After looking over a few of the digital history projects, I felt some of them do an excellent job while others do not. Of course, you could claim this to be subjective because not everyone likes the way something looks. However, creating a “perfect” website that will last is simply not viable. We saw this with the Cohen and Rosenzweig textbook, especially with how they tried so hard to future proof it. Now all it consists of is broken links, but at least page numbers are available to check sources the old fashioned way.
One thing I like about this class is that I am able to look at these projects from two very different lenses. As a history major I can see the potential and necessity of having information readily available, but as a CDS major I can see the obvious age and flaws that come with lack of maintenance or obsolescence. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like the idea behind many of these projects, but it is hard to keep these sites running in the long term without proper care.
While I enjoy reading as much as the next person, I am also a visual learner. Having a map, a timeline, or any interesting visuals tends to help me remember things. Color is also an important feature. Nobody wants to stare at a blank white screen, but nobody wants to look at a screen oversaturated with color. Sometimes simplicity is best, and that is something I have tried to implement on my own website as well. I think for our project I would like to incorporate these features, or at least update outdated features on other websites to make them more accessible and engaging to a wider audience. However, some of the sites I’ve seen also seem to be a little bit of a lost cause, but having access to HTML and CSS files might change that!
Since my group’s goal is to renew, refresh, and restore old digital history projects, I think it would be best to first catalogue the sites we will be looking at and figure out where to go from there. While I would love to explain more in detail, the idea behind our group is a little up in the air at the moment, but generally we want to create a central space for all the digital history sites while improving them along the way. It’s a work in progress at the moment, but hopefully we’ll figure it all out!