Examining other history sites

Valley of the Shadow:

I was immediately drawn to this site as it was about the Civil War and its impact on two small towns, one North and one South.  The mention in the beginning of John Brown’s raid caught my attention having worked at Harpers Ferry. However upon entering the site I saw some aspects that I liked, and others that I didn’t.  First I did not like the look of the site, had a plain white background and the graphics seemed almost sloppy making the sight feel like it was from the late 90’s. Furthermore, while the site talked about in the beginning that it was about two towns, I actually had to do some digging and it took a while to find out what exactly the two towns were.  Some good aspects of the site however were that it was very well organized. The site is clearly set up with three main sections: pre-war, war years, and post war/reconstruction. within each category there are sub categories such as images, newspaper articles, etc.  This aspect made the site very easily navigated.  One other note should be that the site is entirely sources from each town. This can be both good and bad depending on what the visitor is looking for, while on one hand some sources probably need further explanation with them for the average reader.

Gilded Age Plains City:

I opened this link not knowing what to expect.  What I found was an interesting concept. The idea for this site is that the reader can get a general understanding of what the town of Lincoln, Nebraska was like in the 1890’s with information on the site centering around a murder case.  The site has a wide variety of information ranging from biographies on the prominent members of the town at the time to simply photographs. I also found the site easily maneuverable since the basic sections of the site were listed on the lefts side of the screen so you can immediately click on what information you wanted to look at. While I enjoyed the site I do not think that for this project I would want to find a singular event within Shepherd to have my information surround, although it is an interesting concept.

Mapping the Republic of Letters:

This site I found no redeeming qualities about. Upon entering the site you are immediately confronted with a large image of a timeline with a complex series of art above it. The image is so large that most the writing on it is small and unable to be read.  Believing that this was to be used to navigate the site and present the information I clicked on it, only to find that it only enlarged the image, but the timeline was still hard to read. Scrolling down I found an explanation of the site, a poorly written one I might add. It took a couple readings of the introductory paragraphs to understand that the site was an examination of letters from the time of the republic and how they related as networking and passing along the information. Even the 2 and 1/2 minute introductory video made it unclear as to what the site was about. The sub sections of the site included case studies, blogs and publications. All of which gave little indication of what the goal of the site was other than studying prominent figures of the time period. If at all possible I want to avoid using this site as a way of designing the site for this course.

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