Creative Commons Licensing

Posted in Digital History on March 30th, 2008 by Colin

Today I put one of the relatively painless but important finishing touches on our website: I published a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License for the Farmer Group’s original content.

Why do I say original content? That’s a very important distinction, as I found out. There are only a couple quick questions you have to answer to find the right license before you publish it. However, when you are making up your mind about whether to use a license, there are a few things to consider. Since some of the content for our final project is collected from other sources, we obviously do not own the copyright to them. We can not claim copyright over things like quotes from Lay Bare the Heart or public domain stuff like the videos of Farmer in the Senate of Virginia. What we can claim is some of what we write and any pictures that we take (emphasis is on what WE take, thus “original”), like our pictures of the bust or Farmer’s awards.

What our license says right now is that none of our original content can be used without attributing us, no one can make money off of it, and they can’t modify it. I highly recommend doing this to the other groups, although your copyright situations may vary. We are actually claiming very little from our project with this license, but it still establishes our legal rights over our own work.

Update, 4/19/2008: I think that it is worth adding to this statement that the James Farmer Project’s videos that we have uploaded to YouTube are subject to YouTube’s Terms of Use, which we, the James Farmer Group, agreed to when we uploaded them. YouTube reserves the right “to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business.” Therefore, YouTube may use our work, but with the understanding that the content of our work in the videos is all in the public domain.

Digital Media and Web Publishing

Posted in Digital History on March 27th, 2008 by Colin

This is my first post this week, so I have to make this a longer one to cover everything that’s going on right now.

First, I’d like to point out a program that I found called Picasa. It’s possible that other people already know about this, but before late last week, I didn’t. Picasa manages all of the pictures on your hard drive. It works a little bit like Google. Once you install it, it searches your hard drive for all of your pictures and then presents them to you in a nice list. Its amazing how many pictures you have on your hard drive without knowing it. I figure that this might be helpful for the markers group and for Laura in our own group.

In other news, I met with Andy Rush and Carolyn Parsons in the UMW Archives on Monday and we had an extremely productive meeting. Basically, Andy now has the copies of the videos from the archives that we planned on digitizing. It is possible to edit the files in Windows Movie Maker, but Andy was worried about file sizes and has asked us to come into the DTLT to do our edits. Mary and I are meeting with him this coming Monday to edit the videos and upload them.

We are now working on tying everything off on the James Farmer Project website. On Tuesday, I went into the blog and helped reorganize things. We didn’t have a good front page before, so I wrote an intro about James Farmer and gave a description of our project with some pictures of Farmer. Thanks Mary. Laura added a little bit to it too. We hope to put a “tasteful” mashup of Farmer’s life on the front page as well.

I also created an about us page. I didn’t really see that being a huge biography of our lives, basically just what we each did on the project. We can decide if we want to scrub it.

Nikole is adding links to our links section. I had a thought: do we want to merge our “UMW Resources” with the “Related Links” section? I think it would be less clutter.

The blog is also now on its own page. I think that Laura deleted our widgets, most of them were for us anyway. The goal is to go public with the site early next week, which will then make it possible for the world to see our work.

Farmer Timeline

Posted in Digital History on March 19th, 2008 by Colin

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you with the finished James Farmer Timeline (barring any unexpected developments or overall layout changes that probably won’t occur).

Some recent changes include:

  1. I cropped the header of Farmer some more and uploaded it separately to
  2. After I asked a few of my friends from outside class to look at it, I edited the labels for the timeline events so that they now match the titles. Our labels from before made sense to us (like awards03), but not to anyone visiting the site.
  3. I followed Dr. McClurken’s suggestion and added an event for the first honorary doctorate that Farmer received, but provided the page on the UMW website where visitors can see all 22 doctorates.
  4. I also added links below the header to make it easier to navigate.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, Laura may add a few pictures of the awards in Farmer’s old office by the end of the week, but because we don’t know how they might turn out because we have some formatting and size issues, it’s safe to say that everything we have right now is staying. We might not be adding much, if anything.

Again, you can see the timeline here.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them here. If we need to debug anything, let us know.

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Matt Downs is my hero

Posted in Digital History on March 18th, 2008 by Colin

He knows why.

Finishing Touches

Posted in Digital History on March 17th, 2008 by Colin

Pursuant (SAT, GRE, and LSAT word, by the way) to the terms of our contract, the James Farmer Group is supposed to finish our timeline this week. It is now 3 days before we present to the class on Thursday, but I think that we are almost done right now.

I worked on the design over the weekend and just tweaked it a little bit. The menu looks better than it did before, I think. I also annotated the bibliography, so on the layout end of things besides the timeline itself, it is done.

However, we still had a couple dates that we didn’t have citations for or we weren’t even sure about the dates themselves. Nikole asked me if she could help and I said that we still needed to know when Farmer went to the NAACP, when the Multicultural Center became the James Farmer Multicultural Center, and a good citation for his death. She did a great job and found the last two for us. We’re still not quite sure about the exact date that Farmer went to work for the NAACP, so I went back to Farmer’s autobiography. Lay Bare the Heart simply says that he went in early 1959, so if that is good enough for Farmer, then I think that that is good enough for us.

I made sure to add the new sources Nikole found to our bibliography. One of the things that Nikole discovered was this page at the James Farmer Scholars website that offers an extremely thorough list of the awards James Farmer received. There is quite a lot there, but if we think its worth it, we can put all of them in the timeline. Nikole suggested a new awards category, so I made one and put the four big awards at the bottom of the page into the timeline.

So then, the big issue is this: that brings our total number of events to 39, but if we want to add all of the honorary doctorates that Farmer received, the number could nearly double. I’m ok with adding them since they’re pretty short and all from the same source, but I agree with Nikole and I just don’t think that they are that important to Farmer’s life.

Contract Changes

Posted in Digital History on March 13th, 2008 by Colin

Mary made a good point last night about the deadlines we had on our original contract. Originally, our group was trying to cast a very wide net for material on James Farmer’s life, but what we kept running into was copyright issues. I believe that we recognized that almost from the outset and understood that we would have to work within the context of the preexisting copyrights to do our project that way.

But then we realized that the timeframe for doing that was too long to fit into one semester. Drafting permission letters, then mailing them, then waiting for a response could take 6 weeks or more, especially if we contacted one of the major copyright holders like Getty Images or UPI. We started working with what we had access to and could get quick permission for, which mostly included stuff in the UMW Archives and the Free-Lance Star.

This morning we made some updates to our contract that reflect this that I think everyone in our group agrees with. In most cases not involving copyright (which doesn’t really apply anymore), we are actually ahead of schedule for where we wanted to be at this point in the semester. Laura has a good start with uploading pictures, Mary has done a lot with the Bullet articles, I have nearly finished the timeline, and Nikole has done a lot of work in the UMW archives. Even our website is looking a lot like how we want it to look in the final version, so our updated contract pushes us to have more from the sources that we have.

We chose to keep our next deadline, which is the finished timeline next week. I think that that won’t be a problem on my end. We may talk about it a little more then run it by Dr. McClurken.

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