Here is a short video I made where I interviewed some students about James Farmer. I have a little experience with iMovie, so making this short clip was easy!
Digital Projects to review!
Hurricane Digital Memory Bank: For a digital project that started in 2005, it has aged gracefully (with many updates). I really liked the layout of the website: not too confusing or flashy. Its basic look made it easily navigable and I wanted to look deeper into the website because it was so easy to use.
The September 11 Digital Archive: I thought it was interesting that their FAQs page was mainly links to outside resources and news outlets. I think that was a pretty smart way of giving a basic amount of knowledge for all consumers (in case they are stumbling across this website with no knowledge about the event) without dedicating too much time or space into cataloging the history of the event itself.
Lost & Found: I kind of like the vertical menu bar instead of the traditional horizontal one. My only wish is that it could track with the page, so that when you scroll down far, the menu follows it. The only thing that really bugged me was the news widget that was on the bottom of every page (saying the recent news posts from Lost & Found).
American Archive: I said before that websites that are continuous scroll annoy me. I would rather switch to the different tabs that have the “ease” of sliding into the next page.
Hull House: A lot of the features of this website were disabled (I assume because of age). Despite that, I still liked the layout. It was very straightforward about what I was going to see (for the things that I could see). I would, however, criticize the text font and colors. For the hyperlinks, it was like a light yellow shade which made it hard to read sometimes. Also, the introduction was a huge amount of text that could have been better split up.
I’ve worked with Timeline JS for two other projects, so I am fairly comfortable with its formatting. I’d be interested in figuring out if I could move the images around the timeline “slide”. It can get quit repetitive to have the images only show up on the right-hand side. I know you can make the images the entire background, but that doesn’t work for all image formats.
StoryMap JS was a cool tool to navigate! I think it might be useful in the JF Project. Again, I did not run into many issues. Though, I could not figure out how to put in the coordinates so that it would pop up to the exact location I wanted. Sometimes the search function for the locations was limiting, but I tried to work around it.
I embedded my Timeline and my StoryMap onto their own pages because I thought that would be cleaner than a blog post. Check them out by using the menu bar above!
What’s On the Menu?: It has a lot of text, all over the place, which makes navigating it visually confusing. However, the content of the website is insane. I really like how they had an entire page dedicated to how they accumulated data and continue to update the website.
Gilded Age Plains City: On its homepage, it claimed to be accessible to all levels of knowledge, yet going further into the website it seemed to get denser and denser. Plus the titles of the pages on the website menu seemed more complicated than needed. Why call it “interpretation and narrative” when you could just say “the murder story”? Especially if you’re claiming to be intellectually accessible to the mass public.
Virtual Paul CrossProject: I was actually introduced to this website in a museum course as it was an example of making historical architecture and sites accessible to scholars who otherwise could not physically make it. I really enjoy the simplicity of the color scheme, but I think utilizing different size fonts would help clarify subject headings in the larger chunks of text.
Walden, A Game: I liked the basic color contrasts between the graphics of the game and the darker website: it brought the attention to the game, which is the focal point. I, personally, do not like websites that have continuous scrolling instead of individual pages. It may seem simple, but I like to have a clear cut end to a topic.
Looking at these different examples of Digital History made me realize how picky I am about layout. I really do not seem to like massive chunks of text. I think that that has a lot to do with your intended audience, of course. I also am a fan of using a darker color scheme and basic layout for the website itself and playing with images and text/font/size/colors for the content in terms of layout. Blocks that move too much are sometimes frustrating; especially as we move into an era where we are using touch screens more than a desktop computer and mouse.
I spent one winter break researching local historic institutions’ use of Omeka and PastPerfect for cataloging collections for a smaller, non-profit museum in Northern Virginia as they tackled the huge task of a site wide inventory. I was able to play around with Omeka a bit and get a good understanding of its functions within an institution as a record keeping system. I was excited to see that Omeka was something we could use in this course and taking a look at the different examples listed, the usage of Omeka seems to be more broad than I was introduced to.
I was intrigued by the Histories of the National Mall website with its interactive map. I hadn’t seen a map function like that before: with multiple layers that could be searched through. The map held over three hundred entries. It felt like a creative way to visually introduce historical content instead of just listing it or using a timeline. However, the map was sometimes hard to navigate using touch screens or a track-pad mouse. Nothing is perfect, but that did make me think about ways to make it more accessible.
I am taking Digital History because I am a history and american studies double major with a minor in museum studies and this class fits with what I need and the times I have available! It also helps that I took a course with Dr. McClurken last semester that peaked my interest in American technology and the ways in which we represent it.
It seems like Digital Humanities is a much broader look at how the digital era is revolutionizing the appearance and function of humanities. Digital Humanities includes art, English, and history whereas Digital History is a smaller branch.