For this review, I decided to look at sites that have similar goals as my group does!
From the first list, I looked at https://civilwaronthewesternborder.org created in 2014
My first impressions of this site are that I like the blend of colors. The red and blue are dark which contrast the white lettering on it. I realized that the colors are those that make up the American flag which fits the overall theme of this website. Another aspect that I found useful was the mission and vision statements. I feel like they were very clear and that I was able to measure if they succeeded in their goals based on those statements.
I then went to the timeline and saw that it has some neat features such as filters, embedded links, and additional snippets of information if you click on them. I then looked at the maps section and found that it was very similar to that timeline as it has a filter and embedded links that will take you to other pages on the site. The lesson plans section was also neat, although this is probably something that we will not pursue.
It is very organized and uses a multitude of primary and secondary sources including images, scholarly essays with each having its tab on the menu on the home page. Most, if not, all of the site is functional and I did not see any signs of “wear and tear” on the site page.
The first site from the second list is https://davisdiaries.villanova.edu
I chose this one since it was relatively similar to what our project entails. At a first glance, this site does look a bit older than the previous one and it is in fact from 2012. A few things that I liked were the keywords at the bottom with the bigger ones appearing more. The color choices also coincided with the main primary source, the diary, and its page color which added to a rustic atmosphere. While I think that they did a great job of transcribing every single diary entry, the site does not seem too user-friendly. I find the top menu which just includes numbers to be a bit daunting and every time I clicked the button to go to the next entry it would show what looks like to be some things that were meant to be kept behind the scenes. The thing that threw me the most off is the top menu which has options to go to other sites. It is odd since they take you directly to Villanova University’s library page which is extremely different from the Davis diaries page.
The second site from this list I chose is https://valley.lib.virginia.edu
I remember hearing this reference during last class so I thought that I should give it a read. It seems like support for the site ended around 2007, and I can see how some of this site may seem antiquated. Some portions lead to nowhere and even some of the primary sources are not very accessible at all. I found some of their maps a bit hard to read and would require some additional explanation or just for them to be a bit bigger. Other than that, there is a plethora of information coming from different types of primary sources ranging from maps, pictures, government records, and newspapers. The display can be a bit scary since the ain page has links that are organized into what seems to be an overhead view of a building. These links then lead to very barebone search pages which were still mostly functional. I feel like there is a lot of information here which is something that I want to have on my site, but I also see how there needs to be an effort to keep things functional and accessible to others. I also hope to avoid having this barebones look, since I want our site to feel alive!
The last site I chose was https://slavery.virginia.edu/memorial-for-enslaved-laborers/
This last site is different than the others since it served as a proposal for the UVA slavery memorial project. This site was created back in 2013 and I checked and the memorial is standing there right now. What was most surprising was how the site was still well maintained and regularly updated! Many links included more information on the broader aspects of the importance of this project. The site was relatively simple yet it carried much historical value through the use of images and videos to understand the importance of recognizing slavery in their college’s history. Overall I like the amount of space dedicated to ways that the audience can find more information. The site itself also emitted this aura of importance since it included many other links to key institutions which helped and are a part of their effort.