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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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.
Well, it’s been a while since I posted last (sorry everyone!) but everything has gotten crazy because of all of the snow days! A lot has happened since my last post, so let me fill you in.
We have officially turned in our group contract and discussed the comments from Dr. McClurken through a Google Doc chat. Luckily, everyone was on the same page with our comment responses, so it was a relatively quick meeting.
Since our contract is now complete, I can officially share what my jobs are for our group project. For starters, there are lots of things that we’re doing as a group because if we assigned them to one person it would get a little overwhelming. Plus, we each have strengths and weaknesses with technology, but we would all like to acquire more experience, so we’ve decided to help each other out on projects so we can all become more family with some of the tools we’ll be using to do the following:
- gather “then” photographs
- formatting the pairs of photographs
- writing captions for each pair of photographs
- metadata- we will be using the same metadata as the UMW Digital Archives for the sake of consistency with other UMW resources and databases
- the metadata will be stored in the description of the pairs of photographs
- create a standard for tags
- uploading photos to site
- design and maintenance of website
As for my individual tasks, I will be assisting Alex (our photographer) go around campus and take approximately 12-15 “now” photos, creating a Google Map of campus for us to embed in our homepage for visitors to interact with, and working with Alex and Meaghan as the “advertising committee.”
Right now, we still have a lot of ideas floating around for advertising our site. We feel that we have a pretty general audience–basically any students, prospective students, alumni, or people interested in campus. We plan on using social media and word of mouth to generate interest, but obviously that can only spread but so far and to a certain audience (since we’re all students, it’s likely we’ll only reach students that way). So, in addition to that, we intend on talking to the Bullet, the Alumni Association, the Historic Preservation Department, and Simpson Library as possible resources that can post on their websites or share in their print publications. Obviously, this is only a starting point, but we’re planning on reaching out to as many people/resources as possible because it doesn’t hurt to try, right?
Our group met yesterday afternoon to finish up the revised contract and figure out how to redistribute the work evenly since we spent Tuesday’s class going through all of our collected “then” pictures and picking our final ones. We also finalized how we are going to do our metadata and how the pairs of pictures will be displayed. In the end, we did finish the revised contract before it started snowing!
What I am going to do for this project is go around campus with Alex to take about twelve to fifteen “now” pictures (depending on when I am available and when the weather is nice). This means that I will be in charge of a certain region on campus of “then” and “now” pairs of pictures. Our group decided that our master list of pictures will be broken up into different regions on campus on a first come first serve basis. The pictures will be distributed evenly, however, because Meaghan is going to keep track of who has what pictures and how many pictures. So, I will be in charge of uploading, tagging, writing captions and description and metadata for about twelve to fifteen pairs of pictures. In addition to that, I will be doing any customization of colors, layout, effects, etc. of the WordPress theme for our site. I will also be setting up the site’s page templates and creating placeholders for each page’s content. If we have time before the project is due and everything is done, I will also be playing around with photo blending some of the pairs of pictures.
For advertising, our group is going to reach out to The Bullet, the Alumni Association, the Historic Preservation Department, Shannon Hauser (who is working on a similar project to ours), Simpson Library and other and any other groups or people we can think of along the way. We are hoping these groups could have links and/or have an article about it to our finished project on their websites or newsletters/newspaper. We could also maybe specifically advertise our time slot in the Symposium to get students who aren’t in the history department to come out and see our project especially since it is about their campus.
Overall, as I’ve said before, our group works really well together and I am very happy that we are open about each other’s ideas and that we are consistently trying to make sure the work is evenly distributed.
Also, since we found some “then” snow pictures, Alex might go out today or tomorrow (whenever it’s not freezing rain) to get some “now” snow pictures! I can gladly assist her if she wants, but if not, then I’ll be at the Jepson Alumni Center hill sledding.
Happy snow day everyone!
We’ve met three times now and met with Carolyn Parsons (although I had class, but everyone else went) and we have a great hold on what we are actually doing now! We also finished our draft contract which is awesome!
We decided to keep our project strictly to the UMW Fredericksburg campus and we have decided on having two main collections called “structures” and “student life.” Furthermore, we have broken down those two collections into sub collections as well. We divided up collecting the “then” pictures based upon different sub collections. So for example, I found the “then” pictures for Academic Life as well as Other Structures that didn’t fit into Academic Buildings and Residence Buildings (GW, Seacobeck, the Bell Tower etc.) All of our “then” pictures are on a group made Dropbox that was set up with our group made Google Account. We’ve collected roughly 20-30 pictures each using the Centennial Collection and Battlefield yearbooks through the UMW Digital Archives site. What’s left now is taking the corresponding “now” pictures, formatting the pairs of pictures, making and designing a site, making an interactive map, and making an introductory video. Luckily, we all are comfortable doing at least one of these different tasks so we’re dividing them up between us. This is probably one of the smoothest working groups i’ve been in!
Lastly, although we probably won’t be able to use this “then” picture, since events don’t happen on the roof of GW anymore, I really liked this one and wanted to share it.
George Washington Hall roof garden, 1951
As I continue to browse through photos for our Then & Now project, I find myself wishing that the world didn’t move so quickly and change so much. For example, I’m a little bitter that we don’t have an outdoor pool…but that’s not the point.
Tonight our group met to go through the photos we all found and narrow them down, but , honestly, I didn’t realize it was going to be such a difficult task. There are so many aspects of Mary Washington history that we want to convey in our project, but, unfortunately, we don’t have the time to include everything. Going into the project I thought the most difficult task was going to be finding photos that we will be able to blend into modern photos. Now I’m beginning to think that the most difficult task is actually selecting “then” photographs.
So many photos, so little time.