This week I had the opportunity to present my Century America project at the COPLAC Southeastern Undergraduate Research Conference. In preparation for this presentation, I decided to implement a few organizational changes for my website. For example, I did away with the “Spanish Influenza and the End of the War” section as a stand-alone page. I will now be discussing all of this information on the “A.G.T.I.: Daily Life, Challenges, and Responses” page. Also, with the help of a PhD student studying computer science, my site is now free of the pesky “Older/Newer Post” navigation tool! Since I did not have to go into my site’s PHP blindly, I avoided a great deal of heartache and tears.
I appreciated having the opportunity to present my Century America site to an audience of people who’ve never seen it. As I am in the final stages of my site’s construction, the perspectives of the conference attendees, my peers, and UM’s faculty granted me insight into my site’s current strengths and weaknesses. I was able to gauge audience interest as I presented the different sections of my site, and I think my site’s pages provide enough information to maintain the interest of potential readers. In my opinion, the audience at the conference seemed quite responsive to the presentation. I received several comments that people appreciated the aims of the project, particularly the project’s emphasis on preserving the stories of individual men and women who contributed to the war effort. After my presentation, a lady from the audience briefly shared with me the story of her family members who were a part of WWI and WWII. I really think that our projects have the potential to inspire others to share their memories, photographs, and documents from the period. We might consider providing information on our sites about how people can seek out opportunities to share in the preservation of their own materials, as I am sure some individuals would be happy to share the surviving documents and photos sitting in their attics.