Update from UMW: Week 6

After a long process of trying to divvy up the work for this project evenly amongst the four of us, we have finally finalized the work load and prepared a schedule for ourselves which we will use to keep us on track and provide the basis for the group contracts that are due next Thursday.  As of now, in the grand scheme of things we know what we want our final website to look like and have decided on a layout of the material – we just haven’t quite selected the WordPress theme that we would like to use.  We also need to choose a theme for the overall Century America website since we will also be responsible for putting together that home page, along with a map and timeline that will live on the site to show how all of the participating schools correlate with one another.

This week, we also did a lot of problem-solving with Dr. McClurken to try to figure out what we have to do before we can get started on the building of our site.  We are trying to meet up with some of the wonderful people at DTLT here at Mary Washington to figure out if there is a free map software that we can use for the Century America site – Candice and I will probably also talk to the head of our GIS department here (since we are both familiar with making maps digitally) to see if there is a way to create an interactive map without all viewers owning the appropriate software.  We are also trying to figure out a way to create overlapping timelines with local events from each of the schools as well as national events so that we can see the correlation across the US.

On Monday, we met to discuss the concerns that Dr. McClurken had regarding maps and timelines, but also our alternatives if the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center does not let us digitize the images that we would like to reproduce.  The CRHC has an incredible array of sources that have been useful to us so far in our research, but unfortunately they are pretty strict about their policies and so we are trying to figure out a) how to convince them to let us digitize the material since our work isn’t going towards a profit and b) what we will do if they do not let us digitize the material.  We have emailed the CRHC, and Dr. McClurken has been in contact with a representative of the NPS who has in turn contacted someone on the board the CRHC.  Hopefully this contact will yield favorable results so that we can use what we have found, especially since not much of our total images and sources come from the center.  If we are unable to use any of the materials from the CRHC, we will be “uncomfortable but not paralyzed” as Dr. McClurken would say.  Although we would definitely be bummed out, we would still be able to use the information that we gathered from the Eastburn Diaries to put together a timeline, and if we cannot use any pictures of the Knox family then we will just go downtown and take a picture of the family house that is currently the Kenmore Inn.  So even though the results might not be what we most desire, we will still be successful in accomplishing our goals!

All in all, this week wasn’t so much about research as it was planning, organizing, and problem-solving.  Our group will reconvene this upcoming Tuesday after we do some individual work so that we can decide what we want to do for both our site and the Century America website.  Here’s to a productive week ahead!


2 thoughts on “Update from UMW: Week 6

  1. Sounds like a very productive week. Stopping and taking stock (and strategizing) is just as important as finding the treasure. Good luck schmoozing the CRHC folks, I hope you can convince them that our project is worth it.

  2. I’m sorry I don’t have any amazing ideas for you as far as getting permission for digitizing materials and being allowed to post them, but I think it’s great that you are looking at the materials anyway. That is my goal if I can’t use materials from the local historical societies. It seems like not all historians are into the digital age because they haven’t found good ways to keep their organizations afloat beyond having people pay to research and use historian stuff. I can see the issue from both sides, but when I become an archivist or whatever in the future, I think I will need to figure out new ways to help people get and use the information they need without scaring them with bills or simply not allowing the use of materials beyond looking at them. I certainly hope you get permission to use the material! It looks intriguing.

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