dh201027 Apr 2010 08:16 am

Top 3 things about class structure: 1) Groupwork 2) Blogging 3) Communication; very (very) effective, both through email and Google Docs

Top 3 things I’d change: 1) More mandatory time with DTLT; I know they are extremely busy, but maybe a few more classes with a representative from DTLT 2) Result of our map group; the idea is great, and we probably got the lemon of the class, but it seems as though our group didn’t care 3) Can’t think of anything right now…

Future Project Topics: 1) The impact of Mary Washington on Fredericksburg throughout the years; purchases of property, construction, impact on local population (how do the residents of Fredericksburg view UMW) 2) The evolution of the Free Lance-Star; early merging of the two newspapers –> now

Advice for Future Students: Take full advantage of communication wonders like Google Docs–communication is key for good group work. Be open to your group member’s suggestions, and offer your own. Don’t forget to blog, it’s simple enough to do the reading and write a short blog about how you responded. But most of all, have fun!

dh201021 Apr 2010 03:52 pm

As a member of the Alumni Images group, I can say without reservation that I am happy with the result that we created: an interactive, ever-changing website where Alumni can visit and reminisce, or, as we hoped at the beginning of the semester, contribute information about the images we have made available for viewing.

At the beginning of the semester, we wrote our mission statement, not knowing if everything we wrote down could be reasonably accomplished by four undergraduates; we were optimistic. After Mary Ann and myself met with Carolyn Parsons, the UMW Archivist, we decided on four main goals:

1. Handpick and Identify 200 photos: While 50 images each didn’t seem like a lot to us in the beginning, at the end, we haven’t identified them all. At the beginning, Dr. McClurken said we were at the mercy of Alumni–if they didn’t visit our site, we would have a tough time getting information on the images. While we’ve had over 25 Alumni sign our guestbook, and 300+ people visit our site, only a handful of Alumni have helped identify images (one of which was my cousin Becky Guy).

2. Create a place where Alumni can visit and reminisce: Check! We definitely accomplished that. Our site has over 150 photos on it, all from MWC/UMW throughout the years. It gives Alumni a chance to look back at their years here and remember the “good ole days.”

3. Help to improve the current UMW Archive: Check! Our project has yielded tons of important identifying information on previously unidentified images in the UMW Archives. The images we chose now have names to the faces in the photos–the Archives can now catalog this information for the betterment of their records.

4. Create a system so that the site will continue on: Check! We have created a “User Manual” for how to run the site, and have made it available on the back end of our Omeka site so that anyone who has access to the back end can reference the guide. We each took a portion of the user guide to write, and we feel as though we could safely hand off the project to the next group of people, if necessary.

We started out as wide-eyed undergraduate students who were interested in the prospect of a digital history course, but were unsure exactly what it was all about. I can safely say, now at the end, I am beginning to understand the many changes that the history field is making. Our project helped me realize the importance of digitizing our history, and it is my fervent wish that our site continues on into the future, and I will volunteer my time in the future to making sure that occurs.

Thank you to my group members, we worked extremely well together and produced a product I’m sure we are all proud of.

dh201013 Apr 2010 09:34 am

Usually, my Mondays are pretty simple: I wake up around 10, go to gym class at 11, get lunch at 12, then just relax and maybe do a little work for the rest of the day. Monday the 12th was  a bit different: For one, my gym class was cancelled; two, I had a big Historic Pres project due on Tuesday; three, my parents were in town; and four, our group was presenting at Research and Creativity Day. So, I woke up at 9, went to the drafting studio in Combs and got my project done and then practiced my speech from 1230-1, until my parents arrived. From then on, we came to campus and walked around on what was one of the most beautiful days in recent memory.

I arrived at Woodard at 145, immediately being told our presentation was bumped back to 215, instead of 2. That gave me some time to down some fruit that was sitting out for all the presenters to enjoy. Our group had to fill out a consent form saying it was alright to be filmed and to have that tape deposited into the Special Collections of the library–an honor in my opinion.

When we entered the room, and 215 came around, it turned out the Mary Ball Washington group and our group were the only people in the audience, minus Dr. McClurken and my parents. Not that I get flustered when speaking in front of an audience, but yesterday felt like a typical Thursday afternoon in front of the class. Both groups gave their speeches, exchanged business cards, and entertained questions from the audience a.k.a. my Mom. All in all, a  good day.

Group-wise: we received a “final” map from our Geography counterparts, but the map itself is a little fishy. I recommended we send them a copy of the campus map the University uses for incoming freshman and visitors, just so they could have an example of kind of what we were looking for. However, they seemed to take that recommendation as using the exact same map, but tuning it to our desired specifications. I agree with our group members that we probably don’t want to put a “pirated” version of the school’s map onto our website.

dh201006 Apr 2010 09:47 am

“A blog is a web site that easily allows an author—or many authors—to make regular updates in the form of log entries, which are automatically archived as new material is posted.” This was taken from David Voelker’s “Blogging for your Students” article online.

In this article, Voelker goes into the growing importance of blogging, especially in the academic environment. James Farmer (not our Farmer), said “[Blogs] are the tools that people are using, and they are using them for a reason. And that reason is that they help us communicate better.”

I agree: the blogging we have done in this course alone, has helped me communicate with class members that I may have not regularly communicated with due to the division of the class into 4 groups. Additionally, blogging by both students and their professors creates a much more close-knit, intimate environment–I think the extra communication is very beneficial.

dh201006 Apr 2010 08:34 am

With a mere 31 days until the fateful day of graduation, deadlines are approaching rapidly. However, there is still work to be done.

After reading Dr. McClurken’s article for Archives 2.0, I was even more enlightened than before (even after almost finishing this Digital History course). The fact that the online world is almost a day-to-day change can be very overwhelming, for both students and professors.

Dr. McClurken states in his article that educators and professors need to be more open to the changeability and constant evolution of online archives/sources of information. Now, I have often been called a blind optimist, but I feel as though professors over the age of 60, 1) probably do not use as many online databases as they should and 2) probably are “already set in their ways” and would not keep up with the rapid changes in today’s online information troves. This last thing, as Dr. McClurken stated, is essential to educating students on how to use online archives.

Dr. McClurken also goes into the issue of institutions of learning not communicating directly with the archives themselves. Again, perhaps the optimist in me, but I hope that 1) if I get an internship at the National Archives I can 2) maybe take these suggestions from this article to their attention. Who knows…

dh201031 Mar 2010 04:15 pm

With Easter (and brunch) quickly approaching, our group has settled into the groove of researching, improving our website gradually, and hoping/praying for alumni visits and input. Currently, we have a handful of alumni who have visited our site and signed our guestbook, but currently, Dr. McClurken is the only alumni to have contributed information.

We have another insert in the Alumni Newsletter this April, and we have our fingers crossed that this second blurb will bring even more alumni to our site. I am currently setting up Google Analytics onto our website, which will also help with tracking the number of visitors we have.

While researching yields some information, there is nothing like getting information from the alumni themselves–the people who actually knew the people, knew the times, etc. Also, whenever we have alumni visit our site, we feel as though we have accomplished something. I guess patience is the key, but the end of the semester is coming quickly.

After that, we hope to make it possible for someone to take over our site and keep it going. I’ve thought about possibly continuing to maintain the site for the school, but wonder if the need/desire is there. I’d be open to talking it through with whoever makes those decisions: library staff, Dr. McClurken, etc.

Here’s our site, enjoy! http://umwhistory.org/projects/images

dh201023 Mar 2010 10:55 am

This week saw a return to reading and learning about the digital history field beyond UMW’s campus walls: google videos, Victorian essays, and a lot, lot, of data.

The first thing I tackled was the Peter Norvig talk, found on Youtube, something I found very interesting. Whether it was the Sherlock Holmes piece of wisdom, the explosion of searchable English words from 1970-now (thanks to the Internet), or the many different ways in which you can interpret data—I thought the video was very informative.

Next, reading the McGray text kind of blindsided me: “If Google has its way, all of English literature will one day exist as searchable digital text.” Maybe I’m already getting nostalgic about sitting in the library, quietly browsing through books, newspapers, and/or magazines, but this shift (happens) is startling.

Additionally, in class, we talked about the changes needed to be made at UMW: apparently I was in the minority for having to read weekly chapters from Turabian’s guide during my semester in 299. I proposed a gradual phaseout of certain Turabian readings, and in its place, substitute some of the readings prominent to the changing field of history i.e. McGray’s article or an article about copyright laws/issues in today’s world.

All in all, I’m excited about the changing field of history, but even though it’s changing, I hope libraries will change also, so they won’t be phased out, like Turabian.

Uncategorized18 Mar 2010 09:46 am

At 00:01 Monday morning we successfully launched our website and made it public for all to see! We met our deadline of March 15, and are very eager for people to visit. In fact, my normal routine of checking my email, facebook, boxscores, now includes checking our guestbook, powered by Google spreadsheets.

As of now, we mostly have personal friends and family who have signed our guestbook, but we also have important Alums like Cedric Rucker and Dr. Jeffrey McClurken. Professor McClurken also has helped us identify people in two of our photographs, the current chair of the Environmental Science Department, as well as an administrator who was standing next to Dr. Crawley at the James Monroe Center ribbon-cutting celebration.

Overall, this has been a very momentous week, and we look forward to sending out another mass-email to alumni soon, with the letterhead of the Alumni Relations heading our email. We have begun looking through yearbooks and identifying unknown people–this will continue until the end of the semester. Please visit our site and sign our guestbook!


dh201010 Mar 2010 08:29 am

After a uncharacteristically chilly 6-day stay in Savannah, GA with no internet connection, I returned back to VA to find it warmer up here than it was down South…who knew?

On Tuesday, our group met with two members of Dr. Hanna’s geography class where we shared our ideas with them and also talked about their ideas about how to put those ideas on a map. Our idea was to have a map that shows the progression and expansion of the MW campus throughout the years, but were unsure exactly if it was possible for the geography students- those worries were put to rest quickly.

Downtown Savannah

Our idea is going forward nicely: imagine a map with Willard, Virginia, and Monroe shaded in red; this red color represents the first buildings on campus. The next grouping of buildings built would be shaded in green, the next in blue, etc. So, the final map will show the progression of the construction of our institution’s buildings through a color code. We’re pretty happy with that, simply because our idea is now becoming a reality.

Our site has all of our photos uploaded and organized, which is great because now we have a few days to fine tune it and “make it pretty” for our launch date on March 15.  We have a 3-5 minute progress report on Thursday where we’ll share a really cool piece of information that occurred over spring break. Stay tuned.

dh201024 Feb 2010 08:31 pm

With Spring Break on the horizon, travel plans to the beach, warm places, or simple vacation at home are on everyone’s minds. However, our group was busy the weekend before Spring Break, and have been busy trying to stay true to our milestones. Fortunately, our group has stayed true to our calendar and milestones and are on track.

One of the biggest milestones we successfully met was attending the Alumni Board Meeting on Saturday the 20th. When we first arrived at the Jepson Alumni Center, we were waiting outside the meeting room unsure on how to enter; we eventually asked one of the aides walking around the building to “announce our arrival.” Once inside, due to the announcement of President Hample’s resignation, the agenda was backed up and we had to wait a while to make our presentation.

I didn’t mind sitting through the meeting; I felt lucky to hear about the intricacies of how Alumni interpret how our institution is doing: the polls published saying UMW is #2 in terms of Peace Corps participation, and others. However, one thing I’d like to note, we were being compared to elite institutions like UVA and William and Mary–while this is a very nice goal, those “ivy-esque” places of higher learning are in a league of their own.

Once we got the stage, we presented our project to the Alumni, taking turns explaining each part of our projects, goals, etc. Throughout, the Alumni were excitedly talking to their neighbors, seemlingly very interested. Afterwards, this observation turned out to be true: we received a rousing appluase and many approached us at lunch to congratulate us on a good presentation and offered to help in any way they could.

Overall, our group seems to be on track in every aspect, which is good going into Spring Break this Friday.

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