America S Cold War Triumph Added Value Search Tools

Introduction

The home page will provide an introduction that gives a detailed subject overview and then presents our mission statement. A clear distinction will be drawn between Timeline exhibit and Archive repository — to be followed by a comprehensive general description of both the Timeline and Archive separately.

The Reagan's Cold War site main feature is an extensive Timeline exhibit focusing on the history and development of SDI, or the famed "Star Wars" program. However, the site will also include an online digital Archive of documentary evidence — print documents, audio & video clips, and photos — most of which will be included in the Timeline exhibit. The introduction will outline these two features and provide direction as to how user can best navigate the Timeline as well as how to search the Archive.

Navigating the Timeline:

User will be able to browse through the entire exhibit in a linear fashion. The historical timeline begins as far back as the publishing of Karl Marx’s seminal work Communist Manifesto in 1848 and will have infrequent entries relevant to the rise of communism in Russia (such as Lenin’s birth, exile in Germany, fall of Tsar & establishment of the Soviet Union, birth of Gorbachev & key points in his personal career, etc.) all the way through the early Cold War-era and into the late 1970’s. It will also have infrequent entries related to the life & career of Ronald Reagan personally (ie., his birth, election to SAG, & entry into politics, etc.) from 1911 all the way until he was elected President. Key events leading to the progression of American anti-communism such as the first Red Scare in 1919 will also be noted.
With Reagan's ascension to the presidency in 1981 the frequency of timeline entries becomes vastly increased: all entries centered around SDI (from theory through implementation — and everything in between). The timeline will end with a sort of Prologue that takes us to present day..

Each event will be encapsulated in a concise text entry that will expand in size if the user lingers on a particular event – the raised text will appear with a corresponding thumbnail representing the medium or media type of that specific exhibit piece (ie., newspaper article, interview clip, text document, letter, archival footage, etc.). The user will be able to view each piece sequentially or choose to analyze specific events as interest & need dictates.

*There may even be a “press play” feature that allows the user to view an abbreviated version of the exhibit as designed & produced by project director.

Searching the Archive:

The site will employ a basic search ability based of specific person, keyword, or event. There will also be an advanced search function capable of searching by medium or media-type (ie., search video, article, letters, etc.), in addition to whatever basic search term of choice. To ensure that a researcher can search on either a macro or micro level the advance search will have Boolean ability.

Annotations:

Each exhibit piece, regardless of medium/type, will have extensive annotation consisting of meta tags based on title (to be determined by project director) subject, keyword, transcript (if necessary), date, person, & event. Also, and perhaps most importantly in many cases, each exhibit piece will have a corresponding background/context mini-essay that will feature alongside the piece (regardless of whether it’s a video clip, political cartoon, photo, official government document, or any other type of exhibit/archive media).

These essays will add considerable value in a couple of important ways – first, they’ll provide context and scholarly analysis, but they’ll also provide a rich source of metadata tags that can be mined in an advanced Boolean search.

Extensive footnotes, mainly indicating source & copyright info, but also suggested further reading & links, etc. (where appropriate) will also be employed.

Links:

Where applicable, links will be provided to add further context or expanded detail to a specific exhibit piece. These can direct user to another website or provide an in-site link to another exhibit or Archive piece that is an especially good companion, or simply proves an interesting compliment.

Lesson Plans:

A comprehensive lesson plan will be included for three educational levels:
- Middle School
- High School
- College level
*ReagansColdWar.org will also feature an extensive National History Day mini-site.

Discussiong Board:
We hope to stimulate and ongoing dialogue by allowing for public posting of comments and perhaps links to blogs. We will post a new question monthly to help encourage the debate.

About:

This section will provide information about who we are, provide project background & exhibit/archive updates, as well as contact info.

Special Feature:

The Introduction to the Digital Archive page will be feature opposing essays writing by leading academics framing Reagan’s contribution to ending the Cold War from two polar opposite points of view – that of the far left (Reagan’s “awe shucks” aloofness masked a cold heart. His brinkmanship policies were reckless and financially irresponsible. America’s victory was inevitable and would have occurred regardless of his presidency). To the far right (Reagan was a genuine American Hero, a genius political thinker whose brilliant tactical maneuvering & courageous strategic mind almost single handedly made the world truly safe for democracy at last. His eternal optimism and genuine love of country brought America out of severe malaise and restored us to preeminence among the world of nations).

I know, I know, it's a bit much but I stress again — these are the EXTREME points of view…

I think framing the debate from these two ends of the spectrum will help illustrate how truly varied is the historical record. Passion abounds here and somewhere therein lies the truth – a “truth” the user will determine him/herself upon careful examination of the documentary record.

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