Semester Review

“Our mission, at the behest of the National Park Service, is to digitize a collection of letters from Montgomery Slaughter, the wartime mayor of Fredericksburg, and from George Murray, a Union soldier from Pennsylvania.”  This was the first sentence of our Mission Statement when we first received the project.  It has been about four months since then and as I have said in many updates since then, we have come a long way.  We have completed a digital archive in the form of a website that displays all of the letters written by George Murray and Montgomery Slaughter.  Looking over our statement however, we have not contacted any local organizations as we first intended.  This is because after spending so much time making the actual site, we have forgotten to spread the word about it.  In terms of tools, we have successfully used Omeka to make our site making use of its collections and items aspects.  The only tool we did not use to make our project is iMovie as we switched to Final Cut Pro to edit our video together and we never changed our contract to reflect this.  We have completed all of the jobs outlined in our contract though we had to change one job (recording for every single letter) simply because there was not enough time to record for all of them.  We all did a fair share in terms of labor though I personally feel I could have done more to help edit the video or set up the site.  We all did our individual tasks though, uploading all of the letters and metadata and setting up the site to begin with.  The schedule of milestones helped a lot as we constantly knew what we had to do and what the next step was after that.

Creating the site was not a difficult process though Omeka took a bit of getting used to.  Once we had the proper plugins, we were able to upload all of our letters and then rearrange them in the proper order.  I was concerned about this for a while because our letters were organized by date and needed to be kept in this order and Omeka initially only allowed us to organize our items alphabetically or by date uploaded.  Nothing in this project was particularly difficult; everything was more meticulous than anything.  We had most of the letters and transcriptions to begin with so putting them on the site was not hard, recording audio was done in three sittings and was fairly straight forward once everyone knew the process for recording, and editing and exporting all of the audio was incredibly simple. My only regret was not preparing more for the presentation as I was too nervous and we opened a Google Slide presentation in Powerpoint and the layout was completely messed up when we presented our final project.  Other than that, I would like to think we did a good job making the site with all of the letters.  We still need to go back and fix a couple of things here and there (mainly adding citations) but other than that, I hope users have a good experience checking out our site.

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