The Multi-Talented Blog: Week 5

I find Amy’s NOVA Digital History blog particularly helpful to look at as another student’s perspective on this class (granted a different semester).  I completely understand her comment about not having other student’s perspectives and observations to benefit from.  Reading Amy’s blog lends me that insight I would otherwise be lacking because I, as Amy, I have not had any interaction with the students taking this course in the classroom or any other students who may be taking this class online as well.  Amy’s blog is well put together.  The page is easy to navigate and pleasing to look at.  I like the links to the right side of the page.  That caused me to further explore my blog to see what was housed on the right side.  I may have to delve deeper to see how I might add my own links to the right side of the page, above the default settings assigned by Word Press.  Interestingly, I did find an RSS link to subscribe to comments under the meta link.  Should have known to look directly on the page instead of trying to find the RSS feature on the backend.

Low and behold, my blog is on the page.  I am curious to know what other’s think of it?

The Russian History blog adds the links on the left column of the page versus the right, as I find to be more standard across blogs.  Aside from the links in the introductory paragraph, there are no links at the top of the page either.  The layout of any blog or webpage is at the preference of the author and has no effect on the content, but those are just a few differences I noticed and felt were worth mentioning.

I really like the structure of the Civil War Memory blog; from the use of graphics/pictures associated with each post to the utilization of social media links to share an article friends/followers (which is very common across blogs anyway).  Some posts even harness YouTube to better convey that to which the article speaks.  The “You may also like” tag at the end of each post is a great feature to link people to similar posts.  Blogs are a very good use of displaying your own works and providing yourself with some free advertisement, as Kevin Levin does with his book and speaking links.

Alexandria Past took me to gotonames.com.  It seems like a broken link.  The page offers webhosting and blogs for a fee, which is related to this course as a resource to use, but I do not think that was the page the link was intended to send me to.

The first thing I noticed about the War Historian blog was the amount of space occupied by the blog posts, and the background that depicts soldiers at war (not sure if that is carved in stone as a monument or a manipulation of a picture).  All of the other blogs to this point have largely used white space with no background (though Amy’s had a colored background).  I do not think that takes away from the blog by any means because it is not overdone.  I really like it.  The War Historian blog, like the Civil War Memory blog uses FB, Twitter, and other links to tag and share posts.  Browsing through some of the post, I noticed the author took the time to appropriately source references.  I think the banner to the blog could use some work.  The picture in the upper left hand corner is tiny, but perhaps that was done on purpose because I know what a pain it can be to expand jpeg’s and other picture files.  That often leads to a distortion.  The color is a bland color with a lot of space.

There is something slightly off on the Pennsylvania History and Genealogy blog that I am trying to put my finger on.  It could be that the ads are awkwardly placed.  More to the point, there is not a clear separation between the banner and the rest of the blog.  The site also lacks lines that clearly delineate between different links or pages contained within the sites.  Instead, the links to the right of the page all run into one another creating a slight distraction.  The information is not confirmed (author is unsure of the names of those in the photo’s).

The Lehigh Valley Railroad site is set up more like a webpage judging from the plethora of header pages/links at the top of the page.  The setup of the page seems old school, more like web 1.0 as well.  The comments section is laid out as one would provide a comment to an article on a news site versus a blog.  The bolded font and different colored text is distracting.

I think the WWII History blog would be better suited as a website than as a blog.  The creator of the blog does not appear to post very often which adds value to my initial statement that this site would be better maintained as a website v. a blog.  The design of the blog is aesthetically pleasing in my opinion.  I do not find it to be too busy or distracting in any way.  It is a very plain, dark colored background.  As long as a solid color is used a backgrounds, I think blogs are fine (as long as the solid color is bright pink or similarly too bright that is).

The World War 1 Veterans blog is another site I believe would be better as a website than as a blog.  None of the links in the banner of the page actively work.  There is a lot of information contained in the right-hand column of the page creating a busy feel.  I do not see a statement or the copyright watermark contained anywhere on this blog.  I am not sure if that is applicable to materials contained on the blog (pictures and documents) because WW1 is prior to the copyright date in the text?  The colors seem to work because the headings on each post are in the same color as the light blue background keeping with a themed color.

I find the right column of the Virginia’s Historical Society blog to be a bit busy.  Also, the banner contains what appear to be links to another page, however, that is misleading because clicking on them does not redirect you to another page.  Other than those two items I like the blog.

I think the frequent contributors column on the Philadelphia Digital History Forum blog, would be better placed elsewhere on the page.  Perhaps at the bottom or contained on another page.  The follower’s section on the bottom left of the page should also be moved to the right column. Other than that the blog follows the general rule of thumb of keeping it plain and simple.

I find visuals to be a great aid in determining whether I want to further explore a site or not.  The Steven Udvar Házy site had beautiful photographs as the banner.  The setup of the site does lead you to want to read the blog.  The site is not a blog though, as is mentioned in this week’s assignment.  The site simply provides notable information, but does not encourage feedback/interaction.

The Virtual Architectural Archaeology page looks good as a blog, but I feel it would also work well as a webpage.  As the page expands to more than 5 posts I think it would be worth it for the author to look into creating a webpage.  I love the visuals depicting the transformation and the 3-D reconstruction.  I think it would to interesting to photograph the plot of land where John Mason’s house once stood in its present state.  I have been the Theodore Roosevelt Island a couple of times and did not know that the Mason’s once owned that land.

Of the 50 Best American History blogs, I honed in on the blogs related to the presidency (the American Presidents Blog and the Abraham Lincoln blog) and bookmarked those to further explore at a later date.

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