I decided to take Digital History for a few reasons. It satisfies a few class requirements and I knew that if I went to grad school I would have to take a similar class and I wanted to see what it would be like. I have to honestly say that I really enjoyed this class. It came at a perfect time for me, actually. It helped me decide that something I want to do in the future: bring archives and museums into the digital age to increase visitor traffic and further research.
I do think, however, that the workshops could have run a bit better. It seemed like we just ran through them and didn’t really do anything to to learn to use them properly. I think if more emphasis was placed on learning to use different tools the class wouldn’t have to use the DTLT people as much. We would still have to rely on them for major things, obviously, but it might make the groups more independent.
I think holding each group to a contract is probably the smartest thing to do since it helped to make everyone accountable for their work. Our group was frequently ahead of schedule on many of our project goals but mostly we got things done just in time. We split the work up pretty evenly. I do wish someone else besides me had written the battle description for Spotsylvania Courthouse because I had never taken a military history class before and was kind of unsure about it, though I suppose that amounts to a “good learning experience.”
We had some high expectations as far as design theme for omeka. I found myself wishing half-way through that we had used the Atahualpa theme in the UMW blogs instead. To me, omeka seems cluttered and at times confusing since its not set up like a normal website and you can’t change the headings (collections, items, exhibits) as far as I can tell. I think the headings work with an actual museum or archive website since they probably hire people out to design their websites. Using the free version definitely had its limitations. (See my earlier post on this subject).
One thing I wish we had more of in our site were visuals in the individual exhibit sections. I also wish we could have posted pictures in between text instead of being tied to the meta-layout. This would have given us another element to work with and perhaps solved the problems we had with spacing between the pictures on the top or bottom with the text in the middle.
All in all I liked our project. I wish we could have found a way to find more 1860s pictures of buildings in town and do a more side by side comparison with the “Now” pictures. Unfortunately the meta-data wouldn’t let us post more than 15(ish) photos in one page. I think my group did a great job with the crazy amount of information we had compared to the time we had to do it in and the limitations of our website.
It seems like people are really into the website. We have gotten some response back after we delivered publicity to some of the places we featured downtown. I even went to the private residences after and put them in their mailboxes (tried to be as un-creepy as possible). St. George’s Episcopal is even going to put our website in their weekly bulletin! (See guys I knew they would. Episcopalians love history- besides God of course. Oh, and alcohol. They don’t call us Whiskeypalians for nothing!) So, I am pretty excited that we are getting more free publicity. Some of the other churches have said they would put links to us in their websites so hopefully this will be a domino effect. We’ve even had some people on our site from various places in Europe!
I hope everyone has a good summer!
Scariest facial hair ever?
HBO just aired the second episode of Treme, the mini-series set in New Orleans three months after Katrina.
I moved just before the storm to Houston but I came back to visit at the same time this is supposed to take place. From what I can tell and from talking to my friends who lived through it, its pretty realistic.
I’ve seen the first two episodes and throughout I was so into it, but I realized I was enjoyed it so much because they put things into the episodes that a New Orleanian would recognize immediately but that others would probably be confused.
So don’t worry folks- I’m here for you. Episodes can be viewed here (illegally muahaha): Sidereel
1. What is a Second Line: The episode opens up with a second line. If you’ve ever heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” well in Nola it also takes a whole neighborhood to bury a loved one. Basically, a second line is most common at funerals. After the body is buried the family members, neighbors, friends, whoever, have a parade in which they follow a brass band as they play really awesome music. I have been in a second line before but at a wedding (note the bride and groom with the traditional parasols, the trumpet, and meee in the background!)
They are really an excuse to celebrate the person (or couple) and get drunk.
Here is a video:
2. Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs: the older man who comes back to New Orleans and lives in his bar, keeps talking about being a chief. Basically there are tribes of Mardi Gras Indians, made up of African-American male musicians. They march in parades and often also play at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. They also wear kick-ass costumes:
3. Old New Orleans Spiced Rum: In the beginning of the first episode there is a close up of Old New Orleans. We highly suggest purchasing this if you can b/c it rocks. For those who prefer whiskey, we suggest Old Granddad 100 (at your nearest ABC).
4. Abita Beer: ‘Nuff Said. Order Purple Haze or Abita Amber at Capital Ale, downtown. You’ll thank me later.
5. Open Container Policy: You might be confused when watching the show why people are walking around with alcohol in front of the police. Well I was confused when I came up here why I couldn’t walk to parties with my beer. Its legal. We even have Drive-thru Daiquiris *sigh*
6. Musicians: Treme definitely throws around a bunch of names (and mostly not the entire name) and apparently expects you to go with it. Since a large part of the show is about music here are the people you need to know:
–Trombone Shorty -he’s actually like 24 and practically a prodigy. Also he’s hot. And in the show.
–Wynton Marsalis -Legend, trumpet
–Elvis Costello -he’s British but he’s in the second episode
–Coco Robicheaux -he’s the one who sacrifices a chicken in the radio show in the name of Voodoo and Congo Square. Coco is who I imagine Willie Nelson to be if he dropped acid for years instead of smoked pot.
–Kermit Ruffins -Trumpet and apparently awesome BBQ-er
7. Pronunciations: Its not New “Or-LEENS” say it like New Or-LUNS. Also don’t Street View Google-map anything. The pictures look like they were taken a day after Katrina.
8. Zapps -The best chips ever? Don’t think you can get them outside of the state though. Guess you guys will just have to come and see for yourself (you can stay with me- Mardi Gras is during your spring break next year!!) Best flavors: “Cajun Crawtator” and “Sour Cream and Creole Onion” and during Mardi Gras “Voodoo Gumbo” :
9. The intro : It has a picture from my Thesis presentation for the Symposium on Friday! (the one of the naked prostitute, I hope thats ok Dr. McClurken, haha):
-the picture is around 1:12
10. Disdain for Bourbon Street : Batiste, one of the musicians in the episode, is really not excited about playing a gig on Bourbon. There is a reason why the locals don’t go to Bourbon (except to get Pat O’s) Its over priced and tourists think its always Mardi Gras. Well its not. Don’t be lame and spend your entire time there. Get a Hand Grenade and go Uptown or St. Charles Ave. (Again, just come to me)
So thats what you need to know. GO WATCH THE SHOW! Have fun b/c our projects are done!!
So I’m in my Museum Lab class right now, looking up information about James Monroe’s time on the FredVegas city council and what did I find but a link to the James Monroe Paper group (located in the links section of the James Monroe Law Offices Museum website).
First on the list-what what!!
Good job you guys!
Also just saw this on Twitter: The Library of Congress is going to archive our Tweets :
Twitter and the Library of Congress announced Wednesday that every public tweet posted since Twitter started in 2006 will be archived digitally by the federal library.
This is very approp for the section I’m writing right now (Battle of Spotsy court house) which was situated on a crossroads:
Also- about to sell my soul to the devil. Robert Johnson had the right idea.
Never sign up to write about battles, Lauren, cuz you suck at them. Also my computer is broken and the Apple people are being bitches. Woowoowoo join me in the library
I thought Dr McClurken brought up some good points in his Archives 2.0 article. I wish my Archives and Society class could read this since I feel like the class is only focusing on keeping archives not what to do with them after you’ve sorted them out. I think archives (or at least their finding aids) should be made available online in an academic format. Its actually something I’m interested in trying to implement (or at least advocating) after I graduate. Archives should be more up-to-date, otherwise how would people know if the archive houses the sources they need?
Update: I’m in my Archives and Society class right now and the topic tonight is on security. I am convinced that the National Archives would still have various documents like the Wright Brother’s patent if more things were available online… Also all newspapers should be archived on the internet. I am convinced microfilm was created by the devil
One type of graduate program that teaches digital history is Public History: University of New Orleans, Texas State-San Marcos, George Mason, American University . Also Museum Studies programs and history programs with public history or museum studies concentrations have digital history classes. Often they aren’t called digital history classes and most are electives.
(the bottom line is that I just want to hear from UNO at this point- why must they string me along???? I don’t care anymore I just want an answer(this is a lie) )
Now I know how the Dad felt in Breaking Away: REFUND?! REFUND?!
People know to never google certain things: snakes, vaguely sexual sounding terms your co-workers tell you to look up (its always porn, guys, always), the weird pain in your side (I’m sure I didn’t sleep on it wrong! Aaaahh cancer!!).
Another thing to never google is “Civil War Surgery” unless you are prepared for boxes of shins or scary crap like that. Remember that movie with Nicole Kidman where (SpoilerAlert) she and her kids are The Others? And they find those weird pictures of the servants but realize they are dead in the photos?!?!?!!?
And you wish that stupid child would just stop playing under the veils (We can’t see your face, kid, it could be meltinnnng)
Well thats what it felt like looking at pages and pages of Civil War amputated pictures. Trying to make eye contact with the guy’s face but can’t stop staring at the pile of HANDS!!!
Basically, this is possibly the grottiest thing I have ever researched for a history class since.. oh wait- the LAST TIME I took a class with Dr. McClurken!!! Only that time I did my project on heart valves. The best way to freak yourself out while researching is research a medical abnormality that YOU have and then having to put it on a blog site. If you are going to do this I suggest never looking at medical textbooks. That was my first mistake. [Also, don’t worry I’m not dying, its only Tetralogy of Fallot. They made a movie about it…with Mos Def and Alan Rickman haha]
In other news- the maps are done!! And now we have to get them on the site somehow and make them interactive!!
Now back to finishing these sections on omeka….
Website is building up some. I made a new collection, “Civilians” and posted some letters. Now we have to think of the theme options to see which will look the best since some of them are too cute or too dark/boring
So No-Sleep November is back with March Sadness- Its thesis writing season! Yesterday I had been up for two and a half days with three hours sleep. So I slept for 13 hours last night! Now its time to buy the redbull (and timeturner) and start at it again!
Here is an example of digital history for our generation: (be honest, who *hasn’t* done this before??)
Featuring Michael Cera and Jack Black- the episodes are hilarious
Jack Black as Ben Franklin:
Omeka is seriously testing the kindness of my heart. I’m not sure if its because I’m not used to it but it seems like every time I turn around it doesn’t let me do something. Also I hate how there are items AND exhibits AND collections- I don’t think we need ALL that. Maybe just items and exhibits. Also its very clunky.
I googled omeka websites and their site give examples of test sites:
I mean look how cool it looks:
Sorry my screen shot looks so crap- I’m using a PC instead of my Mac and its kinda different. But anyway- I don’t remember seeing anything this cool on the omeka template/theme page!! I’m sure you have to pay extra for it.
Here are other cool site examples they tease you with:
For my scholarship I have been making a website for my Brompton research. I am using the umwblogs (using the Atahualpa theme like the Mary Ball Washington group) and its going sooo much quicker:
Just started building it so no judgements on the lack of information. Its kinda making me depressed about omeka, in general, not our project (which I like).
Next up on our plate is getting the interpretation written (yay)! Hopefully getting more stuff up on the site will make us feel better and less stressed (or am I the only one stressing about this?)
who wants to buy 19th century medical equipment?? Cuz there are about 5 million hits on google where you can buy stuff like this:
Anyone else glad its 2010?
So I just tried to post one of our Doctor profiles onto Omeka and guess what!? The formatting sucks! (Secretly I wish sometimes that we had used the umwblogs) I tried the template where it has a big picture to the left and a few small picture next to it with text below the smaller pictures but the text got all wonky and all over the place. Some of the text started above the larger picture and then ran into the smaller pictures. It just looks bad. And the larger picture was cut off. So I changed the template to something else for now (still not happy with it but at least its readable and is a good first draft)
How discouraging. Omeka seems really limited in its theme/template areas. Everything seems like a jumbled up mess and very counter-intuitive to what would make the most sense. I HATE ALL THE CLICKING AROUND!! Sooooo many pages to get to the center of the tootsie roll pop. I hope we can get all this worked out or else our deadlines might be a bit messed up.
On a brighter note (even though the CW is ruining the music I love, one Gossip Girl episode at a time):
Best music video 09
This is how I feel about Omeka: