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.