The Plans and the Dreams

I can’t believe it’s the 5th day of April already. I really like how my website is coming. I’ve gotten some more permissions signed, so I can post more stuff to my site. I have a couple more meetings this week to work on things with various archives, but I’m nearing the end of the posting and will soon begin the refining and editing process. So much to do yet!

As far as my Century America contract, I went through it and highlighted things I’m considering, and things I still need to do. As I’ve gone through this project, I feel that a timeline is not needed. My college really doesn’t have a bunch of big events it took part in for the war effort or anything. It was just constantly working on things during the war, and the local community was involved in most things with the school as well.

I don’t think I will need a second page after the home page. I added the right sidebar with all the pages included in the site (except the home page) because I had someone look at it and they felt a second menu would help with navigation. I’m not sure if I will keep it or not. What do you think?

I still need to add more media to several of my pages, and I need to start my bibliographic page and my vlog (I’ve been working on taking photos and screenshots throughout the course for this purpose). I would still like to create a page with links to local archives and collections as well.

I found out I’m allowed to use at least one letter written about the influenza and the war from one of the local archives. I am trying to set a time to transcribe that info for my Voices of the Great War page, along with the two articles about the tarring and feathering of two locals. I think I’m combining the ‘general impacts’ section into the ‘local news during the war’ section since they are mostly all from the newspapers.

I am working to create at least one photo gallery. I think that will be on the war shipping images I’ve found. I may also create a gallery of several items that a local teacher has from WWI. He let me photograph a circa 1917-19 rifle, wool short/pants, some brass buttons and a gas mask, along with a medal. It was great to see some real objects that are represented in all the photographs and such. I think it will add another element to my website. In the next few days, a majority of the images and most of my writing will be drafted on the site.

That’s what I’ve thought through thus far. Please comment with any suggestions or ideas you have. Thanks!

 

4 thoughts on “The Plans and the Dreams

  1. So I have a suggestion for your menu dilemma. If you could take a look at Jen’s project at http://truman.centuryamerica.org/ and press War Stories, you will see how it provides links on the page, which are also found in the dropdown menu. That way if a person does click on the title menu link on your site they are brought to a second way to navigate to the material. You can do that and add another drop down menu section with the history page, that way there is no confusion.

  2. You’ve made so much progress, Dara, and I think you’re town/school has a very cool story to tell from this time period. I’ve enjoyed learning something about Wisconsin!

    Some thoughts:

    The intro page has a good overview of the project, but I wonder if it might be more helpful and engaging to also include a few statements about the themes you found in your research: sort of a teaser summary of the story you want visitors to leave the site having learned.

    I don’t like having the text bodies in italics, personally. I would change that to a standard font.

    I don’t know that beginning with “About Century America” is a particularly gripping introduction. Maybe a separate About page after all? (I know you worked through this idea…) I think visitors should land on something exciting and engaging- a “hook” with a catchy quote, statement, image, whatever you think is best, that grabs their attention. Then, once they’re interested, they can read “About” the site, now that they already want to know more.

    I echo what Leah said about creating a narrative. I think it’s fine if your site functions more as a digital archive, but I do think you need to establish a little more context for your images. Even just writing a paragraph about what the visitor is looking at, and WHY it matters, would greatly improve the overall experience.

  3. I agree with Leah’s comment that additional context on your pages would be useful. Even if you did not want to develop a historical narrative, it may be useful to describe the objects and the general themes that you are constructing by including them. The “Local Servicemen” page is one that comes to mind. Perhaps it would be possible to include some text on these items, even if only to describe them.

    I also have had some difficulty reading some of the scanned newspapers on your site, particularly on the “In the News During the War” page. I wasn’t able to enlarge all of them, and when I was able to enlarge a few of them, they still weren’t big enough for me to read. I think they are wonderful sources, though!

    I really like your site’s theme, and I really enjoyed looking through the image gallery on the “Twin Ports Shipping” page. I think you have a lot of outstanding material to work with.

  4. I really like the theme you’ve chosen for your site, and I do think that having the nav links on the side help out. I don’t think they’re absolutely necessary because they are exactly what you have in the drop-down menus, but I don’t think they detract from your site either.

    It looks like you have some great sources up so far, especially the newspaper articles. I don’t know if you intend for them to be read, but as they are right now, they are basically not readable because I can’t zoom in on them or anything. I really like all of the sources you have up, but it doesn’t look like you have much content, which seems to detract from your site. I think it would be really helpful for visitors if you could have at least a paragraph or two of typed information on each page that gives them context and substance to work with, instead of just images to view–unless you intend your site to be an archive (but that wasn’t the vibe I got from the home page introducing your site). I am having a difficult time finding the narrative that you are telling, so I think that having more context will really help your site. Along this same line of thought, perhaps a timeline would be a good idea–you could even use your school events that are on the overarching timeline and add a couple more.

    Just a couple more comments: there is a random quotation mark on your home page? I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be there (below the CA logo and above the text) but it’s a bit distracting. I also think that you should have a link somewhere (maybe in the menu would be the best place) for a bibliography/resources page.

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