Three Digital History Website Surveys

I looked through many links and pages of three websites and tried to decide what I liked and what I’d like to avoid with my own website. This was a fun activity, beside that it will be helpful for future reference. Below are the sites I studied:

Virtual Paul’s Cross Project Website

http://vpcp.chass.ncsu.edu/

  • I found the site very straight forward and easy to navigate. There were many layers to it, but I knew what was coming based on the title option for what I wanted to click. There is a lot of writing throughout, but there are also many videos, a virtual tour and other artifacts that make the experience as real as the participants in the project could get.
  •  I like that the steps taken in the process are documented well, although my own site will probably not be the type that needs so much documentation of what I personally did.
  • The “scroll to top” feature is nice on the extremely long pages.
  • The bold of various specific phrases was somewhat irritating, but I’m sure it would help someone who is interested in a specific topic to more readily find the areas they want to note.
  • Overall, the site was interesting and nice to look at. The images of the cathedral area began to be repetitive as I navigated through the site, but with so focused a goal for the site, there is not much else they could have chosen for images.

The Valley of the Shadow Website

http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/

  • The copyright I found was for 2007, but this looks like an older set-up than that. The idea of the valley doesn’t seem to fit with the labyrinth pattern used throughout.
  • I think it’s really cool that they have it set up so a person can do their own research. The basic data has been collected for a specific location and goal, so it’s all contained in one location for the novice researcher.
  • Overall, the pages are very stark – not much art there until you get in deeper. The levels got a little confusing because the titles were quite similar between the differing time periods chosen for the site.
  • In some cases, they offer no interesting facts or stories. It’s just a place to search the census or other records. If I was trying to just find a few facts, it would be a challenge without doing my own research.
  • In the end, I think with a few more human interest stories and a better set up, this would be a great public digital history site.

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database Website

http://www.slavevoyages.org/tast/index.faces

  • Having been to Ghana, West Africa, I found this site very interesting after touring the slave dungeons at a couple of castles along the coast. The whole idea is very depressing, but it is also good to see that the slave trade is being dealt with by giving facts and allowing searches of names and places for those involved in the trafficking.
  • The site seems well put together and easy to navigate. The colors and menus are set up nicely. The paths seem logical to get where I want to go within the site.
  • I looked at the timelines and maps, along with the images, and it was very easy to follow. The timeline was a little jumpy, but the idea and the information I could get from it were helpful. The photos were well-recorded and were easy to see (they would also enlarge for better viewing).
  • Overall, this was my favorite site. The look and set-up seemed well-planned and easy to look at and follow. The layout was great and the information was good. The history and resources were just a click away as well.

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