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A Reflection of Then & Now

April 23, 2014 - Author: Carly

A lot was taken into account when designing our Then & Now site.  We started out with an overwhelming amount of ideas, and ultimately ended up with a site that incorporated each of them; a site that included side by side comparisons, an introductory video, an interactive map, and blended photographs depicting the evolution of the University of Mary Washington campus, student life, and major events over time.  Initially, we thought that collecting the photos and narrowing them down would take the most time, but we found that it actually took the least amount of time.  We divided out the “then” photos that everyone was responsible for, began collecting the “now” photos as a group—most of which were taken by Alex—and then using the Master List that Meaghan created, we divided up who was responsible for which posts.  Responsibility for posts included everything from locating the photos, citing them, uploading them to the site, writing descriptions for them, and tagging them.  Although we all took part in the creating the posts, Jess was primarily responsible for the creation and “tech support” on the site, so she would make sure that everything was in order and was our “go-to” when we had technical problems with our posts.  I was responsible for double-checking all of the tags and creating the Google Map of campus and the Interactive Map page on the site.  Conner created the introductory video and embedded it into our homepage.  The process itself was simple, but the constant checking, double-checking, triple-checking, and so on for the site was what ended up taking the most time—and I’m sure we’ll still end up finding more errors, but we’re only human.

As for the defense of our contract, I believe we accomplished all that we agreed to, with the exception of one milestone that we did not complete on time.  The division of labor, which was briefly discussed above,   was divided almost exactly how it was laid out in the contract, with the exception of advertising, which we ultimately all pitched in to do because we realized that we all have different connections with different organizations, and I think breaking this aspect of the contract worked to our benefit because just in the two days that our site has “officially” gone live, we have received so much feedback on it from so many groups and organizations—and our Google Analytics app helps in proving that.   We also utilized all of the tools that we listed, with the exception of a scanner.  Finally, as I mentioned above, we failed to reach one of our milestones on time: April 6, 2014.  We were supposed to have all of our pairs upload with their captions and meta data.  While we had all of our pairs uploaded well before April 6, the captions/descriptions proved to be a bit more challenging because of the citation plug-in (we all had to figure out how to use it and, when we did, it sometimes wouldn’t work) and the availability of the Crawley book in the library.  Two are on reserve, one is missing, and then others were checked out, so the group ended up having to split time with the one book that Jess managed to check out, but the descriptions were all completed by the due date.  Overall, we’re all quite happy with the site.  We started out sitting down as a group and expressing our thoughts and feelings about how we wanted our site to look.  We made sure to include everyone’s thoughts about the site so it ultimately ended up looking how everyone in the group wanted it.  I feel the Then & Now group met the goal that they set out to achieve and they managed to do so together.  No matter what anyone else ends up thinking about our site, it’s ours, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we’ve come to love it like it was our own cute little web child.

No Comments - Categories: Then and Now Update, Weekly Post

Catch-Up!

April 21, 2014 - Author: Carly

It’s been a while since my last post because we have been super busy putting the finishing touches on our site! Everything has been uploaded, categorized, described, captioned, and properly cited, so we have spent the past few days going over our site, in the words of Conner, “with a fine-toothed comb.”  We had a group meeting tonight to go over the site together one more time and plan on officially submitting it tomorrow morning, and we’re so excited to “officially” show it to the world! (Or at least all of our friends on our social media platforms.)

1 Comment - Categories: Uncategorized

Then & Now Update

April 5, 2014 - Author: Carly

Well, the Then & Now group has accomplished a lot over the past week.  First of all, we have all of our photos uploaded, which is awesome.  We (i.e., Jess) also found an awesome footnote plug-in that allows us to hide our footnotes until the number is clicked on.  We REALLY like our plug-in, but there was a problem with it–it didn’t work well with our photos.  It would mess up all of the formatting.  So, Jess (always the technical savior) figured out that if we put all of our photos in tables, the formatting wouldn’t get messed up.  Sooooo, now we’re in the process of putting all of our photos into tables, and then inserting the tables into the posts, which is no big deal once you figure it out.  (Again, Jess saved my day by solving a linking issue I was having with my photos through text messages.)  We’re also finishing up writing all of our descriptions for each page by using Dr. Crawley’s history of UMW book and various other sources.  My big project for this week was finishing up the Google Map of campus.  We wanted to include an interactive approach, so I mapped out the entire campus and made categories for the buildings.  I then made it so when the balloon pops up for a pin, it displays the name of the building/location, the category it fits into, and a link to the photos pertaining to it on our site.

Overall, everything is going pretty well, and we’re just in the process of tying up all of our loose ends.

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What did I just read?

March 24, 2014 - Author: Carly

OK, so after reading this week’s readings I can say that I am extremely excited for class tomorrow because I need a LOT of help understanding what all of this is.  I find this whole N-gram and text mining stuff interesting, but I feel like I can contribute much more to the conversation when I have a better understanding of what I read about it.  So, I’m going to talk about the article I do understand and completely agree with “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”  I think it is.  I think the internet is a wonderful thing, and I think the fact that there is an enormous wealth of information right at our fingertips is great, but I also think that it’s making people, well, stupid.

What Carr discussed in his article is very scary but, in many ways, very real.  I’ve always been an avid reader and even when I don’t have assigned readings you can find me with a good book in hand (or an app for one on my Nook or iPad), but in more recent years I have found it more difficult to read.  I always thought it was because I was getting older or because I have more going on in my life than just high school, but everything Carr described in his article are things that I frequently experience now.  It sometimes takes me 30 minutes to read an article that should take 10-15.  I find myself reading the same page multiple times because I realize I don’t remember anything that I just looked at, and it’s all very scary.

I’m not sure exactly why this is happening, but I definitely think Carr is on to something, even though he admits that people should be skeptical of what he says.  I can’t wait to hear what other people have to say about this.

On another note, even though I’m still confused about the subject, I really like the design of the “Mining the Dispatch” page.  For such a confusing topic, I think the cleanliness of the site is more inviting and makes people more willing (at least for me) to try to read everything they are explaining.  If it had a bunch of graphics and such, I think I would have given up on it much more quickly.

2 Comments - Categories: Weekly Post

We climb high, no lie, you know this (Rooftops!)

- Author: Carly

This is a VERY exciting group update because I get to tell you that the Then & Now group has officially completed their rooftop photoshoot! I mean, um, our group research and photo acquisition on the rooftops of various UMW buildings, specifically George Washington Hall, Virginia Hall, Monroe Hall, and Jepson Science Center….

This is one of my favorite photos--we got up close and personal with the Bell Tower.

This is one of my favorite photos–we got up close and personal with the Bell Tower.

OK, so it was kind of a photoshoot/research because let’s be real, we had to take advantage of the opportunity of being on the roofs of campus buildings, and thanks to our chaperone, Mr. Harold Williams, we learned a lot of cool information that we probably never would have learned about if we hadn’t had the opportunity to get on the roofs.  This experience was in the works for a few weeks.  After doing our initial “then” photo research, we realized that a number of the photos that we had were taken from the air or on the roofs of buildings.  Since DTLT doesn’t have a drone or blimp that we can attach a camera to to take aerial shots of campus (come on, Mary Wash, where’s the funding for THAT!) we took a chance and put in a request for access to GW, Virginia, Monroe, and Jepson.  Well, the request was approved, and this past Friday we got to head up to the rooftops.  I don’t want to elaborate a lot on what happened because we plan on discussing it in more detail for our group update on Thursday, but after Thursday, I’ll be posting a recap of that update for those of you who aren’t in our ADH class.

Also, we’ve all uploaded our second set of photos to the website–now equalling a grand total of thirty uploaded photos.  We’ve also completed taking all of our “now” pictures, and we’ve acquired the future rendering of the amphitheater.  Personally, I went ahead and uploaded all of the photos I’m responsible for with their captions and I now need to work on the captions for each of them (still need to get the History of UMW book to reference) and I am going to start working on the map again.  Other than that, we’re mostly on track and keeping up with our schedule.

No Comments - Categories: Then and Now Update, Weekly Post

Digital Identity

March 12, 2014 - Author: Carly

The three articles/sites I chose to look at this week were Writer Evan Ratliff Tried to Vanish: Here’s What Happened, Caitlin Murphy’s Digital Resume, and “Personal branding in the age of Google.”  While all of them provided a wealth of information and ideas, the five main lessons I learned about Digital Identity that I learned about them are:

  1. If you Google it, it will come. Okay, so I’m a major Field of Dreams fan and had to slip that in there (if you didn’t get the reference then disregard the first portion of this sentence), but in all seriousness, if someone wants to find something via Google, chances are they’ll find it.  As Seth Godwin’s friend found out, it’s pretty easy to find out information about people via Google, and as creepy as that is, I don’t think it’s reason to panic and completely remove yourself from all forms of digital media.  Digital identity is something that is pretty much inevitable, so I think it’s important to embrace it and make your own a positive thing…which brings me to my second lesson.
  2. Embrace the idea of having a digital identity. It’s so simple to use the internet to track down information about a person, so instead of panicking and complaining about it, embrace it.  Caitlin Murphy used the idea of having a digital identity to create an awesome website depicting her version of her digital identity.  While it’s so easy for people to have “bad” stuff posted about them on the internet (i.e., drunk photos), it’s also really easy for someone to create their own blog or website to overload the web with more positive aspects of their digital identity than the bad ones.
  3. Be organized. There’s nothing worse than meeting a person who can’t hold a conversation, has a short attention span, is boring, or is all over the place in their thought process–don’t create a website like that.  If you do, then you’re basically presenting yourself in the same way.
  4. Nothing ever goes away. It’s pretty self-explanatory. Moral of the lesson–don’t put anything on the internet you wouldn’t want your mother seeing, reading, or watching. (Hi, Mom!)
  5. Your digital identity is what the future will think you are. Let’s be honest, the world is totally shifting towards being completely digital, and while there are many pros and cons to that, I think it’s a pretty good thing.  The internet and digital world can be fantastic things if used properly and effectively. With that being said, in the future, chances are there will be no paper diaries. Future historians will be reading old blogs, looking at social media pages, and analyzing past Twitter trends to figure out who we are.  So, if you want to be remembered as the coolest person in the world, I suggest you start posting it all over the internet now.  Right now.

1 Comment - Categories: Weekly Post

Catching Up

March 5, 2014 - Author: Carly

Being snowed in during Spring Break has provided a great opportunity to catch up on different school related projects including the Google Map for the Then and Now site. While I admit that I have not created the map yet, I have made a spreadsheet containing all of the locations, longitudes, and latitudes for each location on campus we want to appear on our map. Hopefully with that created I will be able to simply paste the information into the Mapper Spreadsheet (but let’s all keep our fingers crossed and say a prayer anyway, because it will be just my luck I manage to mess it all up somehow.) I’ll let you know how it all works out…

Anyway, the Then and Now group received some very exciting news before we left for break: we were approved for rooftop access to different buildings on campus! This means we will be able to recreate several versions of “then” shots that we discovered during our research. Plus, let’s be honest, we’re pretty stoked we get to get up on the roofs of buildings on campus. We’ll definitely have pictures to come at a later date for that one.

Finally, as we talked about during our group presentation, we have a master list for our photos and some of our “now” photos we have to acquire are events that we can’t recreate because they won’t occur until after our project is due.  Feel free to check out the list and see if you have photos from any of the “now” events that we need, because we would love to use your photos!

Hope everyone is having a great Spring Break!

1 Comment - Categories: Then and Now Update, Weekly Post

Then and Now Update

February 26, 2014 - Author: Carly

This week our group met during our regular class time to discuss our website theme, our individual assignments, and our ten minute group presentation on Thursday.

Luckily, thanks to Jess’s awesome selection skills, we have found a theme!  A major plus with it is that it’s FREE and adjusts for all devices (iPad, iPhone, tablets, etc.) so people won’t have issues accessing it based on what they’re accessing it from.  We went ahead and installed it on our site, looked at how it interacted with the templates we have already set up, and talked about what minor changed we wanted to make to it.  Another big discussion was about our main photo that appears at the top of the page throughout our site.  We want it to be one of the more popular locations on campus (i.e., Lee Hall, Ball Circle, Campus Walk, Monroe Hall) and we would like to make it a “blended” photo because it is the photo that people see when they first visit our page and we want to make the page interesting and appealing.

Not fantastic quality, but we found our shot for Seacobeck! Now to just get the window open and screen moved...

Not fantastic quality, but we found our shot for Seacobeck! Now to just get the window open and screen moved…

Next we reviewed what everyone’s individual assignments are–mainly photo distribution–and discussed any questions or concern we had.  We realized that we didn’t have a relatively old “then” photo for Seacobeck (oops!), so we went on the Digital Archives page, located one, and decided to look for the angle of the shot we needed to capture Seacobeck in the same manner it was captured in the “then” photo.  Since the photo was clearly taken from Monroe (or relatively close to it), we headed upstairs to look for a window take our photograph out of.  Well, we started with the fourth floor–major fail.  We didn’t know they didn’t have windows up there.  So we headed down to the third floor, met several nice professors who we happy to allow us to look out of their office windows for a good shot, and ultimately found our perfect location: the geology lab on the third floor.

After finding our location, we headed back to the classroom to go over our game plan for our ten minute presentation on Friday.  We assigned a section of the presentation to each person and talked about what we want to make sure we cover.

Overall, we had a pretty successful meeting! I’m looking forward to what is to come.

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Group Update!

February 22, 2014 - Author: Carly

Well, this week was extremely productive for the Then and Now group thanks to beautiful weather and an entire class period to work on the project.

On Wednesday afternoon we took advantage of the first nice day since snowpocalypse to take some structural shots of the buildings on campus. Using our master list, we started at one end of campus and worked our way to the other to get a majority of the building photos taken.

Mapping out the design of our wesbsite.

Mapping out the design of our wesbsite.

Thursday, we met during our usual class time and assigned photos to each person and planned the layout of the website. Assigning the photos was pretty easy: we went through the master list that Meaghan made on a Google Doc and simply picked the photos we wanted to work on. Website planning, on the other hand, was a bit more difficult, but thanks to sticky notes, index cards, and thumbtacks (and a little OCD in all of us), we were able to plan the entire layout of the website. In fact, since our meeting, Jess has already set up the templates for each page in our site as well. Planning the layout of the site was extremely helpful because it made it easier for us to discuss exactly what we want our site to do and convey to its visitors, and I think we ended the meeting with everyone on the same page.

We plan on meeting again on Tuesday to keep brainstorming and discussing certain aspects of the site.

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