This semester has definitely been an unconventional one. I started this semester on an airplane in the middle of the Ocean traveling back from a winter faculty-led study abroad. While that experience was wonderful the transition to being back in school was a difficult one. However, I managed to make it through the first month and finally felt ready to take on the semester. I was really excited about this course Adventures in Digital History because it seemed really interesting and I was really excited to create a group project.
In the weeks leading up to spring break my group, the James Farmer at Mary Washington group, finalized our contract. In this contract, we had decided what each person’s role was going to be. My role was going to be to collect, digitize, and create an exhibit around the awards that James Farmer received while he was a visiting professor at Mary Washington. My plan was to start this process the week after spring break. While I managed to start the process I quickly realized that it was going to be that I was not going to be able to finish because in-person classes were canceled until the beginning of April and then canceled for the rest of the semester. This resulted in major changes to my part of the project, Kim’s role in conducting the Oral Histories, and the software that my group planned on using at school. With all these challenges towards the end of March, my group still managed to come together and create a project that I believe is better than what we originally envisioned. For the remainder of this blog post, I am going to defend my group’s project as contracted.
When looking at our mission statement, I firmly believe that we met our main goal which was to highlight James Farmer’s educational legacy at the University of Mary Washington through the gathering of various classroom-related materials related to his years. If you were to go to our website and look under Browse Collections and then look at Dr. Farmer in the Classroom, you would see our classroom-related materials. Another part of our contract that my group successfully completed was we conducted oral histories that can be found under our Oral Histories collection. In addition to that Katia still managed to transcribe and caption video materials of Dr. Farmer lecturing that we received from Special Collections and University Archives. These items can be found in our Lectures collection. Another part of the project that we managed to do was to compile other projects UMW students created on Dr. Farmer. These items are housed in our Additional Resources collection.
By having these collections we were able to create three different exhibits that are designed to capture the attention and educate former, current, and future UMW students about the importance of Farmer to our campus and school legacy. The exhibit on Farmer in the Classroom specifically focuses on Dr. Farmer’s importance to our campus. In addition, the Farmer Timeline: The Mary Washington Years also contributes to this effort as well. The legacy aspect of Dr. Farmer comes into play when looking at the exhibit space titled Farmer’s Legacy at UMW.
Based on all this information I firmly believe that we met our project goals. For more information about our website and how to navigate it click on the image below to be taken to our presentation video that highlights our project. I hope that this project will serve our campus community for a long time and will remind our campus community of the important role Dr. Farmer played during his years at Mary Washington College.
Alright, I was able to deliver on what I said in my previous blog post! I believe that I have finished uploading all the materials and metadata that I was “tasked” with doing. I worked really hard on it today to complete the metadata that I needed today. The only other thing that I would like to add is Professor Devlin’s Introduction to Public History class’s takeaway cards. At this time I have reached out to her and I am waiting for a reply. Below is my takeaway card that I created for her class that I hope to be able to upload with her permission.
Hopefully, by Thursday we have everything uploaded so that we can start to develop our “exhibit” tab. With about two weeks left in the semester, I am confident that we will be done with our project sometime next week. I believe that the next part of this week involves our meeting with Dr. McClurken on Thursday and talking about what exactly we are doing for our exhibit.
This week I have been working really hard to upload material onto our Omeka site! I think I am almost done and it will be something that I will complete this weekend! For now, check out James Farmer in MWC Alumnae News!
Last week I made a blog post called “Tips on How to Build a Digital Identity” and that blog post was created based on various websites that Dr. McClurken had us look at. These websites were very helpful when I was editing my digital portfolio. Click the image below to view my digital portfolio.
In my opinion, in the last three weeks the James Farmer group has made some serious progress on our project considering the obstacles that we have faced. As I have mentioned before my role in our project is to collect materials related to Dr. Farmer in the classroom and the other sources found on the digital collection. As of right, I have several items uploaded, but still, need to do the metadata for them. A concern that I had last week was trying to figure out how to fill the different metadata fields. While my group met Angie before school closed, I still wanted to consult with her. By consulting with Angie this week I was able to ensure that the different fields would be filled out properly.
On Monday, I had a zoom call with Angie where we discussed how our group should proceed when filling out the metadata. Here is an image of how each field should be filled out in Dublin Core on Omeka.
In addition, one of the group’s concerns was trying to figure out how we were going to tag our materials. From talking with Angie, we determined that we should have a google document with our tags. Angie said that this was the best thing to do to prevent our tag from looking like the image below because then a tag page becomes completely useless.
Hopefully, by next week I will have all of my resources updated with the appropriate metadata in order to start the process of creating an exhibit based on our materials! When our project is complete I foresee it looking like HISP 303: Archives and Society Website!
For this blog post, I read a series of articles that looked at building one’s digital identity. A common idea/tip among them was how people can protect themselves online and generate a positive digital identity that will not hurt them later on in life. Below are the articles and some key points that I pulled from them.
Professors, Start Your Blogs, Dan Cohen (August 21, 2006)
Blogs are a great place for academic historians to use “plainspoken prose” and a little bit of humor to get one’s attention. By keeping a blog one is able to “enrich” the web while using it as an outlet to one’s own interests. By having a blog that focuses on one’s interests and research it provides others interested access to an academic’s “field notes.” By providing access to these “field notes” academics are allowing their followers to stay informed about the newest and latest information.
Footprints in the Digital Age, William Richardson (Novemeber 2008)
From reading this article I learned that about 80% of young people use the internet to network and interact with people. Of those people, 70% of them are likely to discuss education-related topics. The best part of this article is Richardson provides people with information on how to “Get Started.” These tips include…
- Read blogs related to your passion and interests
- Participate in other people’s blogs
- Use your real name
- Start a Facebook page
- Explore Twitter
Personal Branding in the Age of Google, Seth Godin
Godin presents readers with the idea that google never forgets and that it serves as a permanent record. While Godin’s post is brief he says that in order to make a good digital record one NEEDS to overload Google with good things about themselves.
Who Owns the Digital You? (Three Parts)
This introductory article into a three-part series talks about how the “real you” is intertwined with the “digital you.” Since these two things are intertwined it is up to an individual person to own their digital presence and not let an outsider control it!
How to See What the Internet Knows About You (And How to Stop It), Tim Herrera (July 3, 2017)
This article describes how as time has gone on products and services are becoming more personalized which results in them getting “deeper and creepier than ever.” Herrera than states that this is resulting in people turning into digital products. After reading Herrera’s article it led me to two additional articles that I would like to share with you all. The first is Protecting Your Digital Life in 9 Easy Steps and the second is about The Best Browser Extensions.
It is very fitting that in my last blog post I talked about the relationship between Digital and Public History and how these courses at UWM overlap. When I wrote this post I had no idea that this week’s reading assignments talk about this relationship and how it plays an important role in Digital History.
In the first article that I looked at, the author Cameron Blevins talks about the gap that has formed between digital and academic historians. According to Blevins, this gap can be attributed to two historical traditions linked to digital history, these two traditions are quantitative and public history. With digital historians keeping these two traditions in mind, it has led the digital history field to be in what Belvins calls the “perpetual future tense.” When talking about the “perpetual future tense” Belvin states that the reason why this field in this constant cycle is because digital historians keep talking about the potential of digital history. By constantly focusing on the potential, historians and other academics have started to believe that this field has overpromised and under-delivered. This idea stems from the fact that academic historians feel as if digital historians are not contributing to the history field because they are not making arguments. Instead, digital historians are spending their time focusing on archival, pedagogical, and public history initiatives. In order to close the gap that I previously mentioned, Blevin states that digital historians need to start making arguments related to history in order to close this gap. He feels that by having digital historians make arguments there is a collective understanding of the past. While this may be true digital historians are already creating a collective understanding of the past by facilitating discovery and exploration through digital timelines, exhibits, and other materials.
The other article that I read for this blog post was Sheila A. Brennan’s which focused on how as a public historian she feels that digital humanities has a lot to contribute both academically and publicly. She states that public history requires a significant amount of intellectual labor, which I know to be true because of my Introduction to Public History course. From all the readings and work that we have done this semester for this course digital history also requires a lot of labor as well. Like Blevins’ article, Brennan discusses the role Roy Rosenzweig played in the field of digital and public history. Rosenzweig’s creation of the Center for History and New Media in 1994 was ultimately a turning point in these fields of history. Without Rosenzweig creating this center, I feel that history would not have become as democratized as it is today.
Additionally, the third article that I read was written by our very own professor, Dr. McClurken. I really liked his article because it talks about how digital history is a really important resource to all especially undergraduate and graduate students. As a student who is currently in History 298, History Practicum, I can relate to him talking about his students being frustrated that not all materials are online for free. This is something that I have definitely struggled with the past two weeks in writing my Literature Review. As a result, I have experienced first hand the digital divide of paywalls, which is super frustrating when trying to find resources.
Another thing that I really enjoyed about this article is how much Dr. McClurken praises archives! As the student that works in our Universities Archives, I have really come to appreciate our archives and the resources that it provides to students, alumni, and researchers. I especially liked the part about crowdsourcing because that is something I hope our University implements one day. I hope that our university would do something like this because by having students/public digitize and tag materials it would make more materials accessible. Also, it would be cool to see our university archives use twitter as a tool to share materials because this would be an easy way for people to find materials.
While I have read other articles for this blog post I feel as if I have made my point that digital history is useful for the general public and scholars even though it doesn’t provide us with the arguments that academic scholars feel as if it is missing.
Here are links to other things that I read for this blog post:
Something that I really enjoy about my UMW experience is the fact that the content in one course can be transferred to another course. For instance in Introduction to Public History, Hist 300zz, I just read a chapter in my textbook called “Engaging Audiences” that had two sections dedicated to how museums are using digital history methods to engage with audiences. In one of the sections called “Difficult Encounters Online,” it talks about how professionals compete with many digital distractions when trying to convey a specific message. This section’s message basically states that people leaving the site is inevitable and that digital historians will always be competing with email and what’s trending. Even though digital historians have this competition it doesn’t mean they should not try to capture people’s attention.
The section goes on to discuss an example of a website that engages audiences all while addressing a difficult topic. This example was The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC. Since this website is such a large database the book specially focused on their online exhibit called Some Were Neighbors. The ideology of having this exhibit online is interesting because it is no longer an exhibit featured in the museum, however, by having it online still encourages people to have the difficult encounters that are difficult to have in the physical space. In my opinion, this exhibit and the entire website are incredible examples of digital history and public history at work. I highly recommend that you check these resources out because they are well done and could help you when thinking about the design elements for your own websites. Also, this website is a good tool for educators to use during a time like this!