Today I reorganized the Politicians section of our website. I redid the New York State Politicians subpage so that it is now a parent page of three subpages that fall under that politicians category. Assemblyman Hawley and Senator Robach now each have their own subpage under the New York State Politicians subpage. There is a subpage for Political Leadership Analysis as well. I also updated the slideshows on Hawley’s and Robach’s pages using the Meta Slider plugin so that they match the slideshows on the rest of our site. I added a video clip to each of their pages, which I think works to break up the text and add some engaging primary sources.
Project Contract via blog post on Monday, February 13th
March 27th rough draft of website due
Project due by April 24th
Required in contract:
Tools planned to use (Timeline, StoryMap, WordPress)
Work to be completed by each person
For this project we will be researching the secession of Western Virginia from Virginia during the early American Civil War. West Virginia secession took place both as a result of pro-Union sentiment and a strong opposition to taking part in a war advocated by elite Virginians. Over the previous fifty years, Western Virginians increasingly felt that they lacked fair taxation and representation in proportion to their contributions to the state. This included suppression not only of industry but expansion of the franchise for poor white males and increased access to education. One of the most pressing grievances was $20 million in debt for the state of Virginia, where associated improvements were felt mainly in the Tidewater region. With tensions building higher, the people from the Western region of the state took a call to action. As a result, the Richmond and the Wheeling Conventions were held. After Wheeling, the decision to secede was put to a vote that was backed by the Union Army. Those with Confederate sentiments retorted with violence with events such as the Jones-Imboden Raid. Through all the mayhem, West Virginia was eventually granted statehood on June 20, 1863.
This project will include the background and information of secessionists and the immediate aftereffects of the secession. Our goal is to provide accessible resources for West Virginians seeking to learn more about their state’s origins. To accomplish this goal, we intend to build an easy-to-use website with multiple pages outlining the causes of the secession, the event itself, and the consequences of it. There will be a homepage which provides an introduction to the event. It will also include a citation page to ensure our resources are properly cited, and a page explaining the origins and intentions of the project. We intend to use WordPress, StoryMap, and Timeline JS in building our website.
-Every Wednesday before class we will meet in person to discuss how the project is going-
Monday, February 13: Contract Draft Due (Abi + Kendall)
Thursday February 23: Contact to Archivists (Abi + Kendall)
Monday, February 27: StoryMap (Abi) and Timeline Due (Kendall)
Monday, March 1: Final draft of project Contract due (Abi + Kendall)
Monday, March 13-14: Intensive online archival research (Abi+Kendall)
Saturday, March 18- Monday March 27: Causes (Abi), Event (Kendall), and Effects (Kendall) Pages Due, About Page and Homepage Completed (Kendall), Citation Page Completed (Abi)
Monday, March 27: Rough Draft of Website Due (Abi + Kendall)
Wednesday, March 29: Meeting to refine the website (Abi + Kendall)
Wednesday, April 5: Make changes Based on Feedback from class (Abi + Kendall)
Thursday, April 6: Ask people outside the class to look at the website and give feedback (Abi + Kendall)
Wednesday, April 12: Finalize Changes Based on Feedback from Unfamiliar Users (Abi + Kendall)
Monday, April 24: Final Project Due
Each of us will be responsible for either the StoryMap or the Timeline. Each of us are responsible for constructing half of the pages for our website.
Unfortunately, my Grandfather passed away this week. It has been very difficult for me but I’m holding up as best as I can. I have had appointments with the health and counseling services here on campus. As for the project, I have a rough outline of what I want for my pages. I have completed by biography and such. I have also bullet-ed each of the points I want to make for the site. I know it does not seem like much, but I do have a lot of writing to accomplish and I am sure I will. I plan to write an article for the site a day from today on until I finish. I’m really excited about this and I think it will be a very good distraction for me so that I can delve into my work even more. I also worked on the pages and the orders of the pages with Abi last week. We finally came to a conclusion on what pages should be parent pages and which should be nested, etc. etc. She has been working on images for the site as well. I’m excited to see the final project come together.
This has been a very productive week for Rachel and myself. I personally worked on editing the slideshows, to make them more informative and have them blend more smoothly with the webpage. I did this for both the website homepage and the pages under Social Media groups. This was specifically helpful because it helped balance out our first draft in order to make it as visually pleasing as possible. Along with the info on New Amsterdam, and the various social media groups, I was also able to do some housekeeping on our sections regarding the “About the Course” Section and ensuring that every header tab had text on it.
I feel that overall, we have a good first draft that has all the information we need on it, but we will need to delve further into the analysis parts over the next month.
Nate and I have been reading through the books that we have collected such as History of Vermont by Ira Allen and others that cover more specific topics. The Ira Allen book is a primary source and a wealth of information for us. We are also getting along okay with the Vermont History Journals (from the Vermont Historical website). We have found some good secondary articles to help us bring new perspectives to the historical events surrounding the major events of the Vermont Secession movement. Building the rough draft went pretty well. One WordPress issues is: we have our “parent tabs,” but the pages underneath them will not rank in order even if we enter it in the order. We plan on asking IT if we cannot figure it out during class tomorrow. The actual esthetics of our sight is rough still (e.g. plain). The good news is, we have a solid outline for what we want to do for our pages and we should have enough sources to get the job done. We plan on using the next two weeks to finish up our pages completely. Then the third week will be for ascetics of our websites (color, pictures, etc). Then April 20-23 will be for finishing touches.
As our course is only meeting once a week from now on, Eben and I thought it best to meet during the time we have already set aside on Mondays for the course.
This week we had an extensive visit at the SUU Special Collections and hit a gold mine of resources. We found a Mormon Migration book that gives several specific timelines for the Mormon Pioneers as well as the religion itself. We studied a book that was partly written by Brigham Young about the proposed state of Deseret and learned much about the original plans for the Mormon Migration. We scanned in most of the book to cite as well as a map drawn by Brigham Young of his desired territory. We also found a journal written by a pioneer in the second Mormon Migration and scanned in his accounts of the brutal journey. The pioneer also quotes Brigham Young and his attempt for Zion as it was “necessary for self-sufficiency”– which goes perfectly with our project.
We have also been playing around with Story Maps and having some difficulties. However, we did find out that one of our professors at SUU recently went to a conference about the program and is an expert at it. We are pursuing help from him to get more one-on-one assistance. Slowly we have been adding more information to our site, a home page, pages, and information on the secession. We will be adding more this weekend. We have also scheduled another trip to the Archives for next week and scanned in several documents we are still studying.
Since we worked on the draft of our site over spring break, this week I’ve been working on design things and adding in analysis. Maria and I experimented with the Parabola theme, but we both decided we liked Hemingway better for our site. I also tried to adjust the pages so that the text takes up more of the page, but I could not figure out how to do it at all. If anyone knows of some simple fix that I’m just not seeing, let me know! I also reordered the subpages under the Present page. Going forward, I am planning on changing the slideshows on the Politicians page to match the ones Maria made for several of the other pages, because I think they look nicer and allow for a slightly longer caption in a bigger font size.
I am in the early stages of adding analysis to the Politicians subpage and the Future page. On the Politicians page, I added a section currently titled “Political Leadership Analysis” in which I will discuss the legislators’ strategy, the response by other legislators, and the legislators’ methods of interacting with constituents (as it relates to secession). I also added an analysis section to the Future page, where we will talk about the likelihood of secession, whether secession is a good solution, and some possible alternatives to secession. I have a rough outline of what will go under each subheading for both the Politicians and Future pages, so I am hoping to have a more complete version of this up in the next week.
Since our site is currently very text-heavy, I am considering either adding more images, slideshows, or other elements to break up the text or creating more subpages somewhere for analysis content. I am unsure which is the better option since relevant images can be hard to find for our particular movement, and I don’t want navigating the site to be complicated or unclear. Right now I am leaning towards creating more pages, but I will have to think of a neat and organized way to do that.
Over the last week and especially this last weekend I have focused on finding more primary sources and using them to write and upload a thorough draft of the Causes page for our website. I have also added my Storymap to our Home page, updated our secondary source bibliography, written and uploaded a draft of our “About COPLACDigital” page, and added a bio for myself on our “About Us” page. Virginia Memory and wvculture.org have been invaluable for finding good primary sources. I love when I can find scans of handwritten letters, though they are often harder to read. I hope that my handwriting is never bad enough that someone can’t decide whether I meant to write “locals” or “souls”. (It was souls, as I confirmed from another source.)
I am still trying to decide which photos we should use on the website and I cannot upload the ones from West Virginia History OnView without signing the acceptable use form, which requires having decided which photos to use so that I can indicate it on the form… In other words, I will work with Kendall to make the final selections and should be able to upload the ones we choose within the next week.
Lori Hostuttler at the West Virginia and Regional History Center had emailed me had said that she would try to get some scanned materials to me by Friday, but she must not have been able to get to it yet. Either way she’s been friendly and helpful and I appreciate that.
I was hoping to work more with site content this weekend, but ended up spending a lot of time working on the about page and the overall site layout. I’m not too upset because I was planning on doing this later, so I guess I just switched around my schedule. I decided to put the main navigation tool on the right sidebar of all of the main pages. This way visitors will select the main header tag, read the intro page, then select where they want to go after that. Will probably do the same on all of the subpages as well to help facilitate navigation. I think I will make the side bar pretty thin for aesthetic purposes, will see what Kodey thinks. I feel like there is too much empty space at the tip-right corner of the page though, will see what Kodey thinks about filling that in. I have the intro page for the tourist section done and may go ahead and do the intro page for the crisis page. I really should work on other homework now, but this is a lot more fun. Dr. Own and Dr. Mathews, you’re probably going to be scapegoats for my other history class tomorrow.
Alright, just decided to get rid of the “Story of the Secession” page. Instead inserted text underneath the three columns on the home page welcoming the visitor and encouraging them to click on the first two photos, which will link them to the story map and timeline, before they begin exploring the rest of the website. Unfortunately, this will make the storymap and timeline inaccessible from elsewhere on the website. What do you guys think? Will that be a problem?