Monthly Archives: January 2014

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Browsing other Digital History Sites

Exploring the French Revolution: This site had an incredible wealth of information and could be very useful. Unfortunately, the site was a little out-dated, and despite being extremely organized, was still difficult to navigate considering the amount of information. I suppose “bulky” would be the right word to describe it. The search function, which was very well done, came in handy. I appreciated that I was able to do an advanced search with different specifications rather than simply entering a keyword and hoping for the best. It was also very text-heavy. Overall I’d say the content of the site is good but the presentation is off-putting.

Gilded Age Plains City: This site is much more appealing to the eyes and a little more modern. It is still very text-heavy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but when creating a website it is good to have some variation. I really enjoyed the interactive map and thought it was a fun and interesting feature to add. It would also save time when doing research to be able to go straight to the location you’re looking for rather than have to sift through the whole site. Considering the number of different sections and the amount of text on the site, a search function would probably be very helpful.

1919 Molasses Flood: I absolutely loved the concept behind this site! I only wish it wasn’t so clumsy and difficult to navigate. It has great potential would be a fantastic site if the kinks were worked out. The content is really great and interesting but the problems with the mechanics of the site takes away from that.

 

A Preliminary Survey of Archival Materials at MCLA

This past week I was able to meet with the MCLA reference librarian who has already helped me a great deal in figuring out what kinds of materials are available to me for this project. Unfortunately, there have been a few drawkbacks already. The MCLA archivist left last year, so it has been left up to the reference librarian to keep track of all the archival materials. Luckily, she has been extremely kind and helpful. I also learned that attempts to archive non-administrative documents and artifacts here at MCLA did not begin until about 20 years ago. This means that there is not a great deal available to me, especially in the era I’m focusing on. However, I have already looked through some wonderful photo albums, yearbooks, and course catalogs from the era and have found a number of other documents that will certainly be useful to me. She also directed me to the local newspaper and the city directory, which the library has on microfilm, as well as the City’s annual reports.

I have also started looking at the North Adams Public Library, which recently lost its archivist as well. They have a number of collections, though few that deal with the correct time period. Still, there are two specific collections I’m interested in browsing: The Monday Club Collection and the Ruth B. Browne collection. Both contain some interesting facets of North Adams life in the Early 20th century such as photographs, newspaper clippings, newsletters, clubs and town activities.

Due to time conflict I was not able to visit the North Adams Historical Society and Museum but I plan on contacting them this week. I’m interested to see what they have to share! I have also been directed to the Pittsfield Public Library and Williams College Library, which may hold larger collections that pertain to this project.

Week One: The Beginning

I am so looking forward to truly begin working on this project! As I have just arrived on campus I have started contacting the people who will help me access the various archives and libraries so that I can take a preliminary note of what is available to me on campus. I will be looking into these archives later this week. I have just been informed that the night reference librarian has been working on a collection of primary sources from the school’s past! I cannot wait to see what he has put together.

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