It’s strange to think that we started our projects a little over three months ago – although I definitely feel that I have dedicated much of my time to this project, it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long! I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about Digital History and gain important skills so that I can go forward in a career that might use WordPress, archival research, or digitization. So before I begin my review of how I’ve fared this semester, I just wanted to thank Dr. McClurken for teaching us so much about the digital world and for letting me be a part of the COPLAC-sponsored project.
I cannot even begin to describe how great it was working with my Century America team; Jack, Candice, Leah, and I worked extremely well together and knew that we could rely on one another as support and critics throughout this process. This really helped us put together our site since we knew that if the other members didn’t like a formatting or style decision that they would let us know and as a team we could figure out a new solution. Even through our struggles at the CRHC and trying to frantically decipher edits at 2am, we thoroughly enjoyed working on this project and getting to know one another as colleagues and as friends.
As for the actual research and website creation, though we did encounter some setbacks and obstacles, overall we didn’t have much to worry about and just had to focus on compiling the information and deciding how we wanted to go about creating our site. In the end we decided it was best to create a narrative of a few key stories to the history of Fredericksburg and the State Normal School during the Great War rather than simply digitizing as many images and documents as we could find and creating a virtual archive. I think this was a smart decision on our part because we were able to make our research personal and informative, and incorporated some digitized images that really added to the narrative.
We were also in charge of creating the overarching Century America site since we had four people working on our project instead of just one as was the case for the rest of the participating schools. This was a fair decision, but it was still kind of stressful because we had to make sure our decisions meshed with everyone else’s! It was also difficult waiting for responses from the other students regarding images, events for the timeline, and citations for both of these, but I guess that’s what happens in a virtual class where we never physically met our classmates and where most of them were unfamiliar with citing in the style of Chicago or Turabian.
Our struggles mainly revolved around communication with others, whether it was the archivists at the CRHC, our virtual classmates through Century America, or simply being baffled about embedding the maps (but luckily DTLT was there to help us!). We didn’t encounter any issues within the group and were able to fully rely on each other, knowing that we would accomplish what was necessary and at a reasonable time in accordance with our contract, which I am happy to say that we fully met all of our goals and requirements with time to spare. I know our “weekly updates” might have seemed a bit boring and redundant, but that was only because we were lucky enough to have completed a majority of our site pretty early on so that the rest of our time could be devoted to editing.
I am extremely happy to say that I am proud of our final outcomes for both the UMW Century America and Overarching CA Site during this semester in which all of us were busy but able to keep on top of this project as well as our others. I thoroughly enjoyed the days spent at the CRHC (it was still fun despite setbacks), in Special Collections, and our goofy group chats. I’m really going to miss working with a great group of people – thank you Leah, Candice, and Jack for a wonderful semester of teamwork and camaraderie, thanks to our virtual classmates and those in ADH for your feedback and comments, and thank you Dr. McClurken and Dr. Pearson for all of your help, guidance, and advice. #ADH2014forever #HIST1914always