Week 7: Update

Although the snow day last week meant that we lost scanning time we officially only have one more diary to scan. My group and I are excited that the scanning process is almost done and Mrs. Chase has helped us alot throughout the process. I have scanned thirty pages of the last diary and we have started converting the tiffs into pdfs and jpgs. I have also started doing research on events that occurred during the periods Gordon wrote the diaries to include in the timeline. We were having a little trouble getting TimelineJS to show up correctly on our website but I think we have fixed it. We are also starting to setup our website and will begin to enter the diaries as items with their metadata soon. I have also begun looking for Civil War images of Fredericksburg to include in our project on the timeline or in the summery of the Civil War in Fredericksburg.

I feel like our group is doing good and keeping on track. The scanning took a little longer then we expected due to us missing a day and since we all have to use the same machine only one person can scan at a time. I think we are back on track and our next step is to start getting things uploaded to our website. Have a great break everyone!

Limitations of the UMW 3D Laser Scanners

So far the process of 3D laser scanning has been one of my group’s greatest challenges. We met with our technical support a couple of times to learn about the different laser scanners and how to use them. Feeling confident that we could successfully scan the objects, we arranged for the museum curator to bring the bicorne hat and the wedding shoe to UMW for us to scan last week. We tried to scan the shoe first and found that the laser scanner could not distinguish between the black heel and the black rotating platform of the scanner. Then we tried to raise the height of shoe by setting it  on a book covered with a piece of paper. The scan successfully captured the form of the shoe, but it did not apply color, resulting in a lumpy gray object. We found out that neither of the rotating scanners apply color, despite that being one of the requirements we listed when we were learning about the scanners.

Yesterday we decided to try to scan the hat at the James Monroe Museum. Initially, we were going to try to use the Xbox Kinect laser scanner. However, first we had problems connecting to the museum’s internet, and then we were unable to get the computer program to recognize the scanner. We ultimately decided to place the hat and its mount on top of a stool to enable us to scan it with the Structure Sensor scanner on the iPad. The base of the hat’s mount reflected light, so the scanner was unable to focus on the hat. Fortunately, we were able to cover the base with paper, allowing us to scan the hat. We found that the Structure Sensor was able to capture the hat’s form and overall color pattern. However, it was not able to scan a deep crevice created by the brim, resulting in a hole in the 3D image. The Structure Sensor was limited in that the image must be scanned at once and cannot be edited or stitched together with another image. Finally, we also had problems getting the file from the iPad because it had to be emailed and the iPad was not connected to the internet.

Hopefully we will be able to find out how to successfully use the Xbox Kinect scanner or be able to check out the school’s laptop since internet access is problematic for the iPad at the museum. We could also try to bring the objects to UMW where we could use either scanner, although it is difficult to find times that work for both the curator and the scanning expert when the room the scanners are in is not occupied.

Mid-Point

Well, we’re about at the mid-point for the semester so far. In regards to my group’s project, I feel quite good about how it is going so far. We have been clearing all of our self-set milestones and deadlines so far, and we are all doing quite well with our own particular section of the work. The next milestones in our immediate future are doing some video work, which Kathleen and myself will be doing, and completing the task of reading through all of the letters. As I have typed up existing (handwritten) transcriptions of the Slaughter letters, I have already read through those letters in some detail. The Slaughter letters do present one potential difficulty going forward; they’re nearly all to Mayor Slaughter, rather than from him. We were planning to do some audio recordings of the letters, but the lack of letters actually from Slaughter makes this project somewhat problematic, at least in regards to Slaughter in particular. That future difficulty aside however, we are making good progress.

Halfway there

It is the halfway point in the semester and it is time to talk about where the group is with the letters.  Everything seems to be going well right now; we have a website, the letters have been scanned and transcribed (as best as they can be, some words are difficult to make out) and the group is well on schedule to being done.  At this point, all that is left is to actually put the letters on the website and anything extra we may want to do.  Before uploading the letters though, we are waiting on approval to use the Omeka plugins we requested which would make formatting a lot easier.  Without these plugins, it is possible that a single uploaded item in the wrong order could mess up the entire site later on so the sooner we get permission, the sooner we can upload everything with confidence.

Our future plans, aside from the letters themselves, are to create a front page, put up pictures of Slaughter and Murray’s belongings and Slaughter’s gravestone, and record readings of Slaughter’s letters.  Recording Murray’s letters may be difficult as many of his letters are missing various words.  Moving forward, our group plans to continue to do our best and we should have everything finished by May/late April.

First Milestone

Our first group milestone fell on Tuesday (2/23) of this week and it stated that we would have all the Slaughter and Murray letters as well as their transcriptions scanned.  We successfully completed all the scanning, but we do still have 3-4 of Murray’s letters left to transcribe because we thought the transcriptions of all the documents had been provided by the National Park Service (NPS).  This issue just recently came up and I emailed Luisa Dispenzirie.  It was not known until this morning that a few letters had actually not been transcribed.  Nonetheless, this can easily be corrected and the transcriptions completed quickly as the letters themselves are fairly short.  Another issue with the letters and transcriptions is that 2-3 of them seem to have catalog numbers penciled on them that do not match the spreadsheet we received from the NPS.  But Suzanne Chase said not to worry about this because cataloging errors are always common and usually an easy fix.  The next task with the letters is to read through them all, but this milestone does not come for a couple weeks yet.

The next milestone falls on March 4, which is next Friday.  By that day, Breck and I will have visited and filmed Slaughter’s grave in the Confederate Cemetery downtown as well as Murray’s belongings on display at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center for the introductory video to be placed on our website.

Project Update

At this point, my group has our website created, as well as four interviews set up with faculty/staff involved in the HCC, for the week after Spring Break. The first of these  meetings is with President Hurley. Personally, I am very much looking forward to speaking with him. I think he will provide a great perspective on the building that we may not have had otherwise. We plan to ask him about his involvement in the building, as well as what it means to him having the building being renamed after him. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say. Hopefully, after the four interviews we now have set up, we will have enough information to begin working on the timeline for our website. We can continue to add to it as we conduct further interviews. It s exciting to see the planning of our project start to form into action. My group also went on a walkthrough of the building with the Building Manager of the HCC, and all of us learned many capabilities and features of the building that we never knew about.

Tomorrow in class, we will present to the class where we are with our project so far, where it is going, technical issues we have run into, and challenges we have faced. I look forward to hearing where other groups are with their projects.

Project Update #2

Hello everyone! Today, I’m bringing you a small update for our Convergence Center project before the first big presentation. We ended up scheduling most of appointments for our interviewees for the week we return from Spring Break. We will be interviewing Hurley on Monday and quite a few people on the following Friday, so we will be quite busy. I’m not too worries since we all had training for the upcoming interviews.

We had some trouble with the test site that we were messing with. We needed a way to link pages and posts together and luckily, I remembered how to do that. I didn’t do it for all the pages because I wanted everyone in the group to be okay with it. They were, so we ended up finalizing our domain name after being unable to add-on to the actual UMW website. The name of our site will be explorehcc.umwhistory.com and if it works out in the end, whoever manages the UMW website can merge our site with existing Convergence Center one.

The last thing we ended up accomplishing  was gathering some files from John Morello to help expand our timeline. Since only one member from our group, Andrew Steele, was able to meet with him, I can’t really talk about the files, but I will do so in a future post once I see them for myself.

Project Update #2

Hello everyone! Today, I’m bringing you a small update for our Convergence Center project before the first big presentation. We ended up scheduling most of appointments for our interviewees for the week we return from Spring Break. We will be interviewing Hurley on Monday and quite a few people on the following Friday, so we will be quite busy. I’m not too worries since we all had training for the upcoming interviews.

We had some trouble with the test site that we were messing with. We needed a way to link pages and posts together and luckily, I remembered how to do that. I didn’t do it for all the pages because I wanted everyone in the group to be okay with it. They were, so we ended up finalizing our domain name after being unable to add-on to the actual UMW website. The name of our site will be explorehcc.umwhistory.com and if it works out in the end, whoever manages the UMW website can merge our site with existing Convergence Center one.

The last thing we ended up accomplishing  was gathering some files from John Morello to help expand our timeline. Since only one member from our group, Andrew Steele, was able to meet with him, I can’t really talk about the files, but I will do so in a future post once I see them for myself.

Project Process

The past few weeks have been a blast, as far as our project is concerned, dismissing the snow and weather. We have had the privilege in taking a tour of the entirety of the ITCC, from the man with the key to every room, the head of the ITCC. The tour was amazing from back rooms with masses of technology to the little perks and specialties that can be located or seen throughout individual rooms. The tour showed us the vast opportunities provided by the auditorium, from a large room for events to a click of a button to operate a set of fully functional bleachers to the broadcasting capabilities of a University show.
Another great step we took towards our goals the past weeks was taking a class to verify/certify our use of the Green Screen room (Video Production Lab) and the sound booth room. Not only do we plan on displaying the capabilities of these rooms, we plan on using them. The class was full of equipment and safety knowledge along with a wide array of excitement.

Wikipedia and Creative Commons

I was given the task to look at the Discussion and History tabs of a few Wikipedia pages, so I decided to look at the featured article about Myles Standish and a random article about Jacob van Ruisdael. Beginning with the Discussion tab, it was actually a lot better than I expected it to be. I was kind of expecting it to be in the same tier as the YouTube comments. Meaning, I thought the users were going to be pretty bad and not cooperative. Referring to the Standish page, they are mostly discussing facts about Standish and letting others know why they edited a piece of the article. Some users even had a discussion on how Standish’s first name is spelled because the article itself keeps going back and forth between “Myles” and “Miles”. In the Discussion tab for Ruisdael, there wasn’t that much, but the few users did discuss if a certain spelling for Ruisdael’s last name was helpful to the article. They ended up deciding that it wasn’t, so one user removed it. They were  also worried that they may mislead someone with the image listed on the page. Some may think it is an official painting of Ruisdael even though it is stated that no one knows what he looks like later in the article.

Looking the History tabs of both articles, there isn’t really anything that stands out to me personally. The Ruisdael article is slowly being worked on. It began in 2006 and since then, it was edited 44 more times by 20 users. Compared to Standish’s 98 edits by 42 users, it’s pretty small.

To conclude this section of the blog post, I have the say that the users of Wikipedia are actually pretty friendly and are willing to help each other out on various articles. The discussions show how much the contributors care about the articles they work on and how much they want to make it the perfect article for informing the reader of whatever topic they may be looking at. It makes me wish more online communities were more like Wikipedia’s. The History tab was also pretty interesting in the fact you can compare all of the edits together to see how the article evolved over the recent years. I like how it’s there for public viewing, so you don’t have to use an extra tool like the Wayback Machine to view the article in its early years.


 

For our future Convergence Center website, we probably wouldn’t use a Creative Commons License since we are most likely going to pass the finish product over to the university once we finish and they can decide whether or not they want a license. If I had to choose one though, it would be the ShareAlike license, so that each of us could still be credited for the foundation of the website.

Copyright isn’t much of a problem for our project, be we have to make sure that if we do a video trailer or walk-through, we need to use some CC music and not a copyrighted song to avoid the videos form being taken down. We also need to make sure that our interviewees sign off on a form saying that they agree on being  part of our project.