Reflection

I can’t believe this course is coming to and end. Joy and I have come a long way and I must say I could not be happier with how the site turned out! Overall, this course was quite a learning experience. I had never worked with WordPress before so it tested my patience quite a lot but I  gained a lot of new and useful skills.

There were some areas of the site that deviated from the original contract we drew up, however, none of the changes were that significant. We changed the theme to better display our information and we omitted the section on Women’s Naval Militia since I could not find enough sources to write up the section.

Throughout the course, I appreciated the feedback Joy and I received for the site from Dr. Pearson and Dr. McClurken as well as the other students in the class . It was really helpful to have this open dialogue between all the members of the course because all the comments we received bettered our site.

I appreciate the fact that the Century America course gave me the opportunity to explore the archives. I really enjoyed spending time in the Sarasota History Center during the researching stage of the course. It was fascinating to see the various materials stored at the Center as well as figuring out which materials were useful for our research. It sort of felt like a scavenger hunt. Also, getting to meet and interview Harriet Burns Stieff was an amazing opportunity. We were able to capture her story and share it with the community. Her family’s ties to the community are so prevalent that it felt like a duty to provide some form of documentation of it. Through the use of videos, I believe that I was able to do so.

I must say that the video editing process was quite a journey. As I was editing the first video on development my computer stopped working and all those edits were lost. It took me a while to get a new computer and the program set up. I had to redo the edits on the previous program but once I did so I was on track again.

Besides editing the four videos and transcribing them, I worked on the Agriculture and Woman’s Club section. From the beginning of the project, I showed interested in exploring the Woman’s Club since I had never heard about it but kept seeing the club popping up in the newspapers I was looking at. It was interesting to learn how huge of a role the members of the club played it making Sarasota the way it looks today. It was in charge of the beautification of the town. So all the beautiful vegetation lining the streets of downtown Sarasota today owe it to the club.

Overall, I could not be happier with my experience with Century America. This is such a unique course that connects students of similar interests from various liberal arts colleges across the United States together. I gained so many new skills and solidified others. Thank you all for being such engaging and helpful peers!

An Update

Hi all,

So I finally have a working computer again. Hooray!

Now that I’ve got my data back, I’ve started editing the Harriet interview once again. I lost all my edits that were on my old computer but it shouldn’t take me too long to get back to were I left off.

The website is coming together really nicely so far. Joy has done a fantastic job on all the pages she has been working on as well as keeping me up-to-date on the tasks that still need completing.  I’m so grateful to be working on the project with her.

There isn’t really any new development as far as the website is concerned. We just have a few pages to complete and I still need to upload the videos (which will happen very soon) but that’s about it.

I watched the recording of last week’s class since I was out of town for Spring Break. I look forward to the peer reviewing sessions that are coming up. It will be helpful to get input on what needs to be included or edited on our site.

Writing History in the Digital Age Reflection

In “The Historian’s Craft, Popular Memory, and Wikipedia,” Robert Wolff explores the changes in creating and distributing history during the digital age. He uses Wikipedia as a main example that reflects this growing blend between history and memory. Wikipedia provides a space where anyone (with or without credentials) can publish their interpretations on historical events. Wolff emphasizes the interpretation aspect of such Wikipedia pages because they are more often drawn from people’s bias rather than objective facts. Wikipedia, at most, is a good source in exploring how history ties to memory. This provides potential in creating new historical approaches that focus on how memory shapes history.

An example on memory shaping history on Wikipedia can be seen in Saxton’s article titled, “Wikipedia and Women’s History: A Classroom Experience.” In most historical interpretations, women and their participation in historical events are largely ignored. Their experiences were seen as trivial and therefore marginalized from the larger historical narrative. Since people’s memories are based off historical interruptions that neglect the importance of women, Wikipedia pages reflect such constructed historical understandings. It has come to a point that women’s history is a separate category from the other categories of history. It would make more sense if historical pages reflected the whole experience-encompassing race, gender, class, and other factors-rather than highlighting the voices of certain groups of individuals (usually the elites).

For our research, I will take into account the play of memory on history. Since most of our sources are newspaper articles, diary entries, and oral histories, it is important to be aware of the bias that influence such understandings of events and the past.

Mission Statement

Our goal is to showcase the Sarasota community’s experiences during WWI and the Spanish Influenza. While we plan to touch upon both of these events specifically, we want to dedicate a lot of our site to broader experiences of the community during the time period. What happened in Sarasota during the Great War, and how relevant (or irrelevant) to these changes was what was happening in the international community?

Thus far we have been unable to find anything related to Sarasota during the Spanish Influenza. We have read that, historically, Florida has been a haven for those avoiding disease. In our research we have come across some references to malaria. If we find more related to that, perhaps we will include it.

Besides the information itself, a large goal of our project is to present this information in an accurate, comprehensible manner through a digital medium. We plan to maintain historical integrity while also making the site accessible to non-academics. We will use images and avoid large blocks of text, along with an appropriate theme, to make the site attractive.

The intended audience of our website are students (who are particularly interested in Sarasota history or want to look at the site as an example of a digital history project) and the those who live here.

Layout:

The homepage will introduce our project with an “About” page and will display the Century America logo. The sections will be displayed at the top of the site.

  1. the urbanization/developments of Sarasota
    • Focused on information found in the Sarasota-Times along with photographs.
    • Subheading including timeline
    • Subheading on the role of agriculture in Sarasota
  2. The oral history from Harriet Burns
    • Ideally this will come with a transcription.
  3. the military experience in sarasota
    • Subheading on the naval militia
      • Mostly informed by the Sarasota-Times.
    • Will include discussion on the city’s role in national war efforts
      • Liberty Bonds
      • Red Cross service
    • display of WWI service cards from the Florida Memory site
  4. Social experiences (guided by the diary of the young woman that Harriet has)
    • Transcriptions, and possible scans, of the diary kept by a young woman who lived in Sarasota during the 1910s.
    • the Women’s Club
    • Possible commentary related to the Women’s Club’s role in the war effort.
  5. Bibliography
  6. About the researchers section

Tools:

For our site, we plan on using the Hemingway Rewritten theme. The layout is simple and easy to navigate. It neatly displays the different sections at the top of the page.

Because much of our story involves the development of Sarasota, a TimelineJS will be included. This timeline will chronicle the growth of the city during the 1910s. For example, when a new road was approved and when it was built.

Final Cut Pro will be used for editing the oral history component of the site.

Timeline:

Feb. 26: Return to the Sarasota History Center to finish taking pictures of relevant articles of the Sarasota-Times.

Feb. 28: Meet with Harriet again. Scan her photographs and copies of the diary of a young woman who lived in Sarasota during the 1910s.

March 6: Set up theme, create skeleton structure of site, start writing up some of the sections

March 15-18: Have video completed along with the transcription

Apr. 2: First version due

Apr. 22: Revised version due

Distribution of Labor:

Joy: I will make the timeline about the urbanization of the city. In order to do this, I will read all relevant articles in the Sarasota-Times. From this I will get relevant dates. I will also use the information found in these articles to describe what went into building up Sarasota.

I will similarly read the newspapers for relevant information about the narrative surrounding Sarasota’s military involvement in WWI, particularly its naval militia.

Kana: I will work on the layout of the website and edit the video. I will also focus on the women’s club and agriculture section of the site. The sources I will be using include guidebooks, newspaper articles, and secondary readings on Sarasota history.

 

Google Map Project: Sarasota’s Circus Related Places

Hi all,

I decided to create a basic map on Google Maps for this week’s assignment. I thought it would be a good idea to work on a map since Joy created a timeline earlier this week. I agree that we will most likely include a timeline into our final project, but I thought it would fun to try the alternative project just in case we decided to include maps on our site as well. It would be a great way to visually display locations that were important to the Sarasota community narrative from 1914 to 1918. For now, the usefulness of this map tool is speculative but we’ll see as we continue our research.

For the project, I decided to commemorate Sarasota’s rich circus history that resulted from the presence of John Ringling North and the Ringling Circus starting in the early 1900s. Today, the legacy of Ringling lives on through various tourist attractions and societies. In the map I created I listed five locations that are circus related.

Check it out here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zruOkQdyrPpM.kWCcThsVMXwc

– Kana

Looking at Some Digital History Sites

Gilded Age Plains City site: http://gildedage.unl.edu/

When I was exploring the Gilded Age site, I was impressed by the layout and organization of the site. It is easy to navigate and has interesting information that delves into the story of Lincoln during the nineteenth century. I like that it provides historical information about the town and community rather than just focusing solely on the trial. This site contextualizes the event so the audience can thoroughly understand the situation.

I would like to incorporate the organized layout of this site into the Sarasota site that Joy and I will be creating later in the semester. In addition, this site engages the audience by telling a well-rounded story. When I do research on Sarasota, I will focus on finding evidence that explores the community of Sarasota during World War I and the Spanish Influenza to create a similarly engaging story that looks into the daily life of the community between 1914 and 1918.

The Valley of the Shadow site: http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/

I did not enjoy navigating The Valley of the Shadow site. It was annoying to have to return to the previous page to view the different sections. It would be easier if the sections were located in a contents table like the Gilded Age site so I could click on it to go to the other parts of the site. However, I did like the sections. The timelines were informative and for some parts of it I could click on it to delve into it more. This site provides a lot of information, it can be useful but also overwhelming.

This site is a good example for looking at the balance of a site. Too much information and links can disengage or overwhelm the viewer. It’s best to decide the focus of a site and limit the amount of sections within it. This site makes it difficult to navigate through it, but it has a lot of parts for its audience to view. This is not a good combination.

The Emancipation Project site: http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/emancipation/

I liked the organization of the site. It neatly lays out the various sources that relate to the site’s topic. I will look at this site and the site on the Gilded Age as reference for the layout of my future project. However, this site does not engage with its sources as much as the Gilded Age site. I would like to focus on both the story telling and the display of the various materials that relate to my topic. The Emancipation Project site is simple and organized but not interesting. It’s an okay site.

Sarasota Archival Materials

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have not been in town during ISP. However, I’ll be returning to Sarasota tomorrow and will start research immediately. Joy and I have both been in contact with Jeff LaHurd at the Sarasota County Historical Resources Center, so we just need to schedule a time to visit the center.

The oral history project from last semester provided me with some useful sites to add to our archival collection.

The Florida Memory site has a wonderful collection of photographs of Sarasota and Sarasota community. It also as a collection of World War I service cards. Here’s the link: https://www.floridamemory.com/solr-search/results/?q=%28sarasota%20OR%20tt%3Asarasota^10%29&query=sarasota

Another great site is the Sarasota History Alive site: http://www.sarasotahistoryalive.com/index.php?src=directory&view=Stories&srctype=detail&refno=1675&category=Journals%20of%20Yesteryear

This is all that I have to date, but will be on the look out for some more archival sources.

Until next time,
Kana

An Introduction

Hello!

I’m Kana, a third year History AOC at the New College of Florida in Sarasota. This semester Joy and I will be exploring the community of Sarasota during World War I for the Century America project.

I’m excited to start conducting research with Joy since I would like to discover what Sarasota was like during the World War I period. Last semester, I worked on an oral history project that focused on local residents and their experiences growing up in the community. The oral history project was my first opportunity in exploring the history of Sarasota and it got me hooked!

Sarasota has a wonderful collection of archival sources such as the Sarasota County Historical Resources Center. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to meet up with Joy yet to visit the Resources Center since I haven’t been in town. January is ISP month at New College so we don’t have classes. I have been working on my project from home in Miami. I’ll be returning to Sarasota at the end of week and will delve into the archives as soon as possible. Stay tuned!

– Kana

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