History 428

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 http://huginn.net/shoebox, which has a collection of Norwegian letters, and https://newroots.lib.unc.edu/, 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.