The creation of a digital resource has expanded my knowledge of the internet and the way historians can use the internet to reach new audiences. Before taking this class, I never thought about the ways the internet could be utilized to help historians broadcast their research to the public. I only ever thought of the internet as a tool to complete research. Digital history in my mind was regulated solely to library collections and databases. To me digital history could only help researchers and fellow historians. The idea of using digital history in the ways we learned about in class actually surprised me. For a public historian it pains me to admit it, but I had forgotten about the internet. When I actually thought about it, I thought well duh why wouldn’t people use the internet? Why would it be such a big idea? This direction of digital history did not occur to me though, until this class.
I never expanded my definition to include the publication of a research project or to do an online tour like Robin and I created. Most of the online tours I have come across on the internet seem amateur. The text lacks any type of interpretation, the image quality is poor, and navigation is confusing or completely lacking. The examples Robin and I investigated prior to our project confirmed my original thoughts. In creating our tour, Robin and I hoped to overcome those preconceptions of a virtual tour. We have clear vibrant pictures which I must admit are brighter than Sagamore Hill ever is in public. In the short time we tried to create easy to read text that was informative and interesting at the same time. We also attempted to create a digital history resource that was accessible to a wide variety of users by creating an easy navigation. Furthermore, we connected our resource to a wide variety of learners by providing people with two different ways to access the information.
The digital history project complements and builds on many of the skills I learned during my Public History Practicum class. The project built upon my training of writing for public audiences. Once again, I consulted Beverly Serrell’s Exhibit Labels: An Interpretive Approach to guide my writing. Freeman Tilden and Serrell’s emphasis on the Big Idea also surfaced during the project. Robin and I both had to ask ourselves why were undertaking this project. We needed to discuss what made Sagamore Hill, important enough to merit a virtual tour. The organization of the project and the planning project was similar to the methods utilized during the course. We set deadlines and worked together to accomplish our project on time.
So please take some time to explore our final project.