Reflection

This class has been a great experience for me, and I feel that it helped me grow as a student of history. It introduced me to a part of history scholarship that I didn’t really know about, digital history. From what we learned about Omeka and WordPress, to all the different projects we saw and how those projects presented their information, the breadth of digital history and the digital humanities was something that I knew nothing about yet I am now fascinated by. Before I took this class, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my history degree, but now that I have seen what digital history offers in the historical scholarship, I have a good idea about my prospects as a historian.

The Elizabeth Murray project and our update to it was a very interesting project for us to undertake. Again, it showed me what I could do as a digital historian, but more than that it gave me experience working on an actual historical project. As it stood before we began, the Elizabeth Murray project was a well-functioning, albeit outdated project, and it was an excellent jumping off point to begin our foray into digital history. Its information was through and robust, yet its interface was somewhat ambiguous, especially the timeline. Because the project had been made so long ago, the internet standards which it adhered to were outdated and the site itself was, visually, a relic of early internet webpages. In addition to the interface, some materials had been left out of the archive on the site, mainly letters of correspondence between Elizabeth Murray and her compatriots. Our project intended to rectify these two key areas of the site, the timeline and the archive, and provide a starting point for future updates to the Elizabeth Murray Project. By using WordPress, TimeMapper, and several Google services, we were able to remake the timeline and update the information in it, as well as add several letters and subsequent transcriptions to the archive which were not previously present. While our updates were functional and worked well enough for the project at hand, they were somewhat underwhelming. TimeMapper especially was a point of grievance, as its interface was not particularly well suited to the content. It was not easily customizable either. The letters too were difficult to display, as the WordPress site was not correctly formatted to allow for their display alongside the typed transcriptions.

Overall, this class was a very eye-opening experience. From the projects we saw to the projects we worked on, I feel like I was enriched by this class moreso than any other I have taken as CSULB, and I hope to continue my work in the digital humanities.

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