History 428: Adventures in Digital History

HIST 428: Captions, Captions, Captions!

Our First Remote Day of Work

This past Thursday, the scrapbooks group met over Zoom to begin our first day of remote website work. While Erin, Emily, and Mady focussed on scheduling, research, and working with the .tiffs, Piper and I worked on adding captions and other points of information to our .pngs.

The Captioning Process

As I mentioned in previous blog posts, our group was able to complete our first scan goal before the closure of the DAL and other on-campus resources. All of the .pngs of these photos are on our website, and Mady has been working to create an organized zip file of the preservation-grade .tiffs.

Before we can publish these photos to our website pages, we first need to caption the photos. Currently, each photo has a file name based on the relevant individual and what number scan it was, but this is not sufficient. We have been working to add titles, captions, descriptions, and alt-text to each photo. To do this, we created an informal “protocol” on our group spreadsheet that dictates roughly what each title, caption, description, and alt-text should look like.

For example, our title includes information such as the artifact name, the box in which the artifact came from, the owner of the artifact, and an optional blurb about the photograph, whereas the description describes the physical makeup and features of the photo itself.

A Consideration

One challenge that we are encountering is keeping these points of information as descriptive and useful as possible, without being repetitive. If someone were using a screen reader, they would not want to keep hearing the same descriptors over and over. This requires care on our part to be descriptive without being duplicative.

Other Project Thoughts

One thing that I would be curious about doing with our project at the end of the semester would be creating a final video presentation of the website that we could share with the members of the Rowe family. Because the History Symposium is cancelled, I thought that this could be a good way to create a curated guide to our website in lieu of an in-person presentation.

Miscellaneous Highs and Lows

Meanwhile, I just finished packing up my one-bedroom apartment and transporting it to my small bedroom at home. My initial plans were to stay on campus, but very few housing petitions were approved. I understand that UMW and other universities in Virginia have been trying to make the best decisions possible. Today also marked my last day of work at the library. While I am staying on top of my assignments, the constant transitions are definitely making focussing on a singular assignment or task for a long period of time more difficult than at UMW. Because I am not on the same schedule that I established at UMW, I don’t have a great sense of what sorts of activities I should be doing throughout the day. I’m sure that others are in the same boat.

Nevertheless, I am trying to make the best of the current situation. I have enjoyed being able to meet for this class, and others, on a regular basis in some form. I find that anything that adds a bit of routine or normalcy to my day is good. I am also very thankful to be working with such a great group in the scrapbooks group, as everyone is still very enthusiastic about the project.

I hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy!

2 thoughts on “HIST 428: Captions, Captions, Captions!

  1. I think it would be a great idea for the group to make a video guide of the website for the Rowe family. Thank you for all of your hard work on the digital side of things despite everything that’s been going on!

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