie – iMovie will be used as a way to edit videos, specifically to extract certain clips from media.
  7. StoryMapJS (or Google Map) – We will make use of StoryMapJS in order to provide the locations and brief summaries of the various other challenges to The Golden Compass which were outside the purview of the specific case we are focusing on.
  8. Timeline JS – We will be using Timeline JS to show the manner in which events unfolded in our case.
  9. Coggle – Coggle will be used to help organize the manner in which we will have our website laid out, as well as the way in which events unfolded in our case.


Website Organization/Milestones

This page will serve as a general guide as to the breakdown of what our website will include. The pages Lauren is responsible for are highlighted in red, while Jacob’s pages are in blue. Dates at which each page or website element is due are indicated with green highlighting.



  1. Who
    1. The School Board – names and information about each board member present during the book review, their quotes about the case, and what side they were on

Due Date: Wednesday, March 13

    1. The Complainant – hopefully, we will be able to find out their name and reason for challenging, but my contact at Halton is looking for it

Due Date: TBD

    1. Philip Pullman – a short biography of Pullman

Due Date: Monday, March 18

    1. Expert Opinions – the location on the website for the interviews. If video or audio recordings are available, they will be edited and imbedded. The answers to interview questions will also be commented on, as they relate to the case

Due Date: TBD, but before Monday, March 25

  1. What
    1. Censorship overview – general description of what censorship is, with references to some of the articles we have discussed in class

Due Date: Wednesday, March 20

    1. The Golden Compass – summary of the book and the movie

Due Date: Wednesday, March 20

  1. When
    1. Timeline – a timeline of the challenging of The Golden Compass, including the subsequent challenges in other locations

Due Date: Monday, March 18

  1. Where
    1. The Halton Community – a history of the community and a map of Halton, including all of the schools in the district
    2. Additional Challenges – map and reasons for subsequent challenges of the book

Due Date: Wednesday, March 20 for the maps for both pages

Due Date: Monday, March 25 for the completion of the pages including written text and analysis

  1. Why
    1. Religion – the primary reason for the challenge, and an explanation why this is the case

Due Date: Monday, March 18

    1. Primary Sources – there are a lot of primary sources on this case. Each will be briefly summarised, and a link will be provided to access the source itself

Due Date: Wednesday, March 13

  1. Conclusions
    1. Lauren’s analysis – page where each author will share their personal opinion of the case, using data from primary sources to support their conclusion

Due Date: Friday, April 5

    1. Jacob’s analysis

Due Date: Friday, April 5

  1. About us
    1. COPLAC – a description of the course
    2. About the authors
      1. An autobiography of Lauren
      2. An autobiography of Jacob

Due Date: Wednesday, March 13


Additional Milestones

Monday, March 11: Draft of interview questions

Monday, March 18: Solidified appointments with interviewees

Monday, March 25: Complete, edit, and integrate interviews into the website

Monday, April 9: Rough draft of site complete

Tuesday, April 30: Completed website

Division of Labor

Lauren is responsible for the following sections of the website:

  1. Biography
  2. Summary of the text
  3. Timeline of events (including subsequent challenges) created with TimelineJS
  4. Integration, summary, and analysis of primary source literature (documents, articles, and photographs) into the website
  5. Mini-biographies of the people involved
  6. Choosing of the website theme
  7. Interviews – setting up interviews, integration of interview material into site, editing interviews, and analysis of interviewee responses
  8. Citations for their half of the website
  9. Revising their section of the website after reviewing rough draft feedback
  10. Proofreading their partner’s work


Jacob is responsible for the following sections of the website:

  1. Biography
  2. History of Halton/Southern Ontario (emphasis on the religious component)
  3. A brief synopsis of the Canadian education system (emphasis on public catholic schools)
  4. Map of events (including subsequent challenges) created with StorymapJS
  5. Plotting out and creating the methods of navigation
  6. Covering the viewpoints of different organizations on the book and its challenge(s)
  7. Citations for their half of the website
  8. Revising their section of the website after reviewing rough draft feedback
  9. Proofreading their partner’s work