The past few weeks have been amazing, with the project all things seem to be coming together. We managed to finish up all of our planed interviews, and are now looking to see if we can/should be outreaching to any other interview candidates. We have also been working on many aspects of our website, I am astonished of the progress and ideas that the group has tackled. The visual aspects of the site are melding and provide pride for calling it ours.
With all these aspects and branches of our videos and documentations its feels good that we now have most all the ingredients to make our website everything we wanted it to be, and quite frankly maybe more.
There’s not much to report this week, the group is mainly finishing up loose ends at this point. All of our Murray letters are on the site, I just need to put up the tif files on all of my letters. At this point, we just need to record readings of each of the letters, finish the “About Us” page, get the Slaughter letters up, and tweak the site so that it looks good. We are in the stage that we are just tying up loose ends and wrapping everything else up. I imagine it will not be long before we are completely done with the project.
We are making a lot of progress uploading metadata and images of the diaries to the site. Our group has been discussing and updating each other on how we are formatting our information so that there is a sense of consistency throughout the site. For example, we have chosen to use dates for the title of each diary page using the format of month, day, and year such as August 1st, 1862. We chose this format because it is similar to how Gordon titles most of his pages. To help us decide on information to add to the metadata we are using the Omeka Library guide that was made by Carolyn Parsons in special collections. The only major issue we have had is that when we started uploading images they were not showing up but that issue has been resolved.
I am still trying to find the pension record on Stephan Gordon but the national archives that should have it takes several weeks to get the copy back to you and also it costs money. At this point, I think having the index record that I found included in the page about Gordon would be beneficial because interested people could do further research to track down his pension based on the information on the index record.
We have a lot of work ahead of us still but I think we are making good progress and I personally am learning a lot about the decisions a group has to make when formatting information because everyone can do it their own way.
Since our last presentation, my group has accomplished several things. Firstly, we have just about uploaded all of Murray’s letters to our website. Once Murray has been completed, we can then upload the Slaughter letters. The StoryMapJS based on Murray’s letters is over halfway done and we were able to fix the zooming problem. Murray was actually more specific with his locations, other than just giving “Washington, D.C.” as a general area, than I originally thought, so it looks much better now. Secondly, we have our letters chosen for the audio recordings for both sets of letters. Matthew and Breck will be going this afternoon to get these completed. Thirdly, the introductory video has been started. Last class, Breck and I went through and chose clips from reenactment videos he had found. I then extracted the clips for our video. Also for the video, I have begun photoshopping the best images of Murray’s uniform as they have glare. I have never used Photoshop before, so another group member who is more familiar than I will likely have to make more tweaks. I also started a group Google doc so we can begin mapping out exactly what our video will include. We anticipate it will be 2-3 minutes long and will include general information about the Battle of Fredericksburg, Slaughter, and Murray. Fourthly, Kim has finished the home page website design, which looks wonderful.
Hello once again everyone. As you know, I am one of the members of the Convergence Center group and I have some news for you. I have completely edited four of our seven interviews, but have only uploaded three of them to YouTube. The seventh interview will be going up either at the last minute or after the project is completed, so I’m more than half way finished with them. Once I have all of them up on YouTube, I will list the videos as public and add various annotations on the video and links in the description for our website and the interviewee’s website. The last few videos will be uploaded by the end of this week.
The reason why I have only uploaded three of the four interviews is because I ran into a small problem while editing. The Cartland Berge interview was missing some footage, but luckily we caught that and downloaded a back-up before completing the editing process.
Other than that, everything is going fine. We decided to schedule a walkthrough to record all of the HCC’s resources and spaces that the students can access. We may have one or two more interviews to do, but we have finished all of the main ones who were involved in the building’s creation. Our main goal now is to focus on our website and make sure everything is nice and organized for our audience.
This week my group finished 3D laser scanning, photographing, and recording video footage of the objects. We also had the added surprise of the James Monroe Museum asking us to include a sixth object, the James Monroe musket. The Director wanted to include the musket because it illustrates a common problem in museums. According to Monroe family lore, James Monroe used the musket for hunting, took it to college at William and Mary, and fought with it in the American Revolution. However, the lack of supporting documents and the fact that the musket is an amalgamation of other muskets makes the story difficult to prove. I think it is a good object to include in the digital collection because it highlights the issues with interpreting poorly documented objects. Posting a 3D scan and photographs online may also eventually lead to viewers offering new information about that musket or muskets of the same time period that could help the museum.
The end is upon us. So I met with Mrs. Chase today and put all the files from the scanning onto my external hard drive; it was all over 10gbs! I just need to put the transcripts that I did onto this hard drive and all the scanning and transcriptions will be all in one place. Moving forward, I am met with a challenge that is not directly associated with this website. As my college career comes to an end, it has been quite difficult to dig down deep and find motivation to apply myself to the best of my ability. However, I know that I will be able to push myself to finish out my semester strong.
In the past week the main work our group has been involved in is the inputing of the diaries into the Omeka site. Following the trend of struggle I have had with Omeka this semester everything went along great till there was a glitch.
This week we realized that while we had all been uploading the site we had forgot to officially agree on a standard for the titles of each item. Realizing this we sat down last class and made a decision how to label each item and made sure that each group member was aware of the standard. The only issue was that each of us had to go back and manually edit each item for the small formatting mistakes. In particular I forgot to add a comma after the date and had to manually go back into over 100 entries and add the comma. While tedious I am glad we realized it now and not at the very end of the whole project.
Another issue was that we did not set up the path correctly for connecting images to the site. So half of the images we uploaded had to be uploaded again after we sorted this out. Again an irritating moment. Other then these two hiccups though the uploading process has been going along great. James finished imputing our largest diary and other diaries are close to completion. Other group member have been working on completing our summary page and Gordon page throughout the week and we are working on changing some of the visuals on the site to improve the quality of the site.
We have begun making headway on the organization of our website. This week we need to start focusing more on that, and deciding how we will present the information on our website. The good thing is that we have no shortage of information. The tricky thing will be sifting through all the information we have and determining from that, what is important, and how we will organize it. Monday, we are conducing a video walkthrough of the HCC, with managers of each main room talking a bit about the purpose of the rooms and their functions. After this, we should have all the video content we need for our site.
While progress on the James Monroe Museum 3D scanning project began slowly, it is now progressing on schedule. Last week my group and I filmed three videos of Jarod Kearney, the curator at the James Monroe Museum talking about three of the objects we have scanned. Additionally, we took still pictures of the objects for internet users to view as well as the 3D scanned images and videos of the objects. The videos have been successfully downloaded to my computer and the next step is to start editing them. This week my group plans to focus on getting more information on the website and to complete all pictures, videos, and 3D scans of the five museum objects.