Project Reflection

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.

Blog Post 9

The due date has arrived!

Throughout this semester, I researched, gathered research, dealt with archives, learned how to use LibGuides, and wrote the pages about the history of the naem changes and the changing of the institution’s presentation/marketing alongside the name changes via mascots and logos. I put a lot of time and effort into this project, and I am proud of what we have managed to accomplish.

However, I am a perfectionist, so there are still some elements on our website that I would have liked to change or improve, if I had had more time.

I learned a lot about digital history, aspects of public history, and the curation of digital projects this semester. Through this course and project, I gained greater insight into how the discipline of history can reach broader audiences using digital tools, which will stick with me as I continue my history degree and as I enter the workplace. Before beginning this project, I considered myself unfamiliar and uncomfortable with digital tools, and while I am still not very technologically savvy, I am grateful to have learned the background of digital history and the basics of some digital tools, technology, and methodology.

Blog Post 8

I think we are in a pretty good spot, but there are still some things we need to do.

All that I have left, personally, is to finish off the school spirit page, in which we share information about how the school’s marketing, logos, and mascots have changed alongside the name changes. I will also continue to update the bibliography. I have also added images to the website, although I am not completely happy about how they look, so I may keep tinkering with it.

We also need to bring the two groups together to complete the home page of the website. We have a general plan and outline for it, but have not actually started adding the information, about us and the general project, to it.

Blog Post 7

In the readings I read, a significant change for historians regarding the increasingly digital world was the increased access to archives and primary sources. These sources are abundantly available online, often for free, to a possibly detrimental effect, since the sheer number can be overwhelming. Today, a historian could do all their research digitally, and anyone around the world with access to the Internet can also access these archives and historians’ digital projects, such as the Digital History reader, which increases accessibility to knowledge and academics. This accessibility also creates an overlap between digital history and public history, expanding the audience due to the Internet’s wide-reaching scope.

However, the digital world has also affected how historians evaluate scholarship. The AHA’s guidelines for the evaluation of digital scholarship argues that historians in digital studies should be evaluated based on their innovation in the discipline to advance scholarship, expanding the field and audience, an evolution of the expectations for historians.

Cameron Blevins also critiques digital historians for prioritizing the potential and future of digital history instead actually creating and engaging in arguments about the past. It seems that for a while, at least, historians became focused on the future of the field rather than history itself because of the dramatic changes and potential of the digital realm.

Digital Portfolio

I created a new subdomain,, to display my digital portfolio. It is definitely a work in progress, and probably needs some introductory text for each topic. For now, though, I have uploaded my resume and some of my academic work that I think displays my academic ability and skills. I am an intensely private person, so I find it difficult to figure out how to best share my work and how to portray myself online.

UMW/UVA Project Update

In the video below, my group members and I discuss our plans for the UMW/UVA project. We have also considered the use of video in the website for our project. For now, we do not plan on using video, because we do not think that the medium will be necessary for our project, but we are not opposed to utilizing videos if the need arises.

Blog Post 3

The website Virtual Angkor, a project that begun a decade ago and whose site appears to have been created around 2018, utilizes digital technology, such as 3D modeling and simulations, to create a virtual visualization of Angkor during the twelfth century. The website is easy to navigate, with clear headings that provide explanations alongside images and videos. I would like to incorporate visual media into the project my group is working on as seamlessly as Virtual Angkor. I think that the chosen theme, which is appears modern and highlights images, fits the project well, since the focus of Virtual Angkor is visualization. I also think that the page that provides modules consisting of different topics which teach the history of Angkor Wat is an engaging addition that may help people with no prior knowledge better travel through the site, and encourage teachers to use Virtual Angkor in a lesson plan, while sharing both the history and digital visualizations of Angkor.

My first impression of the website Digital History is that it looks old, especially when I checked out the main domain, which has a very modern design, although I was unable to find out when exactly the website was created. I also found it mildly frustrating that the primary heading did not take me back to the home page, which is a relatively standard feature, and the subheadings—eras, topics, resources, and references—were also unclickable and seem redundant, since the subheadings are essentially repeated below. I hope to avoid these minor inconveniences in the design of our project. However, the website still fulfills its function, which I think is the most important aspect. Although it took me a minute to figure out how to navigate the site, once I did, it had an abundance of information for each section, including an overview, textbook information, documents, events, important people, relevant music and films, images, etc., and none of the links I clicked were dead. In the project my group is working on, I hope that we can also have as much relevant information and that none of our links become dead, although I know that is a real possibility that can be hard to avoid.

The 2012 website Memorable Days: The Emilie Davis Diaries opens directly to Davis’ diaries, getting straight to the information, with some information about her to the left, which, if clicked on, also provides information about the team that worked on the project, and a picture of the original diary page, which can be enlarged, to the right. Although the design is slightly outdated, it wasn’t distracting. I really appreciated that the website provided both transcriptions of Davis’ diaries, with annotations providing additional information for readers, and direct access to the specific primary source documents. I would like to incorporate access to primary sources in our project, although we would likely need to do it through hyperlinks. I think this website did a good job of packing so much information in each page without being overwhelming. However, I would have liked a more prominent About section to more easily learn about the background of Davis and the team that created this project.

The final website I looked at was Digital Durham, which was included in The Journal of American History 100 no. 4 (March 2014). The website was created in 1999 and its design looks dated, but it still functions well and is well organized. I would like to avoid making a website that will eventually look dated, but I suppose that may be inevitable. The website provides a collection of primary sources, which can be navigated by medium, through Library of Congress Subject Headings, or with a search bar, which I liked and would like to incorporate into my own project, since there are a variety of methods to navigate the collections and one can choose which works best for them. The scholar who reviewed the website suggested that it would benefit from additional context and information, since it only provides basic information. While I agree that additional information would be helpful to gain a better understanding of the history of Durham, the website is geared towards K-12 students, which is particularly evident given the page that provides information about lesson plans, so it is understandable that the people who created the website may have wanted to keep it fairly simple.

Blog Post 2

I looked at the Omeka sites, which has a collection of Norwegian letters, and, which has oral histories of Latin American migrants in North Carolina. I am actually from North Carolina, which is one of the reasons I wanted to explore the New Roots website.

A Shoebox of Norwegian Letters is very well organized and easy to navigate, which I found helpful. The site is simple and intuitive. However, it was very text heavy, which felt overwhelming at times. I think the website could have benefitted from more multimedia elements, such as the embedded Google map, which allows site visitors to see exactly where the letters came from. I also found it mildly frustrating that clicking the Home buttons led me to a different page, which thankfully included credits, a list of updates, and a general overview of the site, but also included a giant link that just headed back to the website. It felt a little like a cycle or something.

New Roots took advantage of multimedia elements, embedding videos and interactive maps, which was a helpful way to visualize data and information. I also liked that one could navigate the site in English or Spanish, which makes the information more accessible. However, I found some of the design elements, like the text on the home page, difficult to read or distracting. Ultimately, though, the New Roots website is fairly easy to navigate and is well oranized and categorized.

Blog Post 1

I am taking this class because I am interested to learn about how digital studies can be used in the discipline of history. I also think that it would be beneficial to learn how to use digitial tools, even though I am intimidated by them. I am also interested in digitizing history and making history more accessible to the public, because I think that everyone deserves to have access to history.

I found the definition of digital humanities to be a bit convoluted, but it seems that digital humanities is a field, often used to encompass other digital studies, that prioritizes collaboration, experimentation, and openness; however, Stephen Robertson suggests that digital humanities has a more shallow understanding than digital history. According to Robertson, digital history is more democraticized and radical, seeking to share knowledge with and reach the wider public. Digital history also makes use of the multimedia naure of digital studies, allowing the discipline to focus less on text sources, which are often the primary focus of historians.