Third Stop: Public Projects

On February 08, 2016, we started our time in Public Projects working with Sharon Leon, Megan Brett, and Alyssa Fahringer. We began by taking a look at the work the public projects division had done so far in order to have an understanding of the kind of work the division did.

The next task was a familiar and welcome one for me, testing. I have had a lot of fun testing the various projects for all of the divisions this year. In public projects, I did some testing for Omeka.net, Omeka S, and Liberian Journey. I particularly enjoyed doing the testing for Liberian Journey because it was a new experience for me: testing the mobile capabilities of the site. I found myself looking for issues I had not previously needed to look for in a site such as how easy it is to move around, if content runs off the screen, how different does the page become depending on how the phone is held? However, I also felt limited on what I could test as I was only able to test its functionality on an iPhone.

Another task I had was to review pieces for Mall Histories and go on a hunt for a photo for a Mall History biography piece. I did broad searches in engines and through digital collections such as the Library of Congress and was not able to find anything. However, through a Google search for the individual I found a pdf of a finding aid from a law school, the individuals alma mater. The finding aid allowed me to see that they had multiple photos of him. However, they were not digitized so I wanted to see what I could find before emailing the institution. Luckily, the archives had digitized many of their yearbooks, so my next step was to find him in them. With only being able to estimate when he would have graduated from the law school, I looked at about ten yearbook before I found him. The picture would be small, but it was definitely better than nothing. I emailed the institution to ask if the yearbook photo could be used for Mall Histories and, unfortunately, they have yet to give an answer.

The remaining, and majority, of my time was spent preparing for and advertising the five year anniversary of Paper of the War Department. First, Andrea and I sat down to brainstorm on the audience we would like to reach and how we could go about it. After meeting with Megan and Alyssa, the four of us created a plan and divided up the audiences; I was assigned the Native American studies crowd. Before any groups could be contacted, though, we needed a press release. Over the course of a week, Andrea, Megan, Sharon and I wrote a general press release. I then edited the release to target the Native American studies crowd. Knowing my name, as a new scholar, would not have any pull in the community, I contacted Dr.Joseph Genetin-Pilawa to post the targeted press release to his Facebook page as well as on the Ethnohistory and NAISA Facebook pages. I personally posted the targeted press release on H-Net in the AmIndian, West, and FedHistory channels. Lastly, I created tweets using #Indigenous and #NativeAmerican to be scheduled on Twitter with the PWD account.

Overall, I am highly satisfied with the work I accomplished with working in Public Projects. I took a look specifically at the amount of accounts created on PWD from March 17-April 4 (after the initial anniversary outreach) and out of 23 new accounts, 7 were created with a motivation of Native American studies; this is more than any other motivation with specific research and genealogy tying for second at 5. After looking at all of the data, I would have to say that the 5 year anniversary outreach was a success.

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