Saturday, March 14, 2009

Digital History, The Winter Park Fire Department, and Student Action

Despite what people might believe, this is a blog about the digital project for HIS 143. The problem is that students work on their own schedule. Without a concentrated effort that forces them to think about the project or events directly linked to the project--no project posts. They are required to post however, so we get some very interesting post on the weekly readings. As always, this a failure of the professor (it always the professor's fault) and I will get my usually negative feedback in student evaluations and deep feeling of shame that come from not realizing the full dream associated with the original ideas behind the project. Digital history is the future, there is great stuff all over the web. Nonetheless, the humble projects associated with my classes are works in progress. The idea is solid. Use students to create an online digital archive based on the City of Winter Park Fire Department's scrapbook. We are working with the Winter Park Public Library and our project will fit nicely with other online content they offer the community. Indeed, our goals are modest and the students can complete the project as designed. It is just a question of timing.

I'm working with them on the project. The Winter Park Sinkhole remains one of the most memorable events linked to the city. It is also something the Fire Department documented closely( it a truth of urban life--if it not a crime--odds are they will send the fire department to do it). The images you see were taken by members of the Fire Department in 1981 when the sinkhole suddenly appeared in Winter Park. The Fire Department monitored the sinkhole. These are great images and as I work with the scanner at our college to make sure they are formatted as great digital images, I get a sense of the problems and triumphs by students face. I'm sure the students will blog about the digital project. I and anyone who reads this blog will be impressed. I'm sure....willing to bet money...not my money, but somebody's money.

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