Adventures in Digital History 2010 Rotating Header Image

Alumni Images Contract

Mission Statement
Our primary goal is to develop an easy and efficient way to collect information from 200 photos of UMW/MWC throughout the years, soliciting the help of alumni for identification purposes. This will help the existing UMW Archive to update their records and to present a more complete representation of the school’s history. We will do this by organizing the photos we have chosen in an Omeka-based website and encouraging alumni to visit and contribute in whatever way they can. One of our secondary goals, however, is that this site will be a place where alumni can view the images of UMW/MWC in a manner that is more easily accessible than the current archive in place. We will provide the link to the current archive so that interested viewers can access it, but we hope that our site will be the destination for alumni to visit. As the information from alumni comes in, we will share it with the archives and archivist Carolyn Parsons, to help them further their own records. We also hope that the members of this group will get some sort of recognition or credit within the archives for the information we helped gather. Another secondary goal in the development of our site is to build it in such a way that it will encourage future groups to follow our lead and continue to update the site, communicating with alumni and identifying more unknown pictures. Finally, we hope to accomplish all of this in a professional manner that works with the nostalgia and enthusiasm of the alumni rather than causing any frustration on their part due to an overwhelming amount of unnecessary correspondence from our group.

Schedule of Milestones

  • February 5-7th 2010 each group member chose 50 images to record information on.
  • Tuesday, February 9, 2010 – Contracts are due.
  • February 18, 2010- Pictures organized into chronological categories based on decade for potential Omeka exhibits. We will also include a few special interest exhibits that chronicle Mary Washington traditions and events such as Devil Goat Day or Junior Ring Week.
  • Week of February 14-18, Create a sample site (mock-up) with Patrick Murray-John and establish what 2-3 sentences we would like to include in the Alumni Newsletter, along with our URL, to announce our upcoming project
  • Group meetings throughout February to finalize the process that we will follow in order to tag the images for identification and to organize the images into different exhibits. From this point until the end of the semester each group member will be responsible for researching their set of 50 images. We will consult the library’s collection of yearbooks, alumni currently on campus, and any other resources the library may have to help us identify the people and places in our photos. We also need to research school traditions and events, found both within Dr. Crawley’s book, and in other sources such as newspapers, and yearbooks, in order to collect text to compliment the images.
  • Saturday, February 20, 2010 – Alumni Meeting at the Jepson Alumni Center. Arrive no later than 10 am. We will briefly present the mock-up site that we have created and explain our vision for getting alumni involved in identifying the images.
  • Thursday, February 25, 2010- Final version of site fully organized and laid out. We will then begin building our site in Omeka.
  • March 15, 2010- Site officially launched.
  • March 16, 2010- Email goes out to alumni informing them of the site’s launch.
  • As information arrives from alumni, we will add it to the image’s data on our Omeka site. Ideally the information and updates will continue for as long as the alumni visit the website.
  • We will also pass on the collected information in the form of a simple spreadsheet to the existing archive and archivist to try and help them keep their records up to date.
  • Thank you letters to alumni who have participated should go out via email as their contributions come in.
  • Tuesday, April 20, 2010 – Projects due. We will present the final website to the class with all of the information we have collected and, if possible create a final Omeka exhibit highlighting the images that received substantial contributions. We will detail the process through which we gathered the information from alumni and our research.
  • Thursday, April, 22, 2010 – Reflection Paper/Blog due.

Technological Tools

  • Our Alumni Images project will be hosted by an Omeka-based website with the URL:
  • In order to create a usable site for our visitors, the basic framework of our Omeka site will include a chronological online photo collection split into exhibits by decade. We may include thematic exhibits such as a collection of images of Devil Goat Day throughout the years and of student activities like clubs and sports teams.
  • We will also have a guest-book sign-in for visitors, that will allow us to see who is using the site, and could potentially help alumni get in touch with one another. We want this site to be a place for alumni to reflect on their days at Mary Washington, tell all of their friends to visit our site, and consider helping us to identify our selected images.
  • We are also going to include Omeka plug-ins such as Image Annotation and Contribution that would allow the Mary Washington alumni visiting the site to provide further information (such as names, dates, and places,) about past students and activities depicted in the photos by adding text and tags, thereby helping us to further our primary goal of collecting information about the images.
  • We will use the help from DTLT, specifically from Patrick Murry-John in creating our Omeka website and from Jim Groom in helping to spread the word about our site.
  • Though this site will be predominately image based, we will include some text to compliment the photos and to explain certain events and traditions associated with the school. We will use the expertise of  Dr. William Crawley’s The University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History to aid us in our search for some of this historical information as well as for information about any alumni who may be able to help in identifying. We will cite the sources from which we collected information in Turabian format.
  • We would like to include an image slide show on the homepage to spark the interest of our visitors and to add a professional touch. This would include a selected subset of images meant to display the wide variety of images found within in the site.
  • We will effectively utilize alumni resources available to us here on campus in individuals such as Dr. Jeffrey McClurken, a UMW alumnus, as an alumni liaison, Dean Cedric Rucker, Dean of Student Life, as well as Cynthia Snyder and the Alumni Board.
  • Carolyn Parsons will also help us to navigate the original Mary Washington Centennial Archive ( and to create a consistent language for collecting data and tagging the photos. We want to work within the existing library archival system so that the data we collect from Alumni will be easily translated into the archive.
  • We will pass on the data collected in the form of a spreadsheet to those working on the library archive, including Carolyn Parsons and her intern, so that they can enter the information, and we will assist with the process as time and their request dictate.
  • Our project will ideally include two maps, (at least one of which will be prepared by the geography department). One of these maps will help to make our site more interactive by mapping the location and graduation year of alumni who visit and respond to our site. If the geography department does not have the time to create this site for us we will work on it on our own through Google Map Maker or Google Spreadsheet. A second map, the one we will encourage the geography department to build, will document changes on the Mary Washington campus throughout the years. This way visitors can note what the campus may have looked like during a particular contributor’s time at Mary Washington.
  • We also want to include a user guide for students, staff and faculty for potential continued use of the site as the archive continues to expand. We know that the library archive currently contains hundreds of photos, many of which are lacking in some or all identifying data, and we hope that our project provides a means through which to continue to collect information about these images even after we are no longer at UMW.