I came into this course very ignorant of digital studies, since I had never taken a digital studies course and am not very technologically savvy, but I feel that I came away with a greater understanding of digital tools and the significance of digital history. One aspect of digital history that had not occurred to me before taking the course was how digital history projects can make history more accessible for anyone. In this day and age, an internet connection can enable people from around the world with different backgrounds and education levels to access academic historical work. As a history major, I can take this knowledge with me as I continue my studies and could use digital tools to share history with broader audiences in the future. I was initially intimidated by the prospect of creating a digital project, but I learned a lot and have a new appreciation for digital studies and digital history. I am proud of the product my group members and I created, and I no longer feel as intimidated by digital tools.
For me, researching about the name changes of the University of Mary Washington institution was the easy part of the project. I enjoy diving into a topic, finding sources, and constructing text about the findings, so I was able to research quickly and effectively for my designations of the project. However, I was intimidated by LibGuides, and I had to learn how to use the platform relatively quickly. Some aspects, such as editing to input text, were not intuitive, and even toward the end of the semester, I would still frequently hit the wrong edit button. It was also confusing to me that putting in links did not immediately hyperlink them, which is a feature I am used to on other platforms. I particularly struggled with inputting images, since they were all different sizes, but I eventually figured out how to implement them without it looking completely overwhelming. Alyssa also suggested using a gallery feature for the pages in which I wanted to put multiple photographs, which worked out much better than my previous attempts. Ultimately, by the end of the semester, I became fairly knowledgeable about the workings of LibGuides and would feel comfortable working on that platform again in the future.
I think we followed our contract well. We met our mission, which was to create a location for resources about the University of Mary Washington’s name change and time as a college in the University of Virginia system so that our institution’s history could be more accessible for others, especially alumni. I also think it was good that we split the project into two smaller projects to better handle the information. The division of labor into two different parts of the project enabled us to do more with the project as a whole. Generally, we stayed well on track of our schedule and were even head of schedule at times, but we did hit some unexpected snags, such as creating and embedding the timeline, that occasionally put us a little behind schedule. Trello was definitely helpful in making sure that we were still hitting deadlines and, since our group was comprised of two smaller groups, keeping track of the other group’s deadlines too, holding each other accountable, and to ensure that we would reach the deadlines set for the entire group as a whole.