Archive for April, 2013

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Introducing our latest project, Englestad and Associates is happy to announce the launch of their new website, Father Pierre Jean De Smet’s Mission Map. Due to copyright issues the exact map can not at this time be displayed.

In the modern digitial world, old disciplines such as history may have been perceived to be left in the proverbial “dust”. However, we at Englestad and Associates do not believe this to be the case. Using modern technology we have been able to take a map that is over one hundred and seventy years old, and place it on an interactive Google Maps platform.

Why , you ask, would someone want to engage in such an endeavor? The answer: Discovery.

As a professional historian our site can put into perspective the relationships between Native peoples and some of their first interactions with European culture tradition and religion. By including background information for the areas depicted on the map the historian can either confirm or question believes they hold about a location, or the group of individuals located there. Engage in discourse with other professionals, or even locals in the areas depicted, though use of user generated content, who have access to oral histories the historian may have never heard.

However, not only historians will find our site useful. Even those just interested in the great outdoors, will find our site fantastic. Get feedback on trails in the confines of this map by other users in the forums, as well as topographical maps and imagery to help you plan your route. You may even learn some history along the way.

Come and see what insight you can get today!

 

 

           This week we were designed with creating a prototype of our project. This was actually, a little easier than I had expected. My first thoughts were to build a PowerPoint presentation to explain exactly what our project was designed to do. I figured with the amount of time and technical expertise, building a working prototype of this particular site would be technologically advanced beyond my own skillset.

            During lunch one day I was discussing this project with a friend of mine and he introduced me to a prototype platform that I could use to display what the project would look like and be aesthetically more pleasing than a boring PowerPoint presentation. The name of the site is Axure, and you can create interactive HTML prototypes with this software.  I of course used the free version, and there was some limitation but overall it was achieving the need for functionality and it was vastly more aesthetically pleasing than PowerPoint. But I kept having this feeling that I wanted to wow everyone with all this hard work I had been putting into my internship this semester, and with that I decided to use a remarkably more interesting and interactive platform. This platform is known as Neatline.

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             The first time I attempted to use this platform I became very frustrated as it seemed to be a little on the buggy side of things and at the very least temperamental. But after a second try things moved a little more smoothly. As I played more in their sandbox, I was able to figure more of the controls and was able to depict things a little better. In all actuality I was blown away by the amount of information I was able to depict. Not only could I use topography maps, but I could toggle to Google satellite imagery as well. To me this was like the Holy Grail of mapping platforms. 

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            I showed my partner this platform and he was instantly impressed. The site overall was very user friendly when put into the user mode, although when making edits, it could be a little frustrating, i.e. forty five minutes to make a like for a trail. But it turned out to be an amazing platform.

            Overall my experience on building this prototype was a very rewarding experience. Not only by using one of the best mapping platforms ever, but it was nice to work with my partner Ryan, who like me has a love for all things history. 

Creating an Audience

Posted: April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

           This week’s assignment was to come up with a few personas that would likely be part of the audience of people who would use our website. We brainstormed and came up with three main reasons why someone would come to this particular website. These three reasons, academia, religion, and the outdoor interests helped us to come up with three personas. It was decided that my partner for this assignment would come up with two personas of his own, while I was tasked to come up with a third.

            Creating this persona was actually a little more complicated that I originally expected. My partner created two personas one of which was the persona of an interested college student, which covered academia. His second, a professor and a priest, covered academia again, but also covered the religious aspect of the website. With these two interests in the site covered that left me with only one other interest.

             I knew I had to do an experienced outdoor orientated person, who would be of a younger age, and who could use modern technology such as a hand held G.P.S. unit. So I decided to call a few friends of mine who are avid outdoorsmen. One said that he liked the idea, and although not a history buff, he would love the challenge of hiking the same trails that people one hundred and seventy years ago traveled on. Another one of my friends looked at it not from the challenge of the hike, or of the historical context, but from a view of the scenery in the area. And my last friend, a college student as well, looked at it from a combination of the scenery, a challenging hike, and the historical aspect of the hike. Regardless of the motivation for looking at the website, all three were very interested in the finished product. This enthusiasm showed me that I was on the right path for a persona that would be very interested in our website.  

Digital narrative. When I think of these words separately, it makes me think of two completely different worlds. Digital, this word to me conveys images of technology, the power of the World Wide Web with the speed and ease of a touch screen mobile device. Narrative, this word to me conveys the image of an old book, with yellowed pages being read by candlelight giving the gift of “old” knowledge to its reader. By combining these words I feel like a relationship between old and new is created that gives us a better understanding of not just past events, places and items, but things in our world as well. That, to me, is an effective digital narrative.

This week we were tasked with finding a digital narrative and to analyze it’s effectiveness. For this assignment I chose the Newberry channel on You Tube. This channel has a few videos I am specifically focusing on. In their segments also known as the “Newberry Minute”, curators from the museum take an artifact and give a two to three minute presentation of that particular item. This is a truly amazing digital way to tell the story of an artifact from an era gone by. A merger of an old historical artifact with a modern technological platform, in this case You Tube.

Another bonus to this segment is the overall length of each video. The longest is just over three minutes. During this timeframe an effective narrative about this object is completed, and in a short enough time that a person’s attention doesn’t wander. In a technology driven era where time is of the essence,  this is a very good example of a digital narrative that is very effective.