To begin my final portfolio, I had to find which activity would be worth revising with the new approaches and perspectives learned throughout the semester. I would decide to revise my story mapping portfolio. More specifically the Portfolio activity 9. For my initial story map, my topic was where did the slaves in Detroit come from. I would discover that this was not a very easy topic to put on a story, and possibly just the wrong topic. To improve on making story maps I decided I needed to find a topic and data that would make an effective story map. It came to me that mapping the path that George Washington took in the revolutionary war could be effectively told in a story map.
Furthermore, to find the data for the story map, I would use a scrollable timeline title ‘George Washington in the American Revolution.’ This timeline starts with George Washington becoming commander and ends with him relinquishing his command. Before digital history I would have approached this information with open arms and have accepted it. I decided to use the steps we put together earlier in the semester to see if this work should be accepted.
To begin, I began to look for annotated information, point of creation, and the author. At first look none these information can be found unless you clicked on the ‘read more’ option on the bottom of each event. This led to me far more detail on the event along with the creator and the sources used. Though, the point of creation could not be found, the author and the sources proved to be credible. This would prove to be same with each event having been written by different authors using a variety of sources. Each event would sometimes be accompanied with geospatial map or even a video further detailing the event in the war. Overall, the website and the timeline proved to very easy to navigate, understand, very information. Before, taking digital history I would not have look at this website the same way. If it was easy to navigate and the information is what I wanted it to be then I wouldn’t have looked any farther. Now, I’m analyzing the text, author, and sources. I found that the information was presented in a way that seemed to straight forward and didn’t leave out any key context. The sources also collaborated with what was being said, something that I would have completely skipped over before. Next, the author’s credentials were credible and at time what made the author credible would be listed on the read more page itself. All this led their data to be used in my story map.
For my story map, my goal was to for the reader to gain since of space and time between events in the war. This was something I believe I failed at conveying in my last story map. Many of the events in the war would occur very close together. A battle would occur in Boston and the following battle would occur just outside of it. The goal of this story map was to create that sense of space between battles. Readers will view this and learn that many of Washington’s battle that won us the revolution would occur in the area around three cities, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. These three cities would not seem very far in terms of modern-day travel, but if the reader understands that Washington was also marching with an entire army and that the methods of travel were much slower then. The story map I created shows what I’ve stated above. I believe the story map improvement of finding data and analyzing, then the story map effectively showing the time and space between events.
Furthermore, when considering what king of work and approaches that I would like to learn going forward, I think of geospatial analysis using data maps. We covered this over the course of a few weeks but on the last we discussed constructing data maps. We learned how to understand and critique data maps, but the construction part seemed lacking. It was great creating our own shape files and going through the data to find what we want, but I was never able to fully grasp how to build one. I think learning how to effectively build a historic data such as the ‘Lincoln Mullen, The Spread of Slavery in the US’ example. This approach to history seemed extremely complex, and its very effective in telling a historical event. Learning how to construct a data map as complex as the one above would be great going forward. It would allow those create future historical data maps, or even apply in their field of preference.
To continue, after learning about the history of slavery in Detroit I’ve become more interested in slavery and indigenous people in other locations. Throughout the semester I got little bits of information on slavery in other places. Going forward I would like to learn about slavery in South America, something that’s rarely talked in history classes through college and high school. Going off the data we saw in class, slavery and the slave trade was huge, and seemed to have a larger presence than in North America. There are probably very many slave narratives that need to told from regions. Other regions of interest would be Texas, California, and the indigenous people in Hawaii.
Overall, I improved in my ability to look at data, historical writings, and critique digital presentations has improved. I have an effective step taking process for when looking at historical documents, and effective ways to search for primary sources. When I view digital projects, I’m able to effectively critique them. I understand the difficulty in presenting the underlying time and space that happened in historical events. Next, I was able improve upon my story map portfolio, by first asking a question that could effectively be told in a story map. Secondly, presenting that data effectively to give the reader brief understanding of the event, and also the considerable small space the revolutionary way took place in. To conclude, this class was enjoyable and taught me many useful ways to approach historical events and documents. It was also great to get a better historical background on the place I’ve live in for the past 8 years. Which was in the suburbs of Detroit.