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.

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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.

Another helpful WordPress plugin

Over the past couple of weeks after reviewing my fellow students websites a number of you have been having difficulty linking images that are with in an image gallery. Well fear no more there is always a solution (or always a plugin). Many of you are now using easy image gallery for your sites, which is great plugin I might add, but you cannot link these images. Well someone along the way ran into the same problem and came up with a great solution for it called WP Gallery Custom Links. This great plugin allows you to use images as link to different pages or to another image file or basically anywhere you want on the web through the gallery. We have been using this plugin as a great way to navigate our site, which is almost complete after a few minor changes we need to finish.  So there you have a simple way to link images and if you are running into any other issues please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to be of assistance.

Various Helpful WordPress Plugins

Ok so you guys asked for some good plugins that can help with your project, so I put some together that we are using here at UMW. Additionally, after going through these plugins, if there is additional help you need just DM me on twitter or email me.

1. Disable Comments

Disable Comments is probably one of the most useful plugins we are currently using for our site. It disables all comment fields on your website, so no one can comment. Disabling the comments section on your site will help prevent spam and clean up the aesthetics of your project. One downside to this plugin is that you disable comments. People will no longer be able to comment on your project and you cannot selectively choose where comments are disabled.

2. Easy Image Gallery

Easy Image Gallery is great way to put your images into a gallery and customize it. You can put the gallery in the middle of the text box for a page and can be easily changed. However, if you wish to link images within that gallery you will need another plugin. If you do want to link the images in your gallery then you will need to install the WP Gallery Custom Links plugin.

3. WordPress Page Widgets

If you want to put different sidebar widgets on different pages this is the plugin for you. It allows you to customize the content in each widget on your pages and allows you to choose which pages get a widget. If you need help setting this plugin contact me because it can be a little tricky, but it is definitely helpful.

4. All in One Favicon

If you want to place a favicon for your project in the browser tab All in One Favicon will allow you to do that. However, many themes already come with a feature that allows you use favicons, but if it doesn’t, install this plugin. If you want to use the CA favicon just contact me and I can walk you through the process and I will give you the image.

5. Jetpack 

Jetpack is a simple plugin that comes with many features and if you have not installed this plugin yet, then you need to. Check it out with the link I provided because there is just so much you can actually do with this plugin that there is too much to explain. This is the ultimate all in one free plugin.

Again if you are having issues please feel free to contact me either on twitter of through email. I am more than willing to help because some this plugins maybe difficult for some to set up.