What Reaganscoldwar Org User Wants

Is there a dearth in the public history debate regarding Reagan's Cold War contribution?

In a word: Yes. There are numerous websites dedicated to various aspects of Ronald Reagan's legacy, but none have the singular focus our would bring to public record. The same can be said for the Cold War — there are many places to explore online, but none concentrate on the role Reagan played specifically.

We at ReagansColdWar.org think there is a hole in public history related to the late Cold War period and we think the subject is more than worthy of a fresh look. We are convinced there is a substantial audience waiting to be served.

Who is our Audience?

While a major partion of our user base will be serious academics looking to analyse primary source documents, our core audience will probably be students intersted in a basic study of Reagan and/or the Cold War. We also anticipate a health audience of amatuer history enthusiasts who are just looking for interesting new avenues & resources to peruse online. We think a niche market will develop for people (among others) who, for example, are interested in the technological feasibility of SDI — from a purely scientific standpoint.

What does our audience want?

Serious researchers will undoubtably depend on the Archive repository and primarily rely on primary sources. They will know what they're looking for and how to find it using our advanced search function.
Students on the other hand, will probably focus more on the interactive Timeline exhibit and will probably appreciate the context & analysis provided by the corresponding mini-essays for each document. The amatuer/enthusiast will utilize both Archive and exhibit in equal measure — we think they'll like the option to view video in particular.

Our mission is to serve all three audiences as best we possibly can as we value all users equally.

Reaffirming our Goals:

In the short-term we hope to build and launch a comprehensive SDI interactive Timeline exhibit.
In the intermediate term we will build a solid & efficient technical platform to service our users while simultaneously finding and maintaing an audience.
Over the long term we'd like to establish a solid reputation in the acedemic community as a trusted resource for primary & secondary documents related to the late Cold War period.

How will we find and build an audience? How will we encourage repeat visits?

ReagansColdWar.org will make a concerted effort to link with numberous established websites related to both President Reagand and the Cold War (see Links noted on the Index essay). In addition to extensive online linkage, we think that by including the term Reagan and Cold War in our URL address will help guarentee an immediate high Google profile. We will issue press releases leading up to launch and buy space to advertise our mission in several of high profile History & Education associations & periodicals.

We hope that our Discussion boards will generate a lively and ongoing dialogue within our user community and plan to post questions monthly to encourage the debate. Our audience will also have a vote in which topic they think we should profile in our next Timeline exhibit. We think that space for blogs as well as the ability to weigh in on our direction will provide sufficient web 2/0 to retain our user base and keep them engaged.

What is our measure of success?

We will of course closely monitor visits and site activities using standard metrics — but more importantly, our success will be measured by our overall contribution to the public history debate. We'll attempt to quantify our impact in-part based on how often ReagansColdWar.org is listed as a published source in academic journals, as well as how often Teachers access our lesson plans.

Conclusion:

We think the time is right to take a fresh look at Reagan's contribution to the Cold War. There is a clear dearth in the public record — ie., no centralized & dedicated space for focused study and we think the subject is more the worthy of the considerable expense and effort it will take to build comprehensive online digital Archive. ReagansColdWar.org would like to be the place to help serve this public history.

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