Century America Group Contract

Jack Hylan, Candice Roland, Leah Tams, Julia Wood

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 Mission

Our mission is to research and exhibit the narrative of the World War I homefront experience at the State Normal School and in the Fredericksburg area through the creation of a digital history site. The website will function primarily as an educational exhibition rather than as an archive, though it will contain digitized primary source materials. The exhibition will be useful to academics and local researchers, though primarily designed for a UMW audience and those generally interested in the time period or homefront experience. Accessibility for a broad audience outside academia will be central to the creation of the site’s design and written narrative.

This project will be part of a larger exploration of the homefront experiences of various schools during the Great War across the United States. This overarching project, Century America, is part of a course funded by COPLAC and the Teagle Foundation and includes eleven schools across the country in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the Great War. The UMW group will create the home page for the overall project that will introduce each individual school and explain the purpose of the project. Our mission is to both design and create the overall Century America site and to create a digital exhibition on the experience of our school and town.

 

Tools

 We will use WordPress to create the UMW site of the Century America project, preferring this platform for its diversity in layout and easy customization. We propose to use a cohesive logo element in each school’s site, providing unity while allowing for flexibility regarding the COPLAC class as a whole.

To create the home site for the Century America project, we will use WordPress for compatibility with the majority of the COPLAC sites. This page will be a basic introduction to the project, with links to each school’s site through an interactive map. The comprehensive timeline featuring significant events from each school’s history and the broader history of the war and epidemic will also live on this page. We will create a timeline in Timeline JS that records national/international events of WWI, and a national map that shows the location of our schools in Maps Alive (an interactive web service that can be embedded and accessed by anyone who views our website.)

Our website for the State Normal School will also be created in WordPress. Each page will have the same menu bar at the top, which will include a link to an “About” page. The About page will contain general information information about the project, its sponsors, and its creators. Another link in the menu bar will be “Resources” or “Further Resources,” which will include brief information about and links to the places (and their websites) where we found most of our sources.

Upon entering the State Normal School website, the visitor will first come to a homepage, which will be visually engaging and feature images, quotes, and other media to introduce the site and communicate why the project is important enough for them to continue into its two main sections. They can choose between the State Normal School or the City of Fredericksburg. This option will be further down the introduction page, and will be selected by clicking a picture. They will be side by side. This page will likely feature a map from the time period, or another interactive element.

From this point, either choice will take them to a page with each of the subcategories available to them. These topics will likely be designated with an image. (For instance, to read the Knox Family story the visitor would click on a picture of the Knox family.)

Within each subcategory, the page will feature a significant quote that captures the essence of the narrative we wish to communicate about the school or town’s WWI experience through that particular source. For most of the subcategories under the Fredericksburg parent page, an interactive timeline on each page will allow them to quickly get a sense of the scope of the story before reading a concise narrative or viewing an image gallery. On the home Fredericksburg page, resources from the Virginia War History Commission will provide a general overview of the homefront experience in Fredericksburg during the war. Then the visitor will have the option of looking at several focused categories: Mary Eastburn Diaries, Knox Family Letters, Rowe Family Letters, and the Influenza Epidemic. The diaries and letters are the primary source material for the first three sections, while the Fredericksburg Daily Star newspaper provides the primary source material for the flu section.

For the State Normal School, the focus will be on depicting a holistic student experience from the war years, focusing on the impact of the war and influenza while still including details that don’t directly relate to either event. For instance, in the Student Life category we will discuss the various clubs and organizations at the time, perhaps including humorous quotes from the yearbooks, but focusing on the Rifle Club, whose founder served overseas, and the Red Cross and YWCA clubs who participated in the war effort.  The State Normal School section of the website will also include pages on Administration, Academics, and the Influenza Epidemic. The primary sources that we will use to construct the State Normal School sections are: President Russell’s Papers, other administrative collections, academic catalogs and bulletins, student scrapbooks, and yearbooks.

 

Milestones

  • February 20: Create subdomain of centuryamerica.org and install WordPress

  • February 27: Complete all research and finalize what will be included in the final site

    • A detailed site outline will be completed to finalize layout and design.

  • March 13: Collect all images and digitize all documents that will be included in the final site

    • This is contingent upon working with the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center.

    • The digitization will be done by all group members whose schedules allow a trip to the CRHC.

  • March 20: All text for website will be complete for final project

    • Each individual will be responsible for the text on individual pages (described below).  All group members will contribute to the text on the home page.

  • March 27: Preliminary Century America homepage published

    • Everyone in the group will contribute to the creation of this site.  Candice and Julia will make the interactive map showing the different schools who are participating, and Leah and Jack will create the timeline of national events that will be shown on the home page.

    • This site will be created in WordPress.

  • April 3: Complete website draft published

  • April 10: Test website on other members of ADH and Century America, and friends who might not be familiar with digital history

  • April 17: Complete any changes necessary and finalize website.

  • April 24: Final website in finished form and turned in

 

Distribution of Labor

Each individual is responsible for attending a weekly group meeting.  This meeting will take place every Wednesday.

Each individual will be responsible for scanning and configuring content for the pages of the site for which they are responsible (described below). Additionally, the labor will be divided by use of tools such as timelines and maps (again, described below). Tasks not specifically assigned to one person will be the shared responsibility of all group members.

  • Subject Matter

    • Leah and Julia will be responsible for the creation of the State Normal School homepage.

    • Jack and Candice will be responsible for the creation of the Fredericksburg city homepage.

    • Leah will be responsible for the research of Academics and Student Life at the State Normal School. She will determine what materials will be digitized for this section and what general conclusions narratives the website will include. Leah will also be responsible for compiling information for the “Resources” page, which includes brief summaries and links to the institutions/resources.

    • Jack will be responsible for the research and display of the Eastburn Diaries. This responsibility will possibly include digitizing the diaries (depending on what the CRHC will allow us to do – an email will be sent via Dr. McClurken) in addition to creating a timeline of the diaries’ events. Additionally, he will be responsible for research and content involving the flu epidemic at the school.

    • Candice will be responsible for the research regarding the Knox family of Fredericksburg, including letters of correspondence between the parents and the sons who served overseas.  She will also be compiling information regarding the influenza epidemic in the Fredericksburg community. Candice will also be responsible for creating the “About” page for the website.

    • Julia will compile the research for the Rowe family of Fredericksburg, including letters home from Josiah P. Rowe, Jr. during his service abroad.  For this section, she will digitize letters and images from the Rowe family as necessary to provide an image of homefront life in the Fredericksburg community.  She will also contribute to the Administration at the State Normal School by reading through President Russell’s papers and digitizing aspects that are especially helpful in portraying how the State Normal School was operated during the war.

  • Website Creation

    • WordPress: All individuals will have knowledge of WordPress and contribute to the creation of the site.

    • Timelines: All

    • Plugins: Jack

    • Maps with Maps Alive: Candice and Julia

      • Though this map will not be spatial, its primary purpose will serve to showcase where each of the participating schools from the Century America course are located.  This map will be embedded within the home page for the overall course site.

    • Each student will be responsible for creating the pages for their respective subcategories.

    • Each group member is responsible for tweeting about the project, but Leah will extensively tweet (and on occasion text) the group’s progress.

  • Advertising/Marketing

    • Towards the end of the project we will extensively publish information about the website and project by using various forms of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.

    • We will contact various news outlets to try and publish an article about the site and project. These news outlets will include, but are not limited to, The Free-Lance Star, The Bullet, and the UMW News Letter.

    • Flyers and handouts are a possibility depending on resources. They will be handed out and hung around the Fredericksburg and UMW communities to inform and bring awareness to the project.

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Adventures in Digital History, Spring 2014, J. McClurken

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