History 428: Adventures in Digital History

HIST 428: First Website Update

Things are going smoothly here with the Scrapbook Squad. This past week, we began work on building our website, started to convert .tiff scans to .pngs, and made some progress on fixing up our family tree and other genealogical information.

Building our Website

This past week, Mady shared administrator login information with each group member. Beginning on Tuesday, each of us started work on building the skeleton of our website. This skeleton mimics what we set out to do in our group contract.

So far, we have skeleton pages for each section of our website, as well as a solid start on our “Welcome,” “Contributors,” and “Citations” pages. Some of these pages feature stand-in photo icons that we will eventually replace with cover images created from our photo scan database.

Erin has done a great job working on implementing accessibility features. We already have an accessibility tool that allows users to toggle between gray scale and inverted colors, as well as to increase the font size of the page. This feature works on mobile, too, aside from the gray scale function. We also have an easy-to-use screen reader that we are working on adding to pages.

Finally, we are all very happy with the theme and layout of our website! We chose a freshly made, free-to-use WordPress theme. Our theme allows us to use plenty of premade and custom Widgets, such as our Instagram feed, a site “bio,” a second homepage link, and social media icon links.

Converting Scans

In lieu of meeting in class today, our group worked in the Digital Archiving Lab. Here, Erin, Piper, and Emily worked on content and accessibility of the website, and Mady and I worked on converting our .tiff scans to .pngs. Angie was a great help in showing us how to create a command in Photoshop to convert .tiffs to .pngs in one batch – what a time saver! She also showed us a way to crop out individual Polaroids from a scan that contained multiple photos.

We were able to convert almost all of our scans to .pngs by the end of class, and Mady kindly later in the lab stayed to finish the rest of the conversions.

We also streamlined our storage and upload plan for most of our files. Our .pngs will be stored on one flash drive, and our .tiffs will be stored on a larger flash drive. We will display our .pngs on our website for viewing, but create a zip file of .tiffs for audiences to download and use at their leisure. Concerning our audience, I believe that this is a feature that everyone will appreciate. I assume, based on the fact that we have permission to make a website using their family artifacts, that Jeanette and Florence are okay with these images also being downloadable – but that could be something to give them a heads up on!

Everything Else

We have yet to do much work concerning supplemental, narrative information. We believe that this will be easiest once many of the scanned artifacts are visible on our website, as this will guide us in exactly what we want to include.

Emily has done great work creating an annotated bibliography, part of which is viewable on our “Citations” page. Most of this bibliography provides historical context onto the history of scrapbook keeping in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She has also taken the time to contact local historian John Hennessey, who has provided information about the life of Anne Wilson Rowe.

All in all, I think that our group is feeling comfortable and happy with our progress on our project so far. We predict that we will have plenty of time to double our total scans once we’ve added finished uploading and organizing our first set of .pngs and our zip file and added sufficient narrative to our website. This is a very exciting project for us!

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