JC Added

As described in the site index, Jersey City 1910 will begin with a portal screen inviting users to Explore the City, Search the Archive or Visit the Classroom. I envision a brief introduction of the significance of 1910 for Jersey City on this page with a link to a longer, more detailed interpretive article. The "How this Site Was Created" section will provide a technical and scholarly analysis of the site's creation, detailing the project's vision to provide an expandable, emulate-able template for other communities to use when sharing their history with students and other interested visitors. This essay will describe in detail the project's transcription and tagging process. Comments from scholarly users will be solicited here.

Explore the City
At its heart, the Jersey City 1910 project intends to add value to its source material by rendering it in a format casually explorable by users. The interactive map interface will provide an initial broad picture of the city in 1910 with specific neighborhoods highlighted. As visitors zoom in more closely on the waterfront district, they will be able to click on significant sites such as the newly opened Hudson River Tubes (ancestor of the PATH tunnels). Clicking on the Tubes would reveal postcards and other images featuring the tubes, contemporary text lauding the ingenuity of the tunnel design, essays from 20th century historians broadening the history and context of the tubes as well as a breif "catalog description" of the significance of this site to Jersey City provided by the Project director/curator.

An exploration of a residential neighborhood would include home outlines derived from the 1908-1911 city fire insurance maps click-able to reveal information derived from the 1910 Federal Census. Clicking again on the census information would bring the visitor to a screen for the "Archives" where other census information could be explored. Since the census reports will have been tags for occupation information, education status, income and more, the Archive screen allow the visitor to link to other places where railroad employees lived or children age 12.

Similarly to a site like "Facebook" or "Google Maps," Explore the City is intended to keep visitors' interest for hours, much like a good museum exhibit.

Search the Archive

More serious students and scholars will likely want to "Search the Archives." Jersey City 1910's search screen will allow simple word searching of transcribed text and xml tags, but it will also have a friendly and robust system of advanced search options. Visitors will be able to search by document type, date, occupation, ethnicity, geographical feature and more. In addition to bringing up document search results from the archive, all searches will also have the option of being viewed on the site's interactive map. Some searches will lend themselves more to the map (schools, railroad, retail stores, Italian immigrants) and others to the archive (newspaper articles from January, postcards, images of West Side Park). The archive will likely grow in utility over time as more documents are added from the library and municipal collections. Documents with direct potential for inclusion in the interactive map will be prioritized for digitization.

As the map will provide the essential site structure, many items included on the map will be briefly annotated by the curator. Visitors will have the option to turn on and off "tags and annotations," so if they prefer to view documents more simply, without tags and metadata, they may do so.

Jersey City 1910's link structure will be one of the greatest challenges to the site design. Regions of the interactive map will link to documents in the archive (tagged with descriptions and metadata) which will in turn link to other documents in the archive which may in turn link back to the map. The site programmer will be challenged to keep the visitor on the site, always providing a means to advance forward or get back to where he/she has recently been without having to use the browser's "back button." The programming goal will be to keep visitors from "getting lost" in JC 1910.

Visiting the Classroom
The final area in which value will be added on the site is the Sesquicentennial Classroom. This area of the site will begin by containing basic resources such as lesson plans built around primary sources and advice for students using the site in their research. It will likely evolve to include interactive activities for students asking them to imagine an archive for Jersey City in 2010. What kinds of resources could historians in 2110 use to learn the social history of the cit a hundred years before? Could websites and other "born digital" materials like emails and "my space" profiles be mapped onto the city's geography? How will we capture information about digital photographs shared by Jersey City residents? Should the Jersey City Public Library be obligated to collect local newsletters and other ephemera to help decode the city years in the future? Students will be invited to weigh in on these and other issues on a moderated site forum.

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