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Adventures in Digital History Spring 2020

Civil War Letters Week 7 Update

So far the group has been focusing mainly on scanning. We still have a little over 120 letters to scan, so we are a little behind schedule. We were trying to be finished by Spring Break, but we should finish scanning soon after break. We are behind because of some obstacles that we have encountered, such as missing letters or letters that were out of order. While we are scanning we follow specific guidelines for organizing and labeling the scans that we outlined at the beginning of the process. Attached is the spreadsheet that we have been using to keep track of the letter scans. This will make them easier to find and access for us when we need to integrate them into our Omeka site, and also for when we send to the NPS for them to have in their digital archive.

We have also started to plan and work on the Timeline and Storymap. Erin and Dennis will be collaborating on the Timeline and Hunter and I will be collaborating on the Storymap. We had a hard time figuring out how we would collaborate on the Storymap because it is not possible for two people or accounts to edit the same map. The solution we came to was creating an email account for the whole group, which we used to create a Storymap. We all have the credentials to the email, so we will all have access to it. After break, even though we will still be scanning the letters, we should remain on schedule in regards to the elements of our site.

Categories
Adventures in Digital History Spring 2020

Wikipedia and Copyright

I have never done an in-depth reading of Wikipedia. I do what most people probably do: skim page for the one piece of information I need and then pretend that I got it from a “more reputable source,” denying that I ever visited Wikipedia. I put “more reputable source” in quotations because many of the articles found on Wikipedia are very well edited and monitored. Of course, Jimmy Wales champions the reliability of Wikipedia because it is his organization and he is, as he puts it, its monarch, but it is also apparent by the open forum editing process that each article undergoes.

I looked at the Talk and View History tabs on several different history-related Wikipedia articles with varying levels of controversy. Discussions in the Talk tab were usually very detailed and constructive, with some exceptions. They all varied in length and content, but something that I found in many of them was a discussion of bias and objectivity. It is important for creative commons to be objective in order to provide information that is as close to the truth as possible.

The View History tab allows viewers to see past iterations of both the Talk page and the article itself. I was surprised to see that most of the articles had been revised within the last month. I thought that this could have been because the topics I looked up were major historical events, so I searched for a more obscure topic. That article had still been revised only a few months ago. It showed that creative commons can be very well maintained.

It is unclear what role copyright will play in our Civil War Letters project. The letters and the transcripts are likely the only aspects of our project that will be subject to copyright procedures because they are really the only materials we have to work with. We will have to discuss copyright procedures with the NPS because they are responsible for the letters. After we have that discussion, we will incorporate any copyright requirements into our project.

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Adventures in Digital History Spring 2020

Civil War Letters Week 5 Update

This week we finalized our group contract by making it more specific. The aspect that we were having a little trouble deciding on was what to do for accessibility options. The main things we will focus on will be color contrast and alternative text for documents and pictures.

We are making good progress on scanning the letters. We have run into a few obstacles, such as missing letters or letters that were in a weird order, but we have been able to work through those things with the help of Angie and Luisa from the NPS.

Categories
Adventures in Digital History Spring 2020

Civil War Letters Week 4

This week we drafted our group contract for the project. We have a realistic prospective timeline of milestones that we need to accomplish. The most important thing we are focusing on right now is digitizing the letters. In terms of division of labor, we will all be scanning as many letters as we can each week in order to get them done by the end of the month. We will all be working on different aspects of the website as well. One of the things that we are not sure about is how many extra features, such as topic modeling, we will have time to incorporate into the website. As the project progresses, we should get a better idea of what we will be able to include in the website. We will start working on the website and planning out how we are going to design it soon once we get a little further along in scanning the letters.