Archive for January, 2012
1) Zotero, Omeka, & RSS
I really wish that I had known about Zotero when I was gathering information for my History 485. It would have made saving journal articles much easier. In addition to research and citation purposes, Zotero could be used to save sites that you use for any other purposes, e.g. news sites, shopping sites, things to put on social media sites, etc. It is nice to have the ability to save items online without having to copy and paste them into email or favorite them. It is less hassle to access them at a later time, especially if you are not on the computer where you originally accessed those sites.
Blogs definitely can be used for other purposes than personal reflection. I have completed numerous blog projects for history classes, such as U.S. History in Film, History of Spain, History of American Technology, Writing Through Media, etc. I wrote for the Bullet for one semester and the Bullet sites enables the articles which one person writes to appear as posts on the Bullet UMW Blogs site. That way I do not have to search through the Bullet website in order to find my articles in the archives.
I am not very familiar with RSS feeds, but the way I understand them, is that they function like Google Reader, and even the Facebook Newsfeed or Twitter Timeline, to an extent. Omeka could be used for purposes other than academics. For example, you could do a site about your family and include pictures and such as collections and exhibits. I think that Mary Washington could use Omeka to add a creative flair to archiving its own digital history. Instead of having things on the main website, there could be an Omeka site that has different collections for different parts of Mary Washington history. This is similar to what our class is doing, but the school could take it a step further. There are links just on the Archives site, but those could be presented in a more creative way on Omeka. I think it would be a cool way to portray the school and its history. This is not to say that the Archives Page isn’t awesome, because I think it’s great to have so much of UMW’s history digitized. Omeka would just be an alternative way to present the information.
I think it would be cool if the UMW website had an RSS feed (and if there is one that exists already and I have not seen it, forgive my ignorance!). Then daily announcements or pieces of news that are important to the campus could be available right on the site, instead of having to look at the Facebook page or read through emails, etc.
2)Review of Sites
Valley of the Shadow website
I like the use of the map which is embedded with links to different parts of the project. It provides a simple outlook with a deeper examination with information and analysis. It is also well organized in the way that it is divided chronologically. This site provides the viewer to either read a lot of information about the topic in addition to searching the records. There is also a link to the homepage at the bottom of most of the other pages which is also helpful and does not require the user to hit the ‘back’ button numerous times. I would want to incorporate the map aspect into our site because we are doing our project on the UMW Buildings and having links within the map would help present the material in a clear and organized manner.
French Revolution Site
I like how everything is organized in a site map with embedded links that list links to other pages or just simply take you to the other pages. I think the maroon background makes it a little difficult to see what else is going on within the site, the strong color is a little distracting. The site could be spread out a little more instead of cramming everything into the left corner of the page. I would want our site’s homepage to be evenly distributed and not have the “too busy” appearance. I do like their image link and the animation used to introduce that page.
Archives @ UMW
I really like this site because the presentation of the images is very similar to what we hope to present on our site. It gives a good idea of what kind of images already exist and what new ones we can find to add to the uniqueness of our site. It also lists all of the campus buildings which is helpful to our site to make sure that we include all of the buildings. In addition we can figure out how to group the buildings if necessary, to make the site more organized. It is also interesting to see the way campus used to be and how it is now.
I like the “enter the page” link however, once I clicked the “enter” link, I was slightly disappointed by the blandness of the site. The chart was very boring and not colorful. Then the maps that the links on the chart took you to were interesting, especially since some of them were animated, but other than that, there is not too much information presented right away. You have to click on more links at the top of the page to see the information. It just seems like it is not well organized and the viewer has to do more work to see the information.
Gilded Age Site
I really like the organization of this site. There is a lot of information presented right away on the homepage which is not always good, but it is not too distracting and served its purpose. I really like the pictures utilized on all aspects of the site. There are helpful links on the left and then links within the pictures on the right. I also like that this site provides sources that they used and also has a document archive for legal documents, newspaper articles, photographs, etc. For example, under “Interpretation and Narrative” the text cites a newspaper article and within the citation there is a link to an image of the actual article. This site provides simple upfront information as well as deeper information that you have to find within the text. I would want to incorporate the use of deeper information into our site.
Omeka site: “An Aviator’s Story: Items from the Leonard H. Clark Military History Collection”
I like that the entrance to the collection is Leonard Clark’s appointment card from the War Department. You can then click a link to take you to the exhibit. On the homepage it describes the purpose of the site and how the site is divided. However, I was disappointed to find that a lot of the links within the various divisions no longer work or just do not have text within in any longer. The only one that works and actually displays text is the Epilogue. I have to wonder if the information was removed and transferred to another site? The digital collection does not contain any photographs as it claims it does nor does it have any other information either.
My name is Samantha Warring but I go by Sam, and I am a senior history major. I took this class to fulfill my last 400 level requirement, but I am excited about the projects that we get to create and to also improve my [somewhat poor] technological skills. I can do email, Facebook, and UMWblogs and…. that’s about it. I have a twitter account but I do not tweet very often. Besides this course I am taking History of U.S. Travel, Military History, and the American Presidency. This spring I will be presenting my senior history thesis on General Billy Mitchell.
I’m pretty excited about my group’s project-UMW Buildings! 🙂 I think this is going to be a really interesting project, and for me and all those other seniors out there, a nice way to say goodbye to campus right before graduation. Looking forward to a great semester!