Each of these articles brought a different idea to the table. I like how each talked about this idea using varying approaches. To me, one of the most important ideas here is those of Sharon M. Leon. She talks about many key issues that the historian faces in this ever-changing landscape. She states that public history is pointed at a specific audience. Our work needs to be engaging and be able to reel the readers in. This goes in hand with the thoughts from those involved in the HeritageCrowd Project. I like their distinction of who the audience is actually composed of. As scholars in the field history, our work tends to have a more niche audience. Whether it be other scholars interested in that area or others in classroom setting. On the other hand, the work in digital public history necessitates that historians drop the history lingo and adopt a methodology that the layman can understand. They need to not only make the site accessible but also the information and their sources too. This reality forces us to rethink what we put in our public project but more importably how we display it. A positive aspect of this reality is that it will make our projects much more appealing and understandable regardless of their level of interest in the historical field. I feel like the overarching theme is that thinking like a historian will always be important. We need that for various other research projects. However, we need to remember to sort of distance ourselves away from that mindset and rewire out brains to help bring the information to an audience that may have no stake or knowledge in what we are doing. These articles have encouraged me to reflect on the next few steps in our project which will be outreach and how to encourage people to stay on our site.
One last note, Leon also talk about the necessity of digital historians to code. Personally, I have struggled with this idea since I have never been good at those types of things. However, she puts it nicely by saying that all it requires is someone who is willing to tinker around. I feel like this is a very important concept that upcoming digital historians need to understand because I feel like many, like myself, have been intimidated to enter this area of history due to our inability to code or what not. I really liked her ideas and it reminded me of my group’s efforts to make things work despite not knowing the system too well!
This week has been a little slow, I’ve been slowly going through the tagging system and making sure that all of the backend functions work. I am also slowly working on making the site a bit more accessible. The others in my group are also doing their part, as they will talk about in the presentation tomorrow. Overall, the site is coming together bit by bit. After talking with Alex, we found that it would not be possible to come into contact with the Schwarz family. Therefore, we will go on with our previous decision to stay true to the way the scrapbook was presented to us. We will have the biographies ready for viewing on the presentation date in the next two days.
I chose this name for this post because part of the revitalization of my site included a facelift. I took some of the practical and philosophical lessons about digital identity and applied them here. I added more pages that include more information on myself and the site. I changed the header image to reflect something cleaner than a distracting cityscape. It is meant to be something abstract which I feel relates to my site due to its peculiar nature. I really like the way it looks now since there are now other pages and sections which help create a sense of confidence for both myself and my site. There are still more things that I want to improve such as the consistency of the site. While I do not plan on blogging every single day; like I learned yesterday I can do so whenever it is not a burden to me. Overall, I plan on growing this site with more projects and ideas that I will implement here as soon as I come up with them.
After looking at the many websites that were on the list I obtained much useful information through the examples and ideas presented in them. The first few websites that I looked at included Dr. McClurken’s and https://rebeccawingo.com/. These two taught me that simplicity is often better. Sometimes it is better to have less flashy backgrounds and opt for a more subtle choice of full colors. I looked at my own blog and I felt like this is an area I can improve upon. I would like to change the color and even put a picture of myself on the about page too. I also plan on making it a bit more user-friendly and organized. From these two sites, I also learned that it is acceptable to have long pages full of text. I used to think that it was not visually appealing to have a long page filled with words and no other images or elements. this is especially true if you are trying to have the audience focus more on the content.
Other lessons that I learned come in terms of what a blog means to me. I really enjoyed reading Dan Cohen’s thoughts http://dancohen.org/2006/08/21/professors-start-your-blogs/. I think his thoughts are essential for anyone who wants to start a blog but has doubts about what to include in it or how to treat it. In his site, he dispels some of the common myths surrounding blogging. Some of these ideas are ones that I believed in too. One od theme is that there is a constant need to be blogging (on a weekly or even daily basis). He states that blogging does not need to be an extensive activity and you can post everyone once in a while which is ok. One example of this is in https://matthewbsanders.com/blog/blog-six-months-later. His blog is interesting since he used to blog consistently but then took a 6-month break to conduct a mental health journey. I read through them and found that it was a very refreshing read since I was able to see progress and his insights since the last time he blogged. Reading this made me realize that it is ok to take breaks, both due to our mental health and our busy scehdule. We are college students after all:)
The last two lessons I learned are in the philosophical realm of digital identity. The first is from one of the 6 Key Selves of Networked Publics. I feel like increasing traffic and engagement in my site is one of the next steps that I will take. This ties into the idea of the Performative/Public Self. This aspect of digital identity is one where interaction and status are key. I wanna find new ways to interact with others who may venture onto the site through the more things I post on there. I realize that it is ok to link other portions of my digital identity, contrary to how I previously thought that was unprofessional. the only issue is that I do not go on there too much. The last lesson I learned is to consider my digital identity affects my real identity more than I previously thought. If used correctly, my site will be able to reach more people than I will be able to reach in person. Therefore, I must remember to show create an honest representation of myself. I should not be afraid to express my opinion on my own site, and by failing to do so I am also failing to create an honest reflection of who I am as a person.
Things are looking well! We have been ahead of schedule in some aspects, while we have caught up in others. Without spoiling too much of the project update we have in store for tomorrow (we have made significant improvements), we have also made some big steps in preparing the backend of the site. Looking ahead, I want to start improving the site’s look. I hope that this website is not only interesting because of the information that is displayed on it; but also because it feels welcoming for anyone curious about it. Like many things with Omeka, this will require a bit of tinkering on our end. While we have finished much of the monotonous portions of the project, apart from some of the more interesting parts which include the creation of the other exhibits; we can now look into the joys of making this site as beautiful as possible.
This does not mean that we are finalized with the uploading and transcribing. We intend to go back to double and even triple-check what we have already accomplished. We have already begun to review some of the work and are looking into things that we want to change and improve upon.
Overall, I am very optimistic about where this project is going since I feel like it is branching out to areas that I did not even know we were going to touch upon. I say this because we are going to have a meeting with Carolyn Parsons to get to know her and obtain additional insight into the original source which will do right by it as well.