Digital History: Civil War Fredericksburg

Entries Tagged as 'dh2010'

Week 13

April 14th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Wow, less than one week left. I can’t believe it. I feel like my group is at a pretty good place right now. We have most if not everything up on the site right now we just have a few detail oriented things to focus on (like make sure links work).  Right now I’m currently overwhelmed by my other classes I have 3 books I need to read, but I’m a fast reader and two of them are about 100-200 pages.

I’m really glad that Research and Creativity Day is over and we got a spiffy little certificate. I feel like it went alright, could’ve been better but was not the worse job. I think my group was a little bit nervous especially when we arrived at our room and the moderator guy told us there was no internet in the room. Thankfully the other meeting room was open and had access to the internet, although it was rather slow.

I’m excited to see everyone’s final site at history symposium!

Tags: dh2010

Week 11

March 31st, 2010 · 1 Comment

So I had a minor freak out last night when I realized it was the 30th of March and we’re heading into April which means we only have a few weeks left. I do believe I’m going to begin living at the library.

Well, we received the maps from our map group and set about trying to make them interactive. I first tried Phlook which was… interesting but not quite what we needed. You could zoom in but you couldn’t 1. be zoomed in and click something on the map and 2. add pictures into the info boxes pop up when you click on the hospital. Soooo I e-mailed Patrick who referred me to Martha who suggested MapLib the thing that runs through googlemaps and thus has little push pin things on the map. Good news is the push pins don’t have to be the GIANT RED ones like on google maps they have many to choose (how about Darth Vader? or a buffalo?) from AND you can be zoomed in and click a hospital from there. Bad news,  the html codes the site provides do not want to be put into Omeka so I e-mailed Martha about it and she said she and Patrick would look into it.
As for the site I got my first section up about Sanitary Commission and I will start working on the section about Gettysburg. There is one problem with my section, however, it is not consistent with the other pages. I divided it up with headings with underlines but no one else’s looks like that so I’m going to have to edit it so it fits in but it’s all good it needs to be edited anyway. I tinkered with some HTML on the site too. There was some problem with linking to some of our items on the page the code was correct but it was not working until we tossed in a random space in it so now it works. I put the evacuation map on the site using <img src=”pic url”> and fiddled with the size and centering so it looked ok on the page. (for picture sizing you need ” <img src=”image url” width=”400″ height=”300″> and by changing the numbers there you can change the size.

Well, I got to go back to deleting all the e-mails that are spamming up my inbox from the survey thing and writing a Civil War Journal. Night!

Tags: dh2010

Week 9

March 16th, 2010 · 4 Comments

Today we met in class and worked on our project. I was helping Katelyn put in the information into the timeline spreadsheet to make it go faster and we managed to get all the general dates of the Civil War (Gettysburg, the start, the end etc) in pretty quickly and without much trouble. Then I set out trying to figure out how to put images into the timeline so when you clicked the event a picture would appear in the box. We knew it had been done in the past because the James Farmer group from last year had pictures in their timeline. After fiddling around with it I discovered that in order for the picture to show in the box that pops up on the timeline you had to paste the html in the “description” portion not the imgURL section. By putting <img src=”the image’s url”> in the description column of the spread sheet it got the picture to appear, so yay 🙂

I found in the Letters of Alfred J. Bloor mention of a mansion just down the street from the unfinished monument of Mary Washington. I was pretty certain this was Kenmore, the house of George Washington’s sister. I was thinking of heading down there one of these nice days or e-mailing them if they have any information.  Before doing either of these things I decided to check out their website and in the history of Kenmore area of the site there is a blurb about Kenmore being used as a hospital in 1864 including an excerpt from some Union medical steward who talks about being sent to Kenmore to work. Unfortunately, they did not provide a name for the medical steward. Maybe they will be able to answer that through e-mail or when I go down there later this week since I will be gone most of the weekend for Quarter-finals for rugby. Hope everyone is not running into any problems with their projects!

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Week 7

February 25th, 2010 · 3 Comments

This is a bit late but I’ve been extremely busy with various midterm stuff going on. For this week I haven’t had much time to go through the sources since I’ve been working on my Civil War midterm which is due later tonight. Once spring break comes along I hope to sit down and finish a huge chunk of reading for this class that I have pushed back a bit. I did present with Lauren today about our topic and I feel like it’s going pretty well. We’re ahead of schedule with our set up of omeka despite the fatal errors that kept cropping up. Patrick assured us though that he knew how to fix one of the ones that kept happening when we clicked on the pictures in the item section so that’s good news. I need to get back to working on my midterm but here’s a fun little article from CNN about gmail and what “graduated” from beta and what was discarded.

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Week 5: Snowmageddon

February 10th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Well, here we are in the middle of week 5. Our contract was turned in, with some problems. To say we had some communication problems would be… an understatement. Somehow in the excitement of the snow or whatever our group ended up having difficulties getting on the same page… literally. We had created a document for a work-in-progress contract and then two “final” contracts were created by separate members of the group. Thinking the same document had been shared with me (as I got an e-mail from both Taylor and Lauren) I looked at it. I started to make a correction on the one Lauren had made paused for a couple minutes while I looked at the contracts from the other groups and came back to find my sentence completed by someone else. So I just left it, there was nothing else I saw wrong so I thought there was no other reason to comment.

Now, I have to say we are fortunate that the breakdown in communication happened now, so early in the project so we can learn from it and figure out what works best for our group. If this happened right at the end that could be a catastrophe but now we should be able to fix it so it does not happen again.

I know usually, in a group, I’m a follower, I don’t like taking the lead, I don’t really like the attention. I do get what is assigned to me done though so I do do my part. I don’t know how everyone else really is in the group but, it seems to me, everyone feels reluctant to take the leadership role or step up for a bit. We all need to step out of our comfort zones. More ideas are better than less, I know I need to work on this myself when it comes time to suggest ideas. And I have made a step, I already started work on the revised contract and right now it is covered in the bright green font I used to show my suggestions.

Tags: dh2010

Week 4

February 3rd, 2010 · Comments Off on Week 4

So, Tuesday’s lesson was all about Omeka, which was helpful since that’s what my group has decided to use. I know it was mentioned as being a bit more complicated than WordPress, but wow. I’m a bit nervous as to how long it might take to figure out how to make pages and collections and such.  I guess we’ll find out once we get a demo site to fiddle around with. We have also discussed using a timeline on our site and I’m interested in figuring out how the exhibit site works.

I’ve been busy with reading the documents from John Hennessy on Male Relief Workers who worked in Fredericksburg. There are many documents and tons of pages, as some of these are actually books/memoirs/collections of letters of these men. I hope to be finished with this by the end of the week.

We have set plans to meet next Monday to finalize our contract but we also have in class tomorrow to work on it. Hopefully we’ll be able to work out some definite deadlines and such.

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Week 3: More Internet Tools

January 27th, 2010 · Comments Off on Week 3: More Internet Tools

Well, I have just spent the last hour or so perusing the Emily Chang- Ehub site. You can really get lost in it and it’s quite a fun way to procrastinate.I had fun but I had trouble actually finding a tool that might help my group. I did find a few that I might check out further in my own time (like Jinni, a movie suggestion site)

The ones I did find that could relate to the project would help more with organizing and scheduling rather than actually creating the site. The first one I looked at was Ketchup that looked promising from the list and description “Makes it simple to keep your notes from meetings, events and presentations organised”  We could use this if we meet up and discuss/divide up research or tasks and such. However, upon investigating the site it didn’t look that well done so I don’t know how useful it could be.

Springpad also looked interesting for organizing material. The website describes itself as “a free personal organizer to save and use just about anything – recipes, products, restaurants, ideas, notes, articles, and more.” It seems to focus more on the recipe/restaurants and less scholarly applications.

So overall I found these tools interesting but I feel like the google applications such as Google Reader, Google Docs, and the Google Calendar could work just as well if not better.

Tags: dh2010

Week 2: Internet Tools

January 20th, 2010 · 2 Comments

I hope I’m not the only one at least little overwhelmed by all the tools shown to us. It will take some time to get used to how to use them and be able to make the most of them. I had never used even googledocs or googlereader but what they showed us in class in Tuesday seemed like it would be incredibly useful. I know in my group, so far, Taylor uploaded the documents,that John Hennessy gave us, onto googledocs. This will allow us to have them some place where they can’t get lost and comment on them so our group members can see what we’ve done.

A couple of the documents on the disc that John Hennessy gave us had locations of some of the hospitals in Fredericksburg during the Civil War, what buildings they were (like a theater or church), and which division or doctor was in charge of it. I think we could organize this using the google spreadsheet that was demonstrated on Tuesday to better organize it.It would be cool if in the documents there was an address provided for a each and every building and then we could create one of the map things using that tool through google spreadsheet.However, the evacuation of Fredericksburg happened so quickly that not alot of detailed information was given about each building used just a few like “Catholic Church,” or “Masonic Hall-Princess Anne Street.”Once we have gone through the information that John Hennessy gave us I feel like we can use it as a springboard to try to find more documents that might pertain to our subject. We can use Delicious to share things that we might find with the group since you can share bookmarks. Aside from that I don’t really know what creative things you can use Delicious for, unfortunately still just working out the basics.

When is comes to a blog they could be used for personal reflection but they could also be used for research and communicating with others. For my history 299 class with Professor Harris we were required to create a blog and keep track of our progress of our 299 projects with hopes that someone somewhere on the internet would stumble upon your site and perhaps offer you help in your research. Now, no one happened up my research blog, Female Soldiers of the American Civil War, but some people in my class did have some luck with people stumbling upon their research and suggesting a book or primary document to read.

I’m torn between Omeka and UMWblogs for making the website. Like Patrick said UMWBlogs can be used to create a site faster where Omeka you need to fiddle with it for a longer time to get your site up. The extra time might be worth it because the Omeka blogs linked from the syllabus all look really well made but I suppose you’d need quite a bit of skills for creating a site like that.

Of the sites we were told to check out I’m not sure which ones I like the best. I like bits and pieces but none as a whole. The Liberty, Equality, Fraternity French Revolution site had a nice quick search and browse area. I didn’t like that from the “explore” part that if you chose something it’d take you to an incredibly long page of just writing. It just seemed… like too much writing for a website, it’s supposed to be engaging right? As for the Southern History Database I just could not get that one to work so I think it’s quite ineffective. I liked the setup of the Valley of the Shadow, where you clicked the map-like image of (I guess) archives (?). That would work pretty well for my project, I think. Have a map of Fredericksburg and allow the user to click the building that was used as a hospital and then take them to a page with more information or something.

Tags: dh2010