Going into this semester, I had a basic idea on what digital media was and how a digital project works. When I first learned I was going to do the Civil War Letters project, I was excited to scan letters into the Digital Archiving Lab along with the prospect with meeting new people and learning new tools on the fly. While it was a shame that we were only able to meet Louisa for only one meeting, her knowledge on the project such clarifying on what rank Jerome Peirce actually was during his service helped make things clear. Most importantly, Angie Kemp at the Digital Archiving Lab deserves a lot of credit because she taught us how to properly scan the documents using the EPSCON scanners and turn them into TIFF files. In addition to teaching us how to use the equipment, Angie was able to convert the TIFF files into JPEGs and uploaded the files onto OneDrive when the coronavirus outbreak shut down the university. Last but certainly not least, there was great chemistry with the Civil Wars Letter group (Hunter, Erin, and Anna) and we are worked hard every day to ensure the project was completed on time.
With the outbreak of the coronavirus and the university shutting down for the rest of the semester, we had to make changes to the way we do things and I will defend that we fulfilled the contract. From the very beginning, it was always our intentions to create a website using Omeka because it is made for displaying the letters and we can have interactive elements such as the timeline and StoryMap. When the coronavirus broke out, the only things we stopped doing was stopping scanning new TIFF files and we could not meet each other in person. Regardless of the unusual circumstances, we had our assignments: me and Erin would work on the timeline while Hunter and Aaron worked on the StoryMap. In regards to the scanned letters, we had scanned everything up to Letter 194 and relied on the original scans provided by the National Park Service. Once the scans were uploaded onto the Omeka website, we continued following the contract by selecting a theme for the site and creating the pages for the interactive elements. Although the Civil War letters will not be due until the end of May, we are all hard at work fixing the suggestions by Dr. McClurken who has also been a massive help on the project.
Having completed the Civil Wars Letters project and fulfilling the basic requirements of the contract, what lessons can be learned from this semester. The first lesson of this semester is to be ready to learn new things on the fly such how to create the Omeka website because these new skills were essential to the success of the project. The final lesson I learned from this semester is that you should always have a back-up plan for your back-up plan because you never know what could happen and that is the running them of the semester. Having said all that, thank you all for spending time reading the blog and I hope do a similar project in the future.