Hey! Here is my brief paper about the wrap-up of the Dr. James Farmer project and how closely we stuck to our revised contract. Overall, I had an amazing time working with my peers and being able to create something that others find useful and honorable was such an important experience for me.
I used to have a very in-depth website that I used for my portfolio, but when refiguring my domain to make this blogging site, something happened and it is all gone. With that, I do have a tab on my menu bar for my digital portfolio that goes through the basics of my resume, some writing samples, and relevant class projects that I can link to. That can also be found here!
My entire website is pretty linear and simple, which is what I wanted. I have a lot of issues with accessibility when navigating the internet myself, so I wanted to make sure that my website and portfolio was as straightforward as possible. Hope you like it!
This week we decided it was best if we all made our own individual blog posts to talk about our project. Last time, we recorded a Zoom call. It is getting harder to communicate across our group and have times that work for everyone! That is just something that we are learning how to deal with.
So far, I have completed three interviews with each one getting progressively better. Because we are using Zoom and Zoom’s recording features, I have to be really aware of talking over them and shifting the recording image to me. Since my first interview, we all figured out that it would be better for me to mute my microphone as frequently as I can to ensure that the recording image is over my interviewee. So, with muting my microphone, I end up nodding my head vigorously to show that I am listening to what is being said, ahaha.
This past week, we also started discussing metadata and inputing items into our Omeka site. Megan, who is in charge of inputing a lot of our artifacts, has reached out and asked for our help in sorting through the Special Collections’ newspaper mentions of Dr. Farmer. Over the next few weeks, we will be focusing a lot more on metadata inputs and discussing how we want these exhibits to be laid out. I think figuring out a strong narrative to carry these artifacts will take the longest time to figure out while inputing all of the metadata fields will take the longest time to complete.
Digital identity, and its lasting impacts, is something that my parents have been warning me about ever since I joined Facebook in elementary school. Reading the short description of google searching job applicants makes all of my parents’ warnings valid. Educational posts like Danah Boyd’s about protecting yourself and forming a public digital identity is so important to read and include in your life. I’ve attempted at making my online social media accounts as private as possible, but it never occurred to me to create accounts or to foster a public, professional identity.
Not a day goes by in my house where a comment like “my phone is listening to me” is jokingly said but the New York Times piece shows how close to realty that is. There is one quote about how the greatest minds of this generation are being used to create and drive these advertising campaigns. It is insane to me that out of all of the possible uses of time and money, companies are so focused building a profit, that that is what they focus on. So many of these funds could be better used in improving services and platforms, or by paying content censors a fair wage.
Blog about what you see as the key change(s) for historians in an increasingly digital world
Seen on the Writing History in a Digital Age piece on wikipedia, academic knowledge has already begun the shift to being accessible online, yet online information is still not being seen as a legitimate source of academia. Wolff contributes this to the fact that not a lot of historians have shifted to online in response to the lack of respect surrounding it; it is a daunting task that their peers can make fun of them for doing. Which, in my opinion, is outrageous! Too look at the abilities and practices of online and digital mediums and say that they are no practical for historians is short-minded. At this point, I feel like there is a decent amount of online primary source collections and knowledge that has been digitized but a distinct lack of public historians engaging in those mediums and making their research and conclusions as accessible as the primary sources were. This highly contributes to the narrative that online history is not as legitimate as other forms of publicizing.
Accessibility is a hugely important topic, and one that interests me personally. Today, it is assumed that everyone has access to a stable-internet connection and reliable smart technology, but in reality, that is not true. There are huge areas in the United States were internet access is spotty or completely vacant. With all different forms of media and disciplines relying heavier on online and digital platforms, more infrastructure needs to be built to ensure that this assumption becomes a reality.
This is a huge topic that is being discussed nationwide as we are tackling COVID-19 and the repercussions of social distancing. Even those who are privileged enough to attend higher education (because, it has to be admitted that there is a certain level of financial/economic privilege associated with higher learning) are struggling with gaining physical accessibility to the tools that are required for distance teaching.
Going beyond physically accessing online and digital items, there is another layer of accessibility that historians need to be addressing as they navigate the digital world. Websites and projects need to be accessible to all people with disabilities and that includes being created in a platform that allows software and other programs to run over top of it (programs like text-to-speech, for example).
This week I am focusing on contacting all of my interviews and either rescheduling the ones that I had to cancel (due to the school closing and having to rewrite our plan of action) or updating the means of the interview. I have one already scheduled for Thursday afternoon. I am waiting to hear back from the others. I have also sent out the consent form to our interviewees and are waiting on that response as well.
As soon as I am done with the chaos of interviewing people, I will be more active in the creation of the website. So far, I have been a little overwhelmed and haven’t been helping John as much as I wish I could be (Sorry, John!). While I enjoy doing the interviews, it can be a lot to think about and prepare for. If I miss something up, it is hard to go back and fix it.
This week I did my first oral history interview through Zoom. On Wednesday, I did a test Zoom interview with my roommate and shared the recorded footage with my group members.
Yesterday, I completed my first interview and I also ran into my first problem with transitioning to online learning. I have been having internet problems on and off for about a month now. We had the internet provider come out and rewire our internet, but it still goes down frequently. Right before I called my first interviewer yesterday, my internet went down. I had to connect my laptop to my phone’s data in order to get the interview done. I was lucky that it worked for that interview, but I can see myself running out of data fast if that is what it comes to. I have another interview scheduled for next week and I have already uploaded and shared my interview from yesterday with my group members so that they can begin to edit the footage.
This week we had our project presentations (or more like project outlines…?) and I think it really helped in ensuring that all of us were on the same page about everyone’s duties. I am mostly in charge of collecting the oral histories and creating the website! I am extremely excited for the oral histories part as it is something that I have not really delved into since high school.
For the website, I am working John as the “leaders”! We are in charge of creating the layout for the website and ensuring that all of the items and collections are formatted correctly. This is a huge responsibility, but everyone else on the team is going to help as we go along!