Stratford-upon-Avon Memory Map Project Update

It’s been a while since I posted directly about my project, which I announced in my December post. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a project manager in a digital humanities center, and this is my first time working on a project that is completely my own. It has definitely been an enlightening experience so far, and I’m finally starting to see the different elements coming together in a cohesive way.

The initial hurdle I had not expected was the difficulty of tracking down all of the different guidebooks I wanted to use for my project. There was one guidebook in particular that was listed with different metadata in each place I found it online, but it was the same one from a Ward, Lock & Co. travel guide series. Eventually, with the help of a librarian friend, I was able to fiddle with my search terms enough to come up with a number of distinct, digitized guide books from the 19th century that could serve as the basis for my project. I was then able to pull information from these books to create the data set serving as the foundation for my map.

We had done a Leaflet project as part of one of the rapid development challenges last semester, so I was slightly more confident in that area of the project. While I was able to successfully create the base layer and put pins on the maps, I started to realize that there were issues with the lack of specificity in my coordinates. For some of the sites I’m representing on the map, the landmark or historic building does not have a specific address other than the site name and then the street it’s on. I have been able to get fairly close, but it has taken quite a bit of tweaking to make the pins appear in more accurate locations. Something I’m currently debating is the level of zoom on the map. While the majority of sites are in Stratford-upon-Avon proper, there are several at the fringes of the town or even a town over. I’m going to have to carefully consider how this plays into the narrative I’m constructing and make a decision soon. I never imagined that something as simple as the level of zoom could make this much of an impact.

One of the biggest learning curves I’ve had to deal with while working on this project is figuring out how to use Bootstrap Studio. I was able to procure a license through the GitHub Student Developer Pack, which is a fantastic resource. At first I had tried to use a free theme I found online, but after talking to Ethan I changed to building my own so that I knew where everything was in the code and how it worked. Personally, I did not find Bootstrap Studio intuitive at first even with walk-through upon installation and going through online documentation. However, I’ve finally started to get the hang of it and my development of the framework of my website to compliment the map is starting to go more smoothly

Overall, working on this project is definitely a learning experience and is giving me insight into all the nuances you might not think of when managing a project on a larger, big-picture scale. Although I’ve come far since the beginning of the semester, my project is definitely still a work in progress. It’s still difficult to imagine the final product, but there’s no doubt that the project is getting there.

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