So this is a little late, but last week we worked with Hypothes.is to update the Digital History book. It was quite interesting. The section I worked on what regarding ownership of online sources. Most of the annoations I made were actually not regarding policy changes, as those have remained pretty steady, but complications to rules. I noted a lot of ideas and rules that were mentioned that have since been complicated like music and Youtube as well as fair use and classrooms. For the book, some of the rules may be the same, but the layout of the board has changed dramatically in some ways.
With the project being due on Tuesday next week we are finishing up fine details and fine tuning little things. For me personally, that means a list of website edits including things that need to be done amd others we’d like to have done. I need to add final featured images on the site to replace the temp photos I originally put in as well as cite the pictures I have already changed. I also need to reformat some of the pages like changing the artifacts page to a Hotspot library with all of our videos as well as previous projects on the James Monroe Museum as we decided to include those in our hotspot. Emily added a bibliography page so we need to get that updated and I am working on finishing our About page and adding a brief description of each page to explain each pieces purpose. Some possible changes that aren’t entirely necessary include changing the color of text when hovering over a link. Right now its a baby pink and while its not that bad, we want to see if we can change it. We also want to resize the slideshow images so that they are thinner and don’t overpower the main page so much.
Everyone else has some little things, most of us are editing videos and Emily will be adding in the closed captioning on all the videos once they have been completed. Sarah is researching previous projects. Lesya is waiting for all the videos to be done so that everything can be put together. While it seems like a lot I’m confident it will all get done and be beautiful.
When we first started the project, we progressed in our tasks than any of us could have anticipated. However, as time has gone and we’ve gotten to a part of the project that takes some more fine tuning, our deadlines have started catching up with us. Due to scheduling conflicts and Spring Break we finished filming later than we had originally planned, but still mostly meeting our deadline. However, it took longer to get the scripts finalized so we have only recently sent them to the Speaking Center for their aides to help record. Additionally, we had planned to finish editing this week, but without the voice overs and other time conflicts we haven’t been able to finish everything. However, since we have moved quicker in other areas we have more time now to focus on video editing and have even started on some of our reach goals like the StoryMap which Sarah has been working on. I know video editing won’t be simple, but at this point, it is our main focus so I am confident we will get it finished in a timely manner even if we haven’t been able to meet the deadline we put in our contract. I am very happy with how we have progressed even with some of our ups and downs.
Digital history is still a relatively new field that has evolved greatly during its growth. One key change that comes in many forms is that historians have had to learn to accept the good with the bad when it comes to online resources. Blevins describes some of the main “uses” of digital history: archiving, digitizing, and creating collections. However, this contrasts with what he described as the main goal of history, which is to make arguments. While historians have greater goals for digital history, its reality is more of a source material than a platform for arguments. Dr. McClurken also make a good point regarding the availability of online sources. While have the ability to access more material without having to drive to larger library and archive resources in D.C. and Washington is nice, many things are not accessible. They may only be partially released, there may be a cost associated, or the source may be contained in way that makes finding the desired content difficult. There is also the fact the reality available material (Wikipedia) is not necessarily a desired or reliable source. However, this technical “bad” can also be put to good use. One professor used it as a way to teach his students how history can be created on a public forum. While relyign fully on Wikipedia to understand material may be a bad idea, it can be used as an effective way to demonstrate how history is formed. Another professor believe it is important to know how Wikipedia works. Telling students not to use it does not really teach them anything, but instead can be used to explain parts of history instead of trying to site a historical fact. Digital history is fresh, but still growing. It is giving history a way to grow, to reform, a way to make it something more than an archive. For every bit a growth, there is a backlash that historians have to deal with. Historians must learn how to make lemonade out of lemons when the digital world gives them trouble.
This week we focused on how to create a digital identity. There is no set format or way to create this identity, giving people lots of options as they try to create a digital portfolio. Some lessons that I have learned while viewing others websites and advice blogs:
- From Jessica Reingold I learned that my profile does not need to completely serious. The language that she used was very personable and friendly. I also liked that at the bottom she included just some general likes and hobbies she has that let people reading her profile get to know her a erosion in addition to her professional experience.
- From Dr. McClurken I learned that you should link reverent content. To a certain degree I have this because I use my blog for many of my class, but I could add other material to help build my digital portfolio.
- From Build a Digital Footprint You Can be Proud of, I learned that while you cannot always get rid of something bad (like on third party publications) you can try to burry it under a lot of good.
- From How is the Internet Watching You, the fact that nothing that I do is really private was represented in a terrifying way.
- From Danah Boyd I learned that a digital identity is not something that you work on once and then never look at again. You should regularly review and update the public profile that you put out. Additionally, you should be aware of everything you post, not just your own blog. People can find you public profile and that nasty comment you made on so and sos blog as well.
This week has been trying to get back into the swing of things. However, we are definitely more ahead than we thought. We are essentially done with the 360 videos and just need to finish recording the rest of the artifacts which we will do this week. Then comes the harder part, editing. We have not really started on editing everything and have instead focused on getting everything together so that once we start editing we can go full speed ahead. I’m really happy with how the website turned out. It took some time switching between themes, but I think I finally found one that would work. While it is certainly far from finished, the website is making great strides. We ran into a small problem with our software for hotspots. Lesya is no longer connected to our original hotspots because they required payment. However, it seems as if my group may have found an alternative for our hotspots. Unfortunately, it may not work as we had originally intended with google maps, but we are working on making everything function in a way that will still be beneficial for our group and the museum. We’ve hit a series of small up and downs through the first few weeks of the project. However, we are well on our way to making this a great assignment.
Tuesday last week seemed to start off on a good note. We were getting our contract settled and we were starting to get our ideas cemented. However, we ran into a small snag when we realized that the HCC did not have a 360 camera available and the one in the art department was potentially going to be difficult to use. Luckly, the DTLC got one last week that we were able to use this week. We did our first day of filming on Tuesday this week. We got 360 images of each room to start and see how they look and figure out the editing process. We also filmed for 5 different artifacts. Our plan at this point is to go back next Tuesday and film the rest of the artifact options we were given and redo and 360 shots we know we need to do then. While we are still not sure that we will be making 10 videos, we decided to film all the artifacts as the decision on how many we will do will be based on how long it takes to edit the footage. Then, if we decide that the editing doesn’t take too long we can jump right into editing since we will already have the footage. We hit a few snags, but we are finally heading in a good direction.
This week we discussed contracts. In general, we needed to make everything a little more specific. We’ve run into a couple of snaggs since we couldn’t get the camera that we originally wanted, but hopefully we will be able to get one from the art department. In regards to getting more details for everything, we are working out more details of why we are using each tool and what we hope to accomplish with it. Although we thought we had enough, I can see why we need to explain more to ensure that what we want to do is clear.
Although we have added more specifics to our contract, we still need to get a 360 camera and learn to use it. Once we have done that we can get a better, more accurate timeline. We still have a few things to work out, but I am confient that we will get everything figured out to get our contract finalized.
We’ve gone over a lot of great tools so far and I can see how they can be useful in a lot of different digital history projects. However, based on what our group has discussed so far, it seems like our project will be mostly video based. We have a few things in our ambitious goals category that dip into other fields, andI know we are doing what the museum wants, but I wish we had the opportunity to utilize more of the tools being shown to us.
Creating the contact is going to be interesting. We have the main goal of creating the 360 tour and then several smaller potential add ons. It will be interesting trying to figure out what is feasible and how to format the extra ideas. I was thinking something along the lines of “here are seven other potential things we would like to do. We plan to compete at least three of these.” If we do more, yay, if not, we’ve given ourselves a workload we can work with while giving us the opportunity for more if we have the time.
The topic modeling was very interesting. I definitely think there were a few things that could be added to the ambitious column. Like the network of Monroe’s communications could reveal something interesting: who were his influencers and echo did he influence. I’m sure there are other ways we could format topics that the museum would potentially be interested in seeing.
One interesting way to use this would be creating a network that shows who James Monroe talked to and the connections between them as well. As president he talked to many people of influence and it would be fascinating to see who he communicated with. It could also be intriguing to see how those communications changed before, during, and after his presidency.
Another method would be to see the frequency of topics he wrote about to figure out what was important to him. This could be done using letters and documents that he wrote. Again, this could be compared to see how these views changed before, during, and after his presidency.