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.
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.