“The Roaring Twenties” is a fantastic project in terms of user interface, accessibility, organization, and scholarly work. Its major pitfalls are that there is too much information and themessage is hidden to some extent. The purpose of the project (we think) is to explore and expose the historical soundscape of New York City in the ‘20s and early ‘30s. This message is conveyed by allowing the user to explore many examples and events of sounds in the city. Multimedia options are present and the site is heavily reliant on audio and video presentations. The program is very heavily coded and it looks nice. The program relies on Vectors, a platform that can, obviously, map well the social scape. The project is very well organized; into three parts that make sense. The timeline allows the user to see if events are time-dependent, the “Sounds” section shows just how many complaints pertaining to different topics were filed in NY, and “Space” shows generally where these events occurred. With the given tools, it makes it very easy to learn something new from the 1920s. Was noise really a huge problem? Yes! Some of the parades, traffic noises, and more were too loud for some though. It’s easy and quick to learn these while surfing this project’s folds. Unfortunately, large portions of the project rely near exclusively on one source: the Municipal Archives of the City of New York. This is a bit weak, however it is still a great source. Furthermore, it took several minutes of browsing to come up with a hypothesis for its message and purpose. An explicit purpose is hidden. Furthermore, its greatest drawback is that there is so information much presented that the user may feel swamped. The project could be improved by adding featured collections of noises or complaints. Reiterated, an exhibition on an event or group of events that might generate several complaints may be a great way to help the visitor to sift out some interesting information. For example, did the end of prohibition lead to more or fewer noise complaints as speakeasies became obsolete? Currently, the project has a lot of listings of things that occurred. The project could, and should, tell more of a story in order to give more impact to its databases. Overall, the project is successful. A visitor could learn a lot from the information presented. Other DH project coordinators could use this project as a model, inspiration, or both. While it has drawbacks, they could certainly be ameliorated by some guidance that would send the user in the direction.

Ajani Santos & Ryan Woo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *