Working on our James Monroe Political Cartoon site this week, my group has been working its way through labeling and tagging the basics of our cartoons. In doing this, I can safely say that my group and I are happy that we chose Omeka as the base for our website because it has been so easy so far to do this task. By Sunday we should have all the cartoons labeled and we will be working on cartoon research over break. So far everything has been smooth sailing and I am so happy that everyone is getting along so well :).
Archive for February, 2012
Part of this weeks out of class and out of group assignment was to learn more about Wikipedia and how it does history on the web. Honestly, the Ted Talk video we had to watch really enlightened me on what exactly Wikipedia is other than a good place to get primary sources for research projects. Hearing about how this vast web site work is fascinating in both a research and sociological sense. I also now think that Wikipedia does not always get the credit its due. Sure, anyone can go in and edit a page, but they make sure that there is enough manpower that keeps pages at its most true state.
In looking at various history pages on Wikipedia, I focused on the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the Johnstown flood pages. In observing these pages, I find that both have a good amount of academic research put behind its creation. There are also pictures which are rather interesting and not always commonly seen (like hte caskets of the victims of the factory fire). Also, both pages discuss recent events, like the factory fire centennial anniversary last year in which the U.S. Secretary of Labor and Mayor Bloomberg spoke. Overall, both pages show a great chronology of what happened during that event as well as display its legacy. It really is a great example of how history is done right on the web because essentially, our web pages will be like Wikipedia pages in terms of the information we present, layout, and how we display our sources.
This week has been all about revising our plans for the rest of the semester as well as thinking about who is looking at our site. As a group, we needed to be more specific and have a better idea of what we wanted our site to look like. We decided to go ahead and create the base site on Omeka and are pretty sure we have all the specifics laid out for the rest of the semester.
Thinking about our audience, as a group we automatically jumped to the conclusion that those most interested in our site will be visitors to the James Monroe Museum and academics. Reconsidering this after our talk with Dr. McClurken, we reconsidered and realized that everyone, from teachers to artists to newspapers, maybe interested in our web site. Its funny ho we thought our web page would be limited in outreach when really the possibilities of attracting anyone are out there. I wonder if there is a tool, maybe a guestbook plug-in? That would allow us to keep track of who from what field is looking at our site.
So, besides being a little over dramatic, today (February 8th, 2012) my group and I gathered together and wrote down a rough draft of our contract. We were able to cover the entire contract within one hour and were easily able to jot down the programs to be used, tasks to be done, and divide the labor evenly amongst us. Tomorrow our group will meet in the classroom and take advantage of the time available to make a final draft of our contract and send it to Dr. McClurken. I am very pleased with how the group is working together and relieved to know that we are all equally hardworking and eager to work on this project.
The title to this post is a reference to last semester’s 485 meeting on presentation and apparently the stereotypical History major loves maps! I like maps, but I would not necessarily say that I am in love with them…
Anyway, this week we practiced our “Google Fu” and in particular, focused on using Google Maps and Google Earth. Using Maps, I made a map of the walk I take to get to the James Monroe Museum from the UMW Apartments:
The experience I had with making this map was overall good. The only difficulty I had was making the line begin and end where I wanted it to. I would use Maps for my project in a similar way that I already have: to point out where the James Monroe Museum is located if it is so desired to go take a look at the political cartoons personally.
In using Earth, I made a tour which shows the route I drove to get to High School four years ago. It was fun, however, I do not think this software is really applicable to my project. However, if I was in the historical markers group or even the UMW buildings group, I would use this program to do a tour of the markers/buildings on campus.
Overall, I enjoyed this week’s assignment. It really is an eye-opener on how these commonplace web applications can be used for both fun and academic reasons. I am really enjoying what I am learning so far!