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?