Archive for September 2006

Readings, Readings, Readings

September 25, 2006

Is it just me, or did some of these readings seem a little technical?  The charts explaining the different bytes were very helpful though.  It’s amazing how much information is out there, and how much we are producing on a yearly basis.  Of course, classes like this one are helping to add to those never-ending percentages.  It would be interesting to know how much it has changed since 2003.  The numbers are probably mind-boggling by now.

I found Turkels article on teaching historians how to search and spider very interesting.  It is definitely a skill that is becoming increasingly mandatory for anyone involved in research, and I am definitely going to check out that “How to Read a Book.”  One thing that I think is lacking, however, is that young historians are not necessarily ever really taught how to search in libraries and archives; teaching them to search the Internet first may contribute to the problem of “if Google can’t find it, it doesn’t exist.”

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Wiki Wiki

September 13, 2006

Editing Wikipedia was pretty easy, maybe a little too easy.  If I was a bad person, I could have typed anything in there.  Check out my edit to the Post-War years at Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlington_House%2C_The_Robert_E._Lee_Memorial

A note on the readings…

September 12, 2006

I find the concept of wiki’s very interesting.  It is a very neat way of getting information out there and contributing to the information already on the web, but I am still a little leary of open source web sites.  How do you know which post is legit?  Do they catch all the vandals on Wikipedia, or just the obvious ones?  They cannot possibly employ enough people to check all the facts and sources for their thousands of posts.  Even if the mistakes are common, they are still mistakes.  I would much rather use information from experts, even if it is original research, but with an open source site, anyone can change it at any time.  I would much rather have a closed site, (closed in that no one else can edit it, but anyone can look at it) and have people e-mail possible corrections and other information for the publishers to go through.  If the site is valid, they will post the changes and all is good.  Wiki’s just seem too open to manipulation for me to fully trust them.  If I find something on a wiki, I am more than apt to find it somewhere else (hopefully in print) before I use it as fact.

Reverse Engineering

September 12, 2006

I chose to reverse engineer www.colonialwilliamsburg.org for class.  The website is dynamic, you can roll over certain links and menus pop up for you to choose from.  The site also uses Adobe Flash player for slide shows and interactive menus.  The site also uses javascript for its events calendar.  Also, this site must have a database on the back end.  It has a search function, and many other user input capabilities, it cannot create a new webpage for each possible input, there must be a form and a database somewhere.  The site also uses CSS by Javascript, I found this in the source file.  The pull down menus, site map and search functions make the site very easy to navigate.  Also, it does not overload you with information and visuals right at the beginning.  It is not very busy and makes what you’re looking for easy to find.

Reactions to “Digital History”

September 4, 2006

The readings for this week really opened my eyes to the world of history on the Internet.  I always thougth that anyone could create a great website with little or no effort involved.  Cohen and Rosensweig made me understand that I really need to think about what I want the site to achieve, the easiest and most efficient way to achieve it, and to think about what audience I’m playing to.  Not everyone has access to high speed servers and fancy viewere software.  I think these chapters were good overviews of what someone needs to think about before starting a site without bombarding people with loads of technical jargon that would only confuse 95% of us.  The design issues I though particularly important.  If the sight is not designed to flow or to be pleasing to the eye and easy to read, people are not going to return to that site. 

As far as setting up the blog goes, it seemed pretty easy…I hope I’m doing it right.