Monthly Archives

January 2017

Internship Week #3: Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Over the course of last weekend and this week, I have worked on a number of items for the Florida in World War I Project. The major task this last week was dividing up service cards for students in the undergraduate class that will be working on the Soldiers of Florida databases that I talked about in my last post. In the undergraduate course, there are a total of 38 students. Each student will be transcribing 100 cards; however, Tampa has less than 3800 cards. So, I had to try to figure out what some of the students would be working on. Originally the idea was to have those students work on Pensacola, but there were not as many that needed to be done in Pensacola as I had originally thought. In the end I decided to pick smaller cities for the students to complete. It will be interesting to see what the smaller cities show us in the data, in general and compared to the larger cities.

As I said last week, I also wanted to spend some time on the website. I have run into a few issues with it that I need to take some time to figure out. Some of the issues seem small and like they would be simple fixes, but they are proving to be more time consuming and difficult. The first issue is the design of the actual website. The project is using WordPress as the platform. I am pretty well versed with WordPress, but themes on it can be tricky to operate and customize, especially when they are the free themes. Currently the project it using a free theme, one that myself and the project coordinators really like and think works with what we are trying to do; however, as a free theme, it is limiting in a number of ways. I have spent some time trying to manipulate it, but it may be that we have to find a new theme and one that we may have to pay for. It is not ideal, but it is important that the site is visually interesting to keep visitors attention.

This is a screenshot of the current look of the website. As you can see it still needs a great deal of work, especially where it is concerned visually.

The second issues is that the website also needs work on organization. Like I said last week, the goal is to make the site easily navigated and searchable. I have been spending time working on how to have this information organized. I think I have figured out how to organize most the information, so I am going to spend some time in the coming week on implementing that.

In addition to working on the organization, I will be working on several other items over the weekend and this coming week. First, the project coordinators and I want to start work on the social media portion of the project. We currently have a Twitter account (@floridawwi) and want to utilize that to share the information we have found, as well as connect with others who might have an interest in the project. We have a number of Tweets prepared by students from an undergraduate course last semester. But it is not only a matter of posting, it will also require fact checking and making sure we are able to properly credit the images we are going to use. Finally, the third item I am going to work on is the “Resources” page, not just on the organization of it, but also adding materials to it.

It is going to be a lot of work next week, but I definitely want to be sure everything looks as good as it can and that the project is prepared enough to be shown at THATCamp Florida 2017.


Internship Week #2: The Soldiers of Florida Databases

This is a screenshot of one of the databases we have so far.

Over this last week, I have been working with my fellow project coordinators on a variety of items relating to the Florida in World War I Project. On Tuesday, two of us gave a presentation in an undergraduate course that will be working with the project, specifically the Soldiers of Florida databases. Originally called the City by City databases, the Soldiers of Florida databases are transcribed Florida service cards from World War I. The cards, which are located on Florida Memory, have only been partially transcribed. Our goal with this portion of the project is to fully transcribe them, all 40,000+ cards. Having these cards transcribed allows for a previously unsearchable primary sources to not only become searchable, but allows for a number of ways to interpret the data. For example, fellow project coordinators and I mapped soldiers’ movements in Orlando during and after the war. While we saw a trend of many staying in Florida during the war, we were also able to visually see that multiple men went overseas. Then, by tracking their companies, we were able to find where they served overseas.

Transcribing the 40,000+ cards will take some time and a lot of help. So far we have the city of Orlando and part of Pensacola complete. The undergraduate course this semester will work to finish transcribing Pensacola, as well as the city of Tampa. Our presentation to the class on Tuesday was a learning experience, not just for the class, but also for myself and my fellow project coordinator. We came across some road bumps with the database, including how to transcribe certain parts of the cards. Our goal is to transcribe word for word the cards, but we also want the database uniform so it is easily searchable. This is where we sometimes run into an issue, as the cards are not all uniform. Date formats differ on the cards, as there was no set system when creating the cards back during the war. The goal was to process as many men (and some women) as possible, so the cards were done quickly. So we have had to make some decisions on how to handle this. We are confident though that everything will be uniform and maintain our goal of transcribing the cards accurately.

I have also been working on the Florida in World War I Project website. We have some items up, but the goal this semester is to populate the site with all the content we have created and that courses that have helped with the project have created. This will of course take some time, as things need to be edited, as well as formatted and coded. The design of the overall website, as well as organization, is something that needs to be worked on as well. The goal is to make the site easily searchable and easily accessible. When visitors come to the website, we do not want visitors to have to dig for information, but find it with ease.

Much of next week will be spent on the website. I also want to work on creating original content for the website as well. But I will have more information on that next week!


Internship Week #1: Florida in World War I

Hello everyone! My name is Kayla. I am a second year History graduate student at the University of Central Florida. I entered the graduate program in the Fall 2015 semester on the traditional track. My areas of research include the First World War, women, and gender. I am currently finishing course work and will start thesis hours this summer.

While I am on the traditional track, I strive to incorporate public history into my academic career. This semester I am partaking in an internship, which not only includes my research interests, but it is also a public history project.

My internship this term is with the Florida in World War I project that began in my first semester in the graduate program. Dr. Barbara Gannon taught a colloquium course on the First World War and in preparing for the course found little exists on Florida during the First World War. As the centennial of America’s entry into the war is coming up (April 6th!), Dr. Gannon enlisted our class to begin the project by gathering materials on Florida during World War I. The goal is to collect materials that can then be used to create a variety of resources to share with the public about Florida during the First World War. Since that first semester, the project has grown immensely. In collaboration with our department, the faculty, and graduates and undergraduates, we have gathered a substantial amount of materials that have been used to create conference papers and panels, lesson plans, encyclopedia entries, databases and more. One of the goals for my internship this semester is to take all of these resources and put them together on a website that can be accessed by the public. In addition, I will also be creating original content that will be placed on the website as well.

This term I will also be working with two undergraduate courses that will contribute to the project. One assignment for one of the courses will be completing is transcribing World War I service cards that are scanned on Florida Memory ( At the start of this project back in Fall 2015, a group of graduate students, including myself, transcribed the city of Orlando into a database. This term, the undergraduate course will work on the city of Tampa. Transcribing the service cards creates a searchable database out of a primary source that has only been partially searchable. Fellow graduate students and I demonstrated how this data can be mapped to show things like birth places, migration patterns after the war, and more. We have presented this aspect of the project a number of times, including at UCF’s Graduate Research forum in April 2016 and at the Florida Historical Society Annual Meeting in May 2016.

I am grateful to have been a part of this project from the beginning and I am looking forward to continuing the project this term. I am excited to be putting together the hub that will make all of the information and materials that have been found accessible to the public.