For this exercise our group looked at the Neatline Battle of Chancellorsville site and the Henshaw Neatline site. The Neatline Battle of Chancellorsville project shows a map of the Battle of Chancellorsville and has locations for events that took place between May 2nd 1863 and May 4th 1863 as well as descriptions for the events. It argues that the history of this particular war through map location and time. The Henshaw project shows how women were taught about geography through writing. The site contains text maps, which visually represents this idea. In terms of features, display techniques, and visualizations, the Battle of Chancellorsville site is an entire visualization with a map that allows you to zoom in on particular places to find out more about what happened. It is color-coded based on army and the numbers of the locations match the numbered descriptions on the side. Arrows indicate movement. In addition to information provided on the sidebar, more information appears when you click on points on the map. The Henshaw site provides users with the ability to view exhibits and collections. It is more organized than the first site and has multiple maps, which are broken up into smaller categories based on state. There is information about how the maps are made using Neatline technology as well as links to the technology itself. In the first project we would add a key to show the color-coding and symbols more clearly. We would also add an “about” page to provide users with more general background information about the war and about the purpose for the project. In the second project we would clarify the context page by explaining the purpose for the site. It is currently written as if the user has background in the subject area. Also although there are multiple links to Neatline, it would be helpful to have a brief summary of Neatline directly on the context page.
Neither the hypercities-getting started link nor the “Inscriptions” link were very accessible. Both required Google Earth to be installed and the Google Earth plug-in didn’t work on the school computers or on our personal laptops in the Google Chrome browser. In Safari however, the sites did work. The Hypercities-getting started link is the more general website that contains different projects including the Inscription project that we looked at. In addition to different projects there is an author’s page describing the contributors of the project. The site is divided into “read” “write” and “presentations.” In the “Inscriptions” site the materials from the Roman Forum, such as statues and inscriptions, are placed into a map context in order for users to visualize the evidence found. The map shows viewers the “urban context” in order to further learning about ceremonies and rituals during the fourth and fifth centuries of Rome. You can compare the Roman Forum today with what it used to be. There are images for each project on the homepage, which bring you to the specific project when you click on them. These projects are categorized by type and images represent the projects so that viewers can have a basic idea of the project before clicking on it. Each project contains maps, which use Google Earth. Google Earth provides satellite technology, which allows users to zoom very closely in on the Roman Forum. There are tabs, which enable users to click on specific statues and monuments in the Forum. In addition to the map there is a Ritual Experience section. The statues are specifically placed and laid out in a way that reflects beliefs and customs of the time. This website shows why statues are oriented in certain ways. This section contains chapters further describing specific statues, rituals, and people in Rome. There are also inscription sections in which you can search inscriptions by emperor, chronology, patron, and title. It would be helpful to have an “about” page because there is no explanation for the purpose of the general site as a whole. Individual projects and authors are explained but the collection is not. We would have used different technology than Google Earth because it was very difficult to access. The plug-in was difficult to install and discouraged us from using the site. Neatline and Hypercities were different because Neatline is a technology, which allows users to personally create archives and tends to be created by smaller groups where as Hypercities uses Google Earth and can connect a larger group of people to convey a message.
RomeLab allows users to explore ancient Rome and Roman practices such as gladiator fighting in a virtual world experience. The user is shown on the screen as an avatar and can walk around the city. This project shows how technology can allow people to participate in a virtual world from the past in order to learn about that civilization and time period.
Samantha Donohue, Alexander Boles, Edwin Marrero