Digital History Tools

Digital History Tools

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

-Google Reader

-Omeka

-Zotero

-Google Docs

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.

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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.

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