History 428: Adventures in Digital History

HIST 428: Project Defense

Site Overview

Over the course of the Spring 2020 semester, the scrapbooks group has worked hard to create an organized, aesthetically appealing, and meaningful website documenting the history and scrapbooks of the Rowe family. At the end of our project, we created a fully functioning, accessible website that documents nearly 100 scans from numerous scrapbooks belonging to Anne Gilmer Martin, Katherine and Jeanette Stoffregen, and notably, Anne Martin Wilson Rowe. 

From day one, our group understood that this project would require strong time management and organization. While we were initially overwhelmed with the number of artifacts to document, scan, and attribute meaning to, our group quickly adopted a hardworking and motivated dynamic. Before the spring semester transitioned to distance learning, we spent up to four times a week meeting in class and in Simpson Library working on our project. 

We did not want to simply meet class expectations. We were intrinsically motivated and we wanted to create meaningful, appealing content that all involved parties could be proud of. The nature of our project and ADH as a whole allowed us to challenge ourselves and meet our personal goals. 

Our website, rowefxbg.umwhistory.org is up and running, complete with this YouTube video in which we explain our process and individual member roles. While we are still making some minor adjustments to the site, the overall layout and content is finalized. 

Embedded below is our finalized video presentation. Our group video presentation is fully accessible with handwritten captions.

Group Process

Our group process, both during in-person meetings and during distance learning, is well-documented in each member’s blog posts. While each member filled similar roles durig our initial marking and scanning process, we adopted more distinct roles by the time it came to upload scans. Mady, Erin, and I all worked hard on website construction, social media, and accessibility. Piper worked hard on transcriptions, writing, and editing, and Emily contributed greatly to research and crafting historical narratives about each family member.  

Group Video Presentation

Defense of Contract 

Our group contract faced numerous revisions over the course of the semester, but the most current version can be viewed on the ADH syllabus. I believe that we have met all of the goals that we set out for ourselves that were possible during distance learning. 

Defense of Contract: Site Layout

The layout of the website mirrors that which is described in our website, as it is divided into two main sections for Scrapbook Scans and “Biographies and Narratives,” which we refer to as Genealogy.

Defense of Contract: Audience Engagement

We believe that we connected extremely well with our intended audience of the Rowe family and interested UMW and community members. Our project’s Instagram account, which has 34 followers, allowed us to share our research process along with sneak peaks of the website. We were also able to connect directly with family members to ask questions. Our Twitter Bot, which was not created until recently and admittedly only has 8 followers, serves a similar purpose and is a great widget addition to the website. Managing these social media accounts gave us a sense of pride in our work and kept us on track with our goal of creating a meaningful and polished website. 

Defense of Contract: Sustainability

We kept project sustainability in mind when creating our website. Our project process is well-documented in our shared Google Drive folder, which is now shared with our project Google account, and passwords and key information have been shared with Dr. McClurken. We plan on sharing such information with members of the Rowe family, should they wish to preserve it. 

Additionally, I have submitted our website to the Wayback Machine, as seen below.

Rowe Family Scrapbooks archive screenshot
Our website is archived!

Defense of Contract: Milestones

Considering milestones, we consistently stayed on track with our project and did not ever feel as though we were rushing to catch up with work in order to move on to the next step. Because we met regularly on Zoom as a whole group, we did not use the Google Sheets time log to track activity after the transition to distance learning. Nevertheless, each group member worked diligently to complete what was required of them for the good of the whole group and the project.

Final Thoughts

I have had so much fun working on our group project. Working with my group has been a great experience, and it is safe to say that we are all very proud of our work. Each of us learned and polished useful skills in research, archiving, and website construction and management, and I look forward to our planned group outing to Goolrick’s… whenever it is okay to be in groups again.

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