Category Archives: Theory and Practice

Online Security

Based on the presentation on wednesday, nothing I do online is safe.  I really do not do many activities that requires any advanced personal information.  I use Google and Youtube and get recommendations  based on my history and that is about it.  I do not often make purchases online and I am only registered to a few sites; none of which require more than my name and e-mail address.

Finding items for my project has not been extremely difficult but has become more challenging recently.  I have used all the images that the Library of Congress has offered on my subject, and that I can legally use.  I have eight items in my database and have ideas for two more (another video and visualization) but that is about it.  I found some photographs on a blogpost that were relevant but to obtain the rights to them involved a long process and a fee. All of the items have relevance, but the only item that I have that I consider especially useful is a diagram that shows the extent of the damage inflicted during the riots.

Text Mining Tools and Project Progress

Text mining tools like Wordle and Google Ngram are of basically no use to me for my project.  I do not believe these tools should be used for any formal project except, maybe, to get very basic statistical data from Ngram.  Wordle is really more of an art project application that can be used to kill time and not much else; it does show you the prevalence of certain words but it does nothing that can aid a project.  Neither of these tools will be of much use to me when I am trying to show the effect of the 1968 Washington D.C. riots.

I have not made much progress on my project in terms of actual physical work on the Omeka account or on the paper but I have narrowed down my topic to a point where it easier to explore, and found a few more resources that will be helpful.  My research will focus on the affect the Riots had on the surrounding neighborhoods.  The paper should now be more focused and easier to assemble, however I still need to find more resources with useful information.

Calvin And Hobbes Copyright

The digitized reproductions of the Calvin and Hobbes comics are technically violating copyright law unless financial compensation was given to the creator of the image, Bill Watterson.  The comic strip would also not violate copyright law if the image was obtained legally and used for only non-profit face to face education according to the copyright law on educational materials. By saying the material was obtained legally means that the image was copied from a library, official archive, or purchased legally.  Any copy that came from the internet, television or radio, or duplicated from a colleague’s copy is illegal.

Therefore, if the comic strip that is posted on the syallbus does not violate copyright law if the image was legally acquired by one of the methods posted above, because it is used for educational purposes.  The placement of the image would also be illegal if it was placed on the site without an purpose other than to entertain; that is somewhat true in this case but cannot really be argued for because the image teaches a lesson related to the class.  If the image appeared on any other website that was not directly connected to an official class and was not legally purchased from the creator, then it would be a case of copyright infringement.

Primary source assignment

The first primary source I examined was an 107 year old newspaper article from a publication called The Washington Bee, trying to preserve the home of the late Frederick Douglass.  The article expresses the importance of the man and why his home in D.C. needs to be saved because of the former fact.  The main point of the piece was to ask for donations so that the home could be made into a historical monument so that all can see his influence.


It is very clear that the article is written by an African-American individual, specifically because of a sentence early on that reads: “It is now twelve years since Frederick Douglass, to whom the Negro people owe more to any member of our race…”.  Upon further research I discovered that The Washington Bee was a weekly publication mostly written and read by African-Americans.  The publication was syndicated from 1882 to 1922 and focused heavily on the activities of local African-Americans.  The year 1907 was still a time of great discrimination and so the article becomes even more important because it expresses an admiration for a figure who is yet to reach higher acclaim by other communities.

The second primary source I examined was a map of the Confederate forces plan to attack Washington D.C. in 1864 stored in the Library of Congress.  The map was created by Robert Knox Sneden (1832-1918).  The document shows the locations and directions for several rebel units and the specific areas they are supposed to attack.  There are numerous drawings of forts listed along with sketches of new roads and areas of where there is blockage complete with small notes describing each as such. At the bottom of the document there are handwritten notes by the mapmaker listing the number of soldiers each side has and the number of casualties suffered.


Research indicates that Sneden was a Union mapmaker and painter who was captured by the South in 1863 and was held as a POW until the war ended.  During his imprisonment , he created many maps and diagrams, including this one. According to the LOC website, the attack the map shows was a plan that was eventually abandoned because there was too much Union reinforcement. This map is dated september 1864 while the attack was scheduled for July of the same year meaning this map is simply a document created afterward as a historical record by an observer.





Website Evaluation Assignment

Introduction to Historical Thinking Matters

The website Historical Thinking Matters is an archival and educational website containing primary resources of The Spanish-American War, The Scopes Trial, Social Security, and Rosa Parks.  The website is produced by Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University, and Stanford University.


The purpose as defined by the website is “(to create a) website focused on key topics in U.S. history, that is designed to teach students to critically read primary sources and how to critique and construct historical narratives.”


The content provided is four in-depth investigations of the topics listed above.  The site brings together such primary resources as original letters written by civil rights rally organizers, a speech by Martin Luther King, and a number of other documents.  Every subject begins with a short informative video followed by a selection of primary documents. For instance, the section on The Spanish-American War contains everything from a song published right after The Maine sank, to the State of the Union address delivered by president Mckinley.


The site is sponsored by George Mason University and Stanford University, which are both schools held in high regard.  Additionally the website won the American Historical Society’s James Harvey Robinson Prize for an outstanding teaching aid.  With both of these accolades, it would be hard to believe this site is not credible.

Introduction to Monticello Explorer


Monticello Explorer is an interactive educational website created by the Thomas Jefferson foundation.  The site allows users to take virtual tours through both the house itself and the plantation that is adjacent to it.


The purpose of the website is to give students an opportunity to see and learn about a famous historical landmark that they may never be able to see in person.


The site offers maps and diagrams of the location along with detailed and narrated video tours of the house and plantation that contain numerous historical facts about Jefferson as well as the house.


The site boasts a few strong sources for information including the Library Of Congress so it is likely the information provided is accurate.  However, the site is produced by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation so the positive bias of the president cannot go unnoticed.  There is an overall positive tone when describing the man.

My Digital Autobiography

A Brief Description of My Internet Use

A description of my web presence is fairly simple.  I use the internet quite frequently but I do not have a wide array of activities.  Every day I visit the sites,, and The Daily Beast to check the news and to look for interesting articles.  When I am done with that I check my Mason Email account to see if my teachers have announced anything important.  Following my Email check I log on to Blackboard to look for more announcements regarding assignments or other important information.  I will do this periodically throughout the day to make sure there are no new developments.  Occasionally when I do not have any other work to do I will look up subjects I am interested in on Google. Also on a daily basis I will usually listen to music on either Pandora or Youtube until it distracts me too much or I get tired of it.  This description of my daily Internet activties is somewhat short and simple because everything I do on the computer does not have much detail to it.

I do not blog, tweet, or use any form of social networking.  The reason I do not have any of these accounts is because I have no interest in doing whatever the sites are designed to do.  Facebook gives me the opportunity to see what people ate for dinner and most blogging sites allow me to share information that no one would bother to read so there is no reason for me to do these activities.