Presentation Week Instructions

Here it comes! The first (well, for some of you) big presentation.

Here is the schedule:

Tuesday, April 29:

Colin Nimer, Southern Utah University
Ryan Sucy, University of Maine Farmington
Dara Fillmore, University of Wisconsin-Superior

Thursday, May 1:
Christopher Hightower, Montevallo University
James Horn, Shepherd University
Christos Stravoravdis, Eastern Connecticut State University
Alisia True, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Jennifer Marks, Truman State University
UMW Team, University of Mary Washington
and the Century America home website

You will have 9-10 minutes to do the following:

1)      Introduce yourself and your school
2)      Introduce your site (an overview of key sections, with attention to 1-2 parts/sections/features that you are particularly proud of)
3)      Brief discussion of 1-3 particular challenges or great discoveries related to the research for your campus/town.  [Let's leave the technology discussions for the COPLAC/CUR presentations.]
4)      Overarching summary narrative of your school and your town’s experiences during the 1914-1919 era.

Remember that Dr. McClurken or Dr. Pearson will need to share the content and navigate your site for you. Therefore, please send us the order in which you would like to navigate your site 24 hours in advance of your presentation. 

We will be testing the audio/video for the Voices sections, during today’s class. If the test works, then you will be able to share audio clips in your presentation if you wish.

We will go over these instructions in class today, and of course if you have questions please bring them up.

 

The Final Step

Century America was more than a semester of college work for me. It was a trial run for my future career. As a Public Historian, I am sure I will be working to connect the digital age with the past in many ways. As many people turn to the internet and digital applications that allow them to learn about history in a way they are accustomed to, historians must embrace that fact and do what they can to keep our important history available to current consumers. This means advertising, marketing, and creating digital exhibits that allow people to engage with history as history becomes a more public realm than a place for intellectuals to make and test hypotheses.

This semester was a tough one for me – this Century America website was a part- to full-time job without pay, and fitting in five other classes (including a senior thesis) and four jobs took a toll on my sanity. I’ve never missed so many deadlines (like posting this essay) or stayed up so late to get everything in before the magical midnight hour. I never considered creating a website before I got the information about this class, and never thought I would even understand the process. But here I am at the end of this project, and as I look back, I can see how far I’ve come. I keep having to tell myself, “I just created a digital history website. I did it. Not by myself, but I did it!” It still hasn’t sunk in.

As I look through Near the Great Lakes During the Great War, I feel like it is mostly how I pictured it would be: a place where people can look at the history and read for themselves what local residents read during the Great War. They can see items that would have been used during the era, hear poems written for the war, and see photographs taken a century ago. In my contract for creating my website, I had many things I hoped to accomplish. A few of them did not pan out. Technology not being my specialty, I am actually amazed by what did get accomplished. I had hoped to create a process video with a slideshow of images taken through the project, but after getting help with some issues, I found out I would not be able to make the video using the Vlog software I hoped to work with. Although I am bummed that it didn’t pan out, I feel that I can still explain a little of the process and help viewers gain insight into this course concept by adding some information, and possibly images, to the process page. I had hoped to list the servicemen from Superior who fought in the Great War, but the information I could find gave conflicting details and never a full listing with good information. Fortunately, there was a lot of material about local servicemen in the local newspapers.

I wasn’t sure about creating a timeline, because it would have been very short, and very boring, especially when compared to timelines on some of the other websites. I do like the speech plug-in I found that allows viewers to highlight text and have it read to them.

Overall, I feel like I accomplished a great deal of work it far too short a timeframe. Dealing with challenges about permissions and fees took most of my time, as did simply trying to find out more information on the topics I was interested in displaying on my site. Searching through newspapers on microfiche took several days of my time, and gave me headaches, but the newspapers, in my opinion, truly give a window into what people of the area were thinking about and doing toward the war effort. I still have a few more images to add, but am still working on getting the permissions dealt with since there has not been the communication channel I would hope for in that area this semester.

I do think I might work on my website a little more in the future. I know I did not have the time I could have used to gather more local information the Great War for my website. A year would have been nice. Or longer. But, for how little time I had to actually work on my website, I feel like it’s complete, although in the digital age, you can add to things that are “finished.”

So, I must say, this experience helped me grow as a public historian, as an author, as a web editor and as an individual.

This class was crazy,
made me angry,
wore me out,
strained my people skills,
over-estimated my abilities,
and was one of the greatest college courses I have ever taken –
because it made me think,
try new things,
do what I had never done before;
and it helped me realize I am on the right path
as I head toward my dreams.
The end.

 

The End and A Reflection

This project was, in its entirety, something completely new and foreign to me. Having no experience in archival research, building websites, or with distance learning taking on this project proved to be a very daunting task. However it also a presented an opportunity to gain new experiences and learn new things, something that is still highly important to me. Overall it was an incredibly positive experience despite the fact that there were quite a few bumps in the road and my end result was very different from how I originally envisioned it. But that was all part of the learning process.

One of the biggest obstacles from the onset for me was the distance learning aspect of the course. I am a very shy and independent person by nature and face-to-face classes are helpful in bringing me out of my shell. With the new environment of an online distance learning course I found that I struggled to participate in the same way I would in a face-to-face class. However, I hope that if I have the opportunity to do a similar project in the future that I will have become comfortable enough from my experiences with this class to come out of my shell a bit more.

The best experience I had on this project was discovering how comfortable I was doing archival research even though I had never attempted anything like it before. Ultimately, this made it infinitely more disappointing when I discovered the distinct lack of materials pertaining to this time period that were available to me. As I mentioned during my presentation, I would like to continue my research on this subject because I truly believe that I just barely scratched the surface. With this experience under my belt and more time I think there is much more I can bring to the table if I can just dig for it. I am looking forward to the prospect.

The end result of my website was, at first, disappointing to me. It is only a fraction of what I envisioned. However, I have since realized that what I had originally envisioned was not in line with my skills or resources and what actually came out was really a pretty decent first attempt that I am proud of. It was very difficult for me to reconcile the scarcity of the material and I think that’s why it took so long for me to realize that my website would need much more narrative than I had originally planned. I kept thinking that I would happen upon a treasure trove of material that simply doesn’t exist. But by the end, given what I was able to find, I am proud of the product. The only disappointments I have are not having a timeline, not having recordings (and more material) for the Voices of the Great War section, and not having a section for the community members who fought in the war. I had a timeline completed and uploaded to my site for about an hour before I took it down. It simply did not fit in with the website the way I thought it would and compared to everything else on the site it appeared a little lame. So I took it down. As for the Voices of the Great War section, I had people who said they were willing to record for me but the plans fell through. I really wanted a variety of voices rather than just my own. I did not include a section for the war veterans simply because I could not find the information required to compile a complete list and I didn’t want to appear disrespectful by leaving anyone out. But these kinds of disappointments are par for the course with a project like this and I have learned a great deal from both my successes and my mistakes.

Even with all of the mistakes, obstacles, and dashed hopes this project was a phenomenal experience. I am proud to have been a part of it and I am proud of the work of my fellow students.

The Last Word

Part 1: How I Feel About No Man’s Land

My feelings for No Man’s Land are complex.  On one hand, I am so insanely proud of what I have created from a blank theme on WordPress.  When I started this project, it was nothing, just a blank slate; now, No Man’s Land is visually lovely and full of useful information.  On the other hand, I know how much more I want to do with this project.  If it was possible, I would continue into well into next semester.  I would find places to put my favorite stories from the newspapers and track down more images.  I don’t like doing things halfway, so having a project which feels unfinished (even through I have accomplished so much in just a semester) hurts my historian soul.

I love that my site reads like a collection of stories. (I think my English major is showing.)  This is the kind of site I would want to read.  While I did not necessary create the largest narrative from a collaboration of sources all combined into large swaths of text, I did collect stories that present tremendous narratives on their own. I could have written a long section in the letter collection section about the insights on military life these letters have, but I would rather let them stand on their own.  Reading a digital copy of a letter takes some of the tangible fun out of history, so I did not want to further damage these letters by summarizing them.  There is something to be said for the joy found in finding a nugget of wonderful information hidden in the letters.  While I simplified the reading experience by transcribing, I was not going to take away the hunting and sifting experience.

My project changed a lot from the contract I signed, but I think most of the changes were for the better.  I believe I met the overall goal of the site: to create a page that reconnects readers with the individual experiences of the Great War in Kirksville.  The letter collection especially has a strong voice on my page, as well as the Earl L. Stahl Collection.  Most of the contract deviations came from time constraints.  Those amazing letters just took so much time to scan, upload, and transcribe. I found students interested in reading them for audio recordings, but I just ended up running out of time with transcribing the letters.  In hindsight, I would have selected fewer letters; however, if you asked me now which ones I would cut, I would not have a good answer.  I love them all so much.  While I cut pages out of the final project: The Digital Library and the Memorial Wall, I included a section on War Stories from the Kirksville War record and greatly expanded the State Normal School areas.  My site map changed considerably as time went on.  Again, had I been able to start again, I would have definitely story-boarded my page rather than just putting everything on and then organizing and reorganizing over and over.

In addition to time, my digital design abilities also proved problematic for the No Man’s Land.  I have so many grand ideas that include a really neat map that traces the origin and receipt locations of the letter; I wanted to include a video that pans sections of letters as individuals read them.  I wanted a entire page on newspapers.  There are  so many ideas that I have that I would love to put on the site, I just do not have the skills nor time necessary to tackle them on my own.

Scheduling too was difficult with this project.  Between limited hours, helping my parents sell our house in Kansas City and then move to a new house, getting the world’s worst sinus infection, and my computer trying to off itself at least once, this project definitely would have benefited from unlimited time.  Exact deadlines may not have necessarily been met in the contract, but good material made its way on the my site nonetheless. Deadlines also changed as I realized just how monumental the effort of digitizing was. In my naive mind, I was just going to shoot a few letters through the scanner and upload them right quick.  Little did I know that it would be a 40+ hour endeavor.

The internet is hard.  Especially coming from a school like Truman.  My history professors never stress technology in history.  The closest we get is to using powerpoint presentations in class, and I have a professor who won’t even let us use those.  Wordpress was so infinitely more challenging than I ever expected it to be.  Especially when I changed my mind about something I had on each page.  I needed to eliminate a link on the sidebar of the Letter Collection, and spent over an hour going in to each page, editing it, opening the widget, deleting the section of code, saving the widget, and then updating the post.  There is certainly no DELETE THIS ____ ON EACH PAGE button in WordPress.  If I wanted to create a site of the caliber of UMW’s site, I think I would have had to describe in detail to a professional what I wanted and then paid them to construct it.  While this would have made my life 10,000 times easier, I would have lost much of what I gained from this project.

Part 2: How I Feel About The Project

This project has been so unlike anything else I have ever done that I struggle to verbalize how I feel about it.  But I shall try nonetheless.  As Dr. Pearson dismissed us from our final group meeting, I sad — a surprising feeling for this project which has been full of so much frustration and floundering.

I really loved the days I was able to be in class early and heard the discussions of my classmates about their lives and research interests.  I wish I could have been there earlier and interacted with my classmates more.  I also wish I would have reached out to Leah earlier.  She is such a cool person and gives the best pep-talks!  She also was amazing in helping me in the wee hours of the morning when I had a crisis. Like at 2 a.m. when I couldn’t figure out how to change the color of my links.  My connections with her and Dr. McClurken when he came to campus really defined my feelings of this class.  I am sure my perceptions would change even more if I was able to attend the conferences this summer. (But I will not be too sad as I ride fat little ponies through the hills of Scotland instead of nervous sweating in Washington D.C.!) I never expected to grow so attached to this class, especially since I figured out early on how old-fashioned my history tastes were.

As I said at the beginning of the class, I am not a typical-student of the “digital age”.  Yes, I use my computer to write papers and check my email, but most of my research has been done with books and tangible primary source materials.  Blogging and tweeting made me feel like an angst-ridden teen and seemed redundant when I would update everyone in class with my results and thoughts on the project.  (This is probably why I have less than an ideal number of blog posts and rarely commented on my peers pages — but I did read them, I swear!) Those really were the only two aspects of this project that I did not enjoy.  Keeping a blog myself was a pain, but I enjoyed reading the blogs of others.  My inner grumpy old man wants to shake his fist and groan, The internet has ruined face to face communication these days! You young whipper snappers spend so much time online, you can’t interact with real people. So I appreciated face to face in interactions on our online meetings more than the commenting and blog-keeping requirement of this class.

More than anything else, this project has taught me to always think of history in creative and innovative ways.  Century America was such an amazing opportunity to learn about a brand new field of history that most colleges have not even picked up yet. I feel vastly ahead of my Truman peers who have no concept of digital history.  I think Truman would benefit immensely from having a digital history class like this as a course option.  This class has also restored my hope in the future of online learning.  My online class in high school was horrendous; this project was so much more successful, it is hard to describe just how great it was.

Furthermore, this project has given me so many new research skills and web-building skills.  In the course of this project, I have learned about historic preservation, how long it takes to digitize historical documents, how long it takes to build a website, how to organize a website, how to creatively think about making a website informative and also appealing….and so much more.  Century America also reminded me why I love this time period so much. It is so full of information, that my project still feels so shallow after an entire semester of research! (And I think that is a great feeling to have as an undergraduate, knowing there is always more for you to accomplish in your remaining time at school!)

I have now rambled on for so long, Dr. Pearson and Dr. McClurken have most likely failed me simply for the length of this final paper.  So I will close for now.

Thank you all.

-Jennifer Marks

The Midnight Oil

Tonight is my last super-late-cramming session for the Century America project.  It feels really weird, because this time tomorrow, I will be more or less finished with this project.  And I am not sure I enjoy that feeling.  I really came to enjoy this course and especially the people in it.

Turns out I should have friended Leah Tams way sooner on Facebook.  She’s awesome and gives the best pep talks when I realize that my blogging frequency was pretty sad.  What can I say, computers are hard and blogging makes me feel like an angst-ridden tween.

I’m finalizing my presentation for tomorrow, and it feels like the end.  It also feels like I am really nervous for a Skype presentation.  I am half afraid one of my roommates is going to wander around behind me while I ramble on about World War I letters. But on a more positive side, I only have to dress formally from the waist up!  No one will know that I will be wearing sweat pants on my legs and professional attire up top!  Except now I have told everyone.  Drat.

For the first time, I feel compelled to fix a project after I’ve turned it in.  At night, I lay in bed remembering the little details I left out of my page and I am so tempted to just get up and fix them.  However, the bosses told me not to change anything, so I have resisted.

Here’s to gearing up for the presentations tomorrow!

Defense of Contract

This semester has gone by incredibly fast, but, as they say, time flies when you’re having fun. The Century America project was so much fun for me to be a part of, and I had the best group members that I could have asked for. Together Julia, Jack, Candice, and I created a digital history website that successfully fulfills our contract.

We stated that our mission was to “research and exhibit the narrative of the World War I homefront experience at the State Normal School and in the Fredericksburg area” and create an exhibition-like website to showcase this research. We spent many hours going through archival materials to learn about the homefront experience, and our 8 different pages on the site provide many diverse, intriguing narratives that showcase Fredericksburg’s and UMW’s history: Community and War Timeline, Knox Family, Urbane Bass, Josiah P. Rowe, Faculty and Staff, Academics, Student Life, and Influenza Epidemic.

The homepage for the UMW Century America site is not as visually complex as we had originally imagined (images, quotes, other media, map, interactive elements), but I believe that the landing page we currently have is an effective but simple introduction that captures the visitor’s attention without overwhelming him/her. As originally planned, we split the site’s narrative into 2 main sections: Fredericksburg (town/community) and Fredericksburg State Normal School. Though the site is split in such a way, many of the narratives demonstrate the intimate connection between the town and school experience.

The homepage for each subcategory has the image links to navigate to the 4 subsections, and we also decided to add some introductory text with basic information about Fredericksburg and FSNS, as well as a brief summary/preview of what visitors can find within the sections. For the Fredericksburg section we decided to do away with the Influenza page, due to a lack of resources, and instead create a “Community and War Timeline” page based on the extensive Virginia War History Commission materials and the William F. Liebenow diaries (mistakenly referred to in our contract as the Mary Eastburn diaries—there was some miscommunication with different CRHC staff as to the creator and name). This combination of materials and the lack of an Influenza page left us with one slot to fill, which we decided would be for Dr. Urbane Bass. Jack found much material at the CRHC and is fascinated with Dr. Bass’s story of service and sacrifice, so it was only natural to add it to the Fredericksburg section. It also gives a unique look into a small part of the African American experience in Fredericksburg during WWI. No changes were made to the categories for the FSNS section of the website. Some elements that were not mentioned in our contract, but not foreseen by us until actually creating the site, are side navigation links, “Voices of the Great War” stories, and the placement of citations (the bottom of each page).

We also have the “About” and “Resources” page, as listed in our contract, as well as a “Sponsors” page. The main menu is a consistent element on every page of our site. The Resources page includes our bibliography, and as stated in our contract, the page also lists the most important archival collections to our research with links to the collections’ home institutions/organizations.

For the main Century America site, we successfully created a website that introduces all of the Century America projects and captures visitors’ attention with an interesting headline. After many struggles with MapsAlive, we (mainly Candice and Julia) were finally able to create an interactive map embedded in the homepage that links to the other schools. We were also able to create an engaging interactive timeline for the main site. We added “About” and “Credits” pages to the main site in order to give viewers more information and direct them to places that might answer their questions (individual projects, official school websites, digital portfolios, etc.). This site fulfills its mission of introducing and explaining the Century America project and that schools involved in it.

We successfully met our milestones with only a few minor snags that were really out of our control—digitized materials from the CRHC were received a couple days past our deadline, and the Century America homepage/interactive map was not complete due to embedding issues and lack of response from our virtual classmates. Our division of labor was as listed in the contract, and we each made excellent contributions to the project. We also helped each other as much as possible. As far as advertising goes, we have been tweeting a lot about the project and a news story will be released very soon about our project. After final approvals and changes from Dr. McClurken and Dr. Pearson, we will blitz the internet with advertising for our awesome site.

It was such a great experience to work on the Century America project and be part of a groundbreaking digital history experiment. I really enjoyed talking with my virtual classmates from across the nation, and it has been so interesting to compare the experiences at each of our schools during WWI and see what different types of schools were going through and contributing to the war effort. I sincerely hope that we can keep adding to our project because I think it’s safe to say that this little niche in microhistory is one of my new interests! Dr. McClurken and Dr. Pearson, thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity. And many thanks to COPLAC and the Teagle Foundation for sponsoring this project!

Looking Back: Reflections on the Century America Project

The Century America project has been something of a whirlwind for me (in a good way!). Since beginning the project in January, I’ve learned a lot about Montevallo, the Great War, and myself as a researcher. At the beginning of the semester, I began this project by combing through the Annie Crawford Milner Archives and Special Collections here at the University of Montevallo, and it is from this archive that I have drawn the majority of my site’s materials and information. These archives hold a large body of documents from the Great War period, including yearbooks, catalogs, newspapers, presidential papers, and other institutional records. In fact, President Palmer’s papers from the period are so numerous that I was not able to view them all over the course of the semester. However, from the documents that I was able to read, I developed an understanding of the school as it existed in the early decades of the 20th century.

Translating the archival research into a finished, digital project was somewhat difficult for me, although I certainly appreciated and benefited from the opportunity to explore something I’d never done before. The technological aspect of the course was a learning curve for me, but I enjoyed learning about the emerging possibilities for historical research in a digital medium. I particularly enjoyed learning how to digitize items and arrange them in an exhibit format. Creating a piece of research that is more publicly-oriented was also somewhat challenging for me, and I’m still trying to decide whether I incorporated the appropriate amount of information into my website. I suppose my audience will be the judge of that!

I tried to adhere fairly closely to the contract that I provided earlier in the semester for my website. I changed my website’s theme a number of times, so the final appearance of the site is somewhat different than I had originally envisioned. However, for the most part, the content and tools that I used on my site are consistent with what I had planned out in my contract. My site’s landing page is an “About the Project” section, which I hope will provide potential readers with an understanding of the project’s aims. As a tab under this page, I provide a link to my Century America blog, so that readers can follow the research process that resulted in the site’s creation. Similarly, I provide an “About the Researcher” page, so that reader’s will have some sense of who I am and why I may have focused on particular themes and not others. The first major page of my site, “A.G.T.I. at the Eve of the War,” depicts the school as it existed in 1913, the year prior to the outbreak of the war. I tried to focus on a broad range of topics, including the curriculum, the uniform, and student life, so that visitors to my site can immerse themselves in all aspects of the school’s history in that year. The content became quite text-heavy, so I ended up adding anchors to the page so that viewers can more easily navigate the content.

The bulk of my site is organized under the “A.G.T.I., Montevallo, and the War, 1914-1919″ section. In my contract, this section had been organized under three separate pages: “The Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute in Wartime: Daily Life, Challenges, and Responses,” “Montevallo: Portrait of a Community During the War Years,” and “The Spanish Influenza and the End of the War.” For the final site, I chose make “Daily Life, Challenges, and Responses” and “A Community’s Response to the Great War” sub-pages under a main “thematic” tab, and I eliminated the page on the influenza and the war’s end. I chose to do this largely because there wasn’t much information that I found about the Spanish influenza as it related to A.G.T.I. In the final version of my site, I decided to add a “Voices of the Great War” page to this section as well; this page contains a collection of poems and writings from A.G.T.I.’s students from the period. As I created the three sub-pages under “A.G.T.I., Montevallo, and the War, 1914-1919,” I struggled with the text vs. documents/images balance, but hopefully there is enough material present for viewers to feel compelled to stay on the site longer. On the “Voices of the Great War” page, I decided against utilizing audio to enhance the poems and writings from A.G.T.I.’s students. I had a few people tell me that they didn’t think it would add to the page as I have it laid out, so I decided to abandon the audio components. Other than that change, the page is largely consistent with what I had originally planned out in my contract.

Some of my favorite pieces on my site are the images and documents that I gathered from the Alabama Department of Archives and History’s World War I Gold Star Database. One of the challenges that I faced over the course of this project was a lack of sources detailing the wartime contributions of the town of Montevallo. The local newspapers held within Montevallo’s archives were helpful in providing some insight into the WWI-era happenings in Montevallo, but as my project progressed, the balance between school and town information seemed (and still seems) unbalanced to me. Because of the dearth of town-related resources in the archives, I was quite excited when I came across the holdings in the Gold Star Database. I think the images of the WWI soldiers provide a human connection to the Montevallo men who served, especially in light of the other documents available about them on the site. I hope visitors to my site will enjoy learning about these soldiers and will use this information to pursue the histories of their own families and communities.

I have really enjoyed being a part of the Century America project, and I consider it one of the high points of my undergraduate experience. Working with Dr. Pearson, Dr. McClurken, and my Century America peers has made me a better student and researcher, and I’m glad to have experienced such a friendly learning environment. While I was initially nervous about having my work so visible and available for criticism, I am happy (and lucky) to have such a public platform by which to share my work. I have really enjoyed watching everyone’s sites develop over the semester, and I think the collective project is a great example of the benefits of liberal arts education, mentoring relationships, and peer interaction.

The Century America project was special to me for a number of reasons, but mainly because it allowed me the opportunity to reflect on my time at Montevallo. By viewing documents and images from the early years of the Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute, I feel as if I have developed a deeper appreciation for my undergraduate institution and the role it has played historically in Alabama. I hope that Montevallo will be able to use the history that I’ve collected on my website to share its story and preserve the memory of UM’s early history. I don’t think of my site as a comprehensive analysis or depiction of life in Montevallo during the Great War but rather as a springboard from which to explore additional ways of remembering and exploring Montevallo’s unique history.

Defending a Semester’s worth…

It’s amazing how fast a semester goes by when you work on such a fun project. In a relatively short amount of time we were able to take raw history and turn into an educational exhibit that everyone can now enjoy and learn from. We started this project  going through several archives to gather all the necessary material and enjoyed each and every unique discovery. Though not all of the information could be used in the project they were still fun to find to say the least. Maybe after we turn in the project we can continue on and expand the project further than originally attended.

After several weeks of gathering primary source material and traveling to different cities we were able to begin brainstorming the exact outcome of the project. Through several discussions we were able to determine what CMS we were to use, the proper tools, and who would be responsible for their portion of the site. After these discussions we wrote out a contract that would be used for the remainder of the semester. With a few minor changes we stuck to our original contract. However, we were not creating just one site, but instead two. One would serve as the overarching site for the COPLAC group, which would link out to the other projects, and one would serve as our own research site.

In the contract itself we laid out every tool, page, and source that was to be used or created throughout the project. We decided to use WordPress to manage our content and we were successful in doing so especially with the help of the Parabola theme. We were able to successfully incorporate both Timeline JS and Mapsalive into both of the sites as originally laid out in the contract. We used Timeline JS for an overarching timeline of all the schools, national events, and international events on the Century America project. Additionally, we used Timeline JS for both the Knox family and Liebenow Diaries on the UMW site. We incorporated Mapsalive into the Century America’s homepage as originally plan, even after several attempts and failures. Overall the tools we chose at the beginning were successfully used in both sites.

We decided on the layout of the project very early in the semester and we stuck with the original plan with only a few minor exceptions. We originally drafted to have Liebenow Diaries to have its own page, but we felt that is would fit best in the Community page. Besides that small change in the layout of the project the rest fell into place as we originally drafted several short months ago with post-it-notes on a chalkboard.

ProjectPIC

As for the individual responsibilities for the site…well we never really chose to assign specific task or follow them except to write the individual pages.  We worked tremendously well with one another and as a team we helped each other in every aspect imaginable. Sticking to individually assigned task was just not possible simply because of our academic chemistry. Separating us to do a single task alone would have never been a good idea to begin with. This project was a team effort and our progress shows because of that.

As for the promotion and outreach for the site we have yet to deliver on that part of the project simply because it was not complete. Now that the website is finished we strongly move forward in sharing our semester’s worth of work. By next week Brynn Boyer’s article will be published and hopefully that will boost site visits. From now until our trip to Colorado we plan to share the site extensively through the use of social media and contacting those who can help spread the word about the project.

Overall I am very pleased with the site and the effort put forth by my fellow researchers this semester. It has been a long road traveled fast. Though I wish we could incorporate more into the site, which we more than likely will in the future seeing how we have four more years of WWI’s centennial.

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Additionally, I would like to thank Leah Tams, Julia Wood, and Candice Roland for their efforts and hard work this semester. They were the best group of individuals I have ever worked with and I am proud to have worked with them throughout this semester.

The light at the end of the tunnel….

It’s almost time. My website is very nearly finished. Just a few more pesky citations (I like to be mean to myself….always leave that wonderful stuff for last) and my work will be finished…and the website will be due. For real. As I think about the amount of work I’ve done on this project I can help but feel a little lame for how little I’ve posted on this blog and how little I’ve commented on others. This was a very new and, at times, bizarre experience for me so often it just never occurred to me to actually, you know, communicate. But I think that’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in doing this project.

Alright. I’m going to stop procrastinating now.

The Day after This One

Tomorrow is the big day. A complete draft of my website is due. While I am still attempting to finalize a few permissions, my site seems to be coming together. I think that the narrative is coming through a little better with the additions I’ve done, and about 97% of my images and other materials are visible on the site. Thanks to the constant discussion on changing menus, I am happy to proclaim that my menu is no longer alphabetical! I finally figured out what my classmates and professors have been talking about.

I’ve asked a few people to look at it and tell me what they think. It helps to have people from the “outside” look at my site because I’ve looked at it so much I can’t see the issues anymore. They have given me some advice and have noticed problems I can’t see no matter how hard I stare at each page. I will be having a few more people look at it before I can’t make any more changes, just because more eyes are better than less.

I still need to decide about a couple more audiovisual opportunities for my site, but other than that, I’m getting super close to the finish line. I never considered creating a website before. This is crazy. And cool.