Richard III Societies - Website Evaluation

Richard III Society – American Branch
[http://www.r3.org]

Goals: To reassess Richard III’s portrayal in history.
A new historical trend that starting in the 1970s.

Audience: Those interested in the subject, members of the society, students, and teachers.
There are educational tools on the site, both for teachers – with resources on approaching the subject – and for students – with online quizzes and a Quick Start Guide which outlines the steps of researching a topic properly. Also included are links to books and library resources.
Does not give information readily. The user must search for it in the various links of the left-side bar. The site provides links to books and occasionally copied chapters of a book for reading online, but this creates more work for a casual user than I would like. This is not a useful site for people who are unfamiliar with the topic or are looking for information quickly.

Search-ability:
Poor. The website has a search tool, which leads the user to a Google generated search – allowing users to search the site specifically or search Google generally. This shows, to me, that the creators of the website did not setup a search of their own site at all.

Images: None on the site. No interactive images of documents or subject discussed.

Citation of facts: There are links to books and thus the site shows the sources of their information.

Links: Books, Subjects on other sites – such as 15th Century life, etc., Portrayal of Richard III in theater, film, and popular literature. Also stores changes on this site, archives from 1995 – 2005.

Richard III Society – Parent Site
[http://www.richardiii.net]

Goals: Same mission as the American Branch – to review the reputation of Richard III and reassess it.

Audience: Everyone interested, as well as students and teachers.
The website has a link to educational information and also links to the American Branch’s educational page.
Website also offers an open chat ever Sunday – FORUM, with posted times for differing time zones.
This website is more user-friendly than the previous or the following site. Information – including background about the subject and controversy – is given a place of importance on the left-side link bar.

Search-ability: There is no apparent search function on the site, but the numerous links are helpful, in that respect.

Images: None, other than the occasional picture of Richard III at the beginning of a link topic.

Citation of facts: The site does not always cite immediate sources, but does give suggestions for further reading after every section. A bibliography is also accessible for each topic.

Links: Few links to other sites. The links that are included are places of interest sites. Does not entice the reader away from this site.

Richard III Foundation, Inc.
[http://www.richard111.com]

Goals: To cast new light on the misconceptions of Richard III’s historical portrayal.

Audience: Those interested in the subject. This site is not suitable for students, as there are no educational tools and the site is not easy to navigate.
The site links are all on the bottom of the page, which makes it hard for a first-time user to navigate the site.
There is a “primary source” link, which only offers biographies of primary source authors and a charge to scrutinize their lives to judge their credibility.

Search-ability: No search function on the site.

Citation of facts: There are no citations of sources.

Links: There are links to outside sites, such as to Medieval Organizations. An interesting link on the website is to that of the Princes Project. The Foundation has requested to have the bones from the Tower to see if they are Edward IV’s sons. They feel that if the bones are not, this would, perhaps, exonerate Richard of the charge of murder.

General impressions: This website is poorly arranged and not user-friendly. In addition, they do not reach out to the greater public. The Foundation’s attorney contacted the American Branch and requested that the link to the Foundation’s site be taken down.

These sites were interesting insights into Societies of Richard III. Each site wished to reassess Richard III's guilt and portrayal in history. The second site was the only site that was really successful in achieving its goal. While they have not single-handedly revolutionized history's interpretation of the events of the Wars of the Roses, the creators of this site gave the most information about the background, the controversy, and why they think history has been unjust. The site was user friendly and very organized. What it lacked, however, was a search function.

Additionally, no primary sources were presented on any of the three sites. While the last site, the Richard II Foundation, had a link to primary sources, it only offered a brief biography of the major contemporary primary source authors with a charge to really examine the men themselves. In doing so, one may see that the authors lacked credibility and thus - the website assumes? - are not authoritative sources on the guilt of Richard III.

All of these sites continue to be active, either through new updates or through forums with opportunities to get the public involved. As these societies are still very active today, a well-maintained website is a tool for the societies to get their name and mission recognized.

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