DIY History: At Least This Isn’t a Pinterest Project

Hello dear readers! This weeks blog deals with my search for an open source tool to utilize in my digital history project, hence the title. This whole DIY historian thing is only slightly less stressful that the DIY plumbing repairs and pinterest projects I did earlier this year….and here’s why.

I have been struggling to figure out what kind of project I wanted to do this semester. As I have said before, my thesis research is going to focus on the Parliament House Resort here in Orlando, but I’m unsure how to turn that project into a digital history project. A group of students in my class have chosen to work in collaboration and research different aspects of UCF history and create separate, but interconnected projects. I was really hoping to be able to work with the group, but the UCF special collections that houses all the materials needed for that project are only open when I’m working, so time to figure out how to translate an aspect of my thesis into a digital project…..

This only slightly describes my life
This only slightly describes my life

Now, why is this only slightly less stressful that DIY plumbing repairs? Granted, I didn’t get graded on my ability to replace a toilet, but there was the high probability that I was going to flood my house. So now you know that I’m only slightly more afraid of flooding my house than I am of grades (Thanks grad school, you have made me crazy)

As part of the assignment for my class this week, I had to look at a myriad of open source tools and choose one I thought would work best for my project, so not having a real idea of what I want my project to be, I decided that I would first look at the tools and see if could spark something in my brain and help led me to a project. I first went to the Florida Digital Humanities Consortium site and searched their online database of digital tools, which is awesomely called DiRT. One of the digital tools I immediately gravitated towards was Timeline JS. This is a relatively easy to understand tool that helps people to create interactive timelines. These timelines can pull data and source material from numerous different places, including Twitter, YouTube, and Google Maps. I went onto the Timeline JS site and played around with the tutorial and looked at some really amazing examples of how the tool can be utilized. As I was playing around with the site, I realized that this tool could help me to create a really interesting project surrounding the history of the Parliament House. I am still working on how to locate decent pictures and links that will make my timeline look better and be more interactive, but so far it seems to be working. If you want to take a look at the little bit that I have done so far you can follow this link, but keep in mind its a very rough, rough draft.

I’m really looking forward to using this digital tool and I think it will help me to create a great interactive timeline of the Parliament House. As I continue with it, I’ll post some updates and hopefully by the end of the semester I will have an amazing interactive timeline of the Parliament House Resort that I can use in tandem with my other thesis research.

Until next week.

-E

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