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Final blog-reflecting on the semester

“What really matters is what you do with what you have.”[1] I believe this quote sufficiently sums up how the Images group approached our project for the semester. In January we not only did not know one another but also had no idea what was in store for us throughout the semester. I sat in amazement and thought about how difficult group projects were when simply presenting a poster but to present history through a digital process in a group setting was an uneasy concept to grasp. The semester long project appeared daunting but a new challenge to take on through the many due dates and goals required of the images group. 

Fate seemed to bring the images group together and each one of us wanted to use any and all tools possible for the project and quickly put to use the tools taught in class by the DTLT staff. Within the first two weeks the group had set-up a note taking document that discussed preliminary goals for the images website. We knew of the looming date for the contract that would guide the project throughout the semester but also took on another challenge through the invitation to attend the Alumni Board meeting on February 20th. A primary goal, once we wrapped our heads around an archive that contained over one thousand images, was to create a much more efficient way to organize and collect the images and information. We wanted them to be ordered in a way that would gain alumni attention and ideally have it organized so the alumni could contribute information and be able to reminisce about their days at Mary Washington. Each group member contributed ideas, including how to organize the site, who to contact, and what resources we would need to use, and laid a contract out that set a tedious schedule for us, with needing to have a mock-up version of our site ready by February 20th.

The website was up and running by the meeting and we received influential feedback and an invitation to have our website advertised in the March and April Alumni E-newsletter. After the meeting the group worked diligently throughout the rest of February and spring break uploading images into their respective collections to have the images ready for launch on March 15th. With the launch on the 15th the group still had plenty of work to do and many edits to make the site more user friendly. The exhibits were added and one of the maps was put onto the site to make our site interactive with alumni. We had a snag in the contract when the map group from Dr. Hanna’s class proved to be less efficient than we hoped for, but we focused on the research, marketing, and editing of the website. The group worked to gain attention and feedback on the website through passing out business cards, e-mailing professors, and staying in contact with the Alumni directors. The site underwent several edits with the addition of more simple pages, information from yearbook research, the installation of google analytics, and gained more attention after the April Alumni letter was sent out.

All in all, I believe the Images group achieved every goal we had, in the contract, in most cases ahead of schedule. Each member contributed to the site and used their personal strengths in certain areas to further the site. The major setback we faced was the lack of a map from the map group but we finally did receive one that does serve the purpose we hoped for. A second setback could be that we were unable to identify every image we chose off the archive but as the quote I chose says, we worked with what we had. The group did put together a how-to guide for the site on the backend for whoever may take over the site but as it appears right now, we want to remain the main users of the site and continue to receive e-mails offering information and contributions. It was a pleasure to work with the other three members of the images group and I hope to one day look back at the site and see my own Mary Washington Images Throughout the Years.

[1]Shirley Lord. “Motivational and Inspirational Corner” Power Performance. 2002-2003 http://www.motivational-inspirational-corner.com/getquote.html?categoryid=62 [accessed April 20, 2010].

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