Earhart Management

The first step with this project would be to conduct thorough research in order to locate relevant materials for the focus of the site. The Purdue University Library as well as the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College, where the majority of Amelia Earhart’s letters are held, will be contacted. Although the originals are closed, the microfilm is available. The possibility of negotiations to reopen the original letters may be desired, to provide a more authentic feel to the site, if the microfilm is inappropriate. Furthermore, discussion with the New York Times as well as other newspaper organizations such as the Chicago Daily Tribune should be opened, in order to procure necessary articles for the site. Once pertinent and eclectic materials are located, negotiations should be opened with the repositories in order to decide whether scanned images should be purchased, or whether it is more economically efficient to scan the documents in house. Although there is much material on Earhart that is already digitized, some relevant materials may be found that have yet to be scanned. In any case, hopefully a partnership with an academic institution such as Purdue University and/or Radcliffe College will eliminate the need to buy scanners. Interns and students from the college itself could also eliminate excess travel costs from New York to Indiana and Massachusetts. As Purdue University holds the largest Earhart collection, it will be the first choice to host the project, as an additional educational resource to the website it already hosts.

Possible partnerships with organizations linked to Amelia Earhart will also be sought, such as the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed women pilots, of which Earhart was the inaugural president. Such partnerships could procure more funding, as well as advertisement for the site.

As the project will start out small, it should take no longer than sixth months to choose appropriate documents and to get the site running. A scholar (either with a MA or PhD degree) with a specialty in American women’s history (or specifically Earhart) should be charged with writing biographical information, including an introductory biography, and contextual annotations that will be provided throughout the documents. Also, consultations with an educator should be considered in order to develop concrete lesson plans for teachers as well as National History Day materials for the site.

Whether the documents are purchased or scanned in house, a logging system, the Omeka application, will be employed in order to keep track of the materials. Information such as title, subject, description, creator, source, publisher, date, contributor, rights, rights holder, language, and bibliographic citation of each document should be recorded.

Next, the layout and design of the site will be considered. The purpose of the site is to be interactive, and so enough money from funding should be set aside for web design. The look and professionalism of the site will enhance its reputation as a valuable teaching aid as well as entice younger students to use the site, for in this technological age it is becoming more and more difficult to impress the younger audience. Also, applications such as a “Notebook” in which students can record the information they collect will be included, will need to be designed and should be available as a “pop-up” feature on each page as students navigate the exhibit. Also, an option for students to “Bookmark” their favorite documents should be included.

Once the site is up and running, feedback will be encouraged from teachers and students in order to gauge the success of the site, and to make any changes necessary. As the site is designed for its users, students and teachers, the main concern should be that it is user-friendly and teaches appropriate lessons. Once a solid foundation is developed, hopefully within the first six months of the site’s launch, expansion will be considered in terms of adding more focuses on Earhart’s life, and any feasible features suggested by the site’s users. The site will always be maintained in order to keep it up-to-date and competitive with other Earhart sites.

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