This past Thursday, the James Farmer Lecture group had re-evaluated our rough draft of our proposal. Using a lot of Professor McClurken’s advice, we changed around our mission statement, our primary goals of the project, and the division of labor.
We have figured that our group has to overcome technological obstacles – such as loss of footage of James Farmer’s first four reflection lectures. Although the audio was recovered, the poor quality of the tape was not salvageable.
Our group had the idea of a complete archive of the video and audio of all thirteen of James Farmer’s reflections available online without much editing on out part. We discussed last week, during our review of our group contract rough draft, that we could get much more creative with our website by editing small pieces of each lecture that are only a few minutes long, highlighting the most important parts of Farmer’s reflections. Not only will it allow the group to get creative in displaying these valuable resources, but it is also a way to allow the viewer/audience have access to specific aspects instances of his reflections on the Freedom Rides or personal relationships with other Civil Rights Leaders. With shorter clips, our audience can zone in on specific reflections without having to listen to an entire twenty five minute lecture.
This past Thursday February 9th, my group and I decided it would be the perfect time to create our group contract that is due this Monday, February 13th. We discussed our mission statement, our objectives, how we decided to split up the work, and even created due dates so that we do not let ourselves get behind.
So far, we have decided to create a digital archive for thirteen lectures that James Farmer while he was at Mary Washington College. There are video as well as audio clips that we will upload and stream via SoundCloud and (hopefully!) Vimeo. We have a WordPress website already, in its early stages.
We have been using the help of Jim Groom and Tim O’Donnell to allow us to use their already digitized copies of the James Farmer Lectures. We have also been trying to get in touch with Vimeo to see if we will be able to use them as a video host. Although Mary Washington now has copyright for the videos, we were not the original creators, which may cause a problem with hosting a video on Vimeo. A local news station, WNVT-TV Channel 53, created the lecture videos and gave us the copyright. After WNVT-TV had merged into a DC news station they had lost track and had no records of even creating the video.
Overall, I think the objectives and goals of our project are very clear (which my group will elaborate on when the February 23rd presentations roll around.) I think my group members and I feel that this digital project is not only very interesting, but that we will be able to positively impact and reach to a broader community for all interested in James Farmers reflections and the Civil Rights Movement.
I studied abroad in Scotland last Spring, so I tried to create a Google Map that was my typical walk from my flat in Edinburgh to a lecture hall on the University of Edinburgh’s campus. My walk – created on Google Maps – was actually not very easy to make and frustrating. I could create and drop multiple pins down, but drawing the route that I took between my flat and class was not easy. The line would be about 4 blocks over from what I wanted, no matter where I dropped the pin. I think that the collaboration feature of the map is probably the most useful utility of creating your own Google Maps, if the lined route feature would work. I figured the map would be useful as a university walking guide, because you could take/show shortcuts that don’t follow main roads, similar to the campus of Mary Washington.
I have used Google Earth before, but I have not downloaded it to my currant laptop. As Tim was saying in class, Google Earth acts faulty on older computers. I have a 2008 Macbook that, I believe, would not be able to use Google Earth to its full potential. I think that both Google Earth and Google Maps are extremely useful and effective tools for digital history projects, especially the collaborative feature. For my group’s project of archiving James Farmer’s Lectures, we had all collectively agreed that it is unnecessary to use Google Earth or Maps for our project.
Here is a list of some of the tools we have looked at in class so far when it comes to research and collaboration:
-WordPress and Timeline
I have worked with Google Docs before in my HIST 299 and HIST 485 classes, have used WordPress for HIST 299, and I have also used Omeka for a previous digital history project. Google Reader and Zotero are new for me – which is great considering I will probably be using those the most for our James Farmer digital project and for collaboration in this class. Using Google Reader is helpful to see the updated blogs of everyone in the class so I can easily comment on a recent blog post. For a more creative or interesting use of the RSS feed is subscribing to certain twitter users. I would always go through the Twitter feed looking for my favorite tweeters and I would have to scroll through the rest of the twitter accounts I follow, on the twitter feed. Using an RSS feed, you can keep updated for specific tweeters and not have to search for all of their tweets through the twitter feed.
I can also see myself using Zotero for other courses, like my History of Women in Latin America class as well as my Non-Western: Buddhist Art History class. Specifically, I’ll be using Zotero for my large research project for Professor Poska’s class on The Post-Colonial slave trade in Brazil and the new relationships between women of different class and race. As for creative ways to use Zotero – I can definitely see its advantages with the collaborative feature. For example If you are trying to keep in touch with a group of people, say from a study abroad program and you are all across the country, or around the world, you could use Zotero to find blogs, pictures, or even programs of study that would all interest the group, as a form of communication and possibly collaboration.
As far as general looks for websites go, the Valley of Shadows website had nice layout of their categories of place and subject, but the aesthetics of the site were not pleasing. The words were not centered and spread across the screen and had no margins. I appreciate the color scheme of the Exploring the Revolution website AFTER you leave the homepage. For some reason I could not access the UMW archives page. I think in order to have a successful historical website, one needs to have a balance between aesthetically appealing site and a user friendly site, as in a site that is easily navigable. For our James Farmer video project, I think that we are trying to create an archival site that allows the user to feel as if they are a part of the audience of the James Farmer lectures, as if they were present. We still have much to work on when it comes to the actual layout or architecture of our site, but we are coming up with a few creative ideas.
I’m Laura, a senior, double major in Classics and History, and I will be graduating this May.
I have recently become interested in the digitization of historical artifacts and materials when I began working as an intern at the Fluvanna County Historical Society in the Summer of 2009. I started as an unpaid intern, and worked my way up to Senior Intern the past two summers. I created a Facebook page for the society, as well as a Twitter account and even worked on a collaborative digital history project – Piedmont Virginia Digital History Project – I have worked with PastPerfect software and even have experience in displaying museum exhibits.
All of this experience prompted me to look into graduate programs that specialize in museum studies, but more specifically with a focus on digital management. I applied to a few programs and decided to accept a conditional offer to the University of Glasgow for Information Management and Preservation(Digital) that I will begin in September of 2012. I am so excited to go study in Scotland for an entire year! So once I complete the one year masters program I will be accredited by both the Archives & Records Association and CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) to hopefully become a digital curator.
Needless to say, this class will give me a great background on collaborative work and digitizing history! Working with the James Farmer group I think will be one of the most rewarding projects that will not only impact the University community but anyone who is interested in James Farmer’s incredible work during the Civil Rights Movement, the Freedom Rides, or the formation of CORE.