Beginning in 2014, when we started blogging about the South Mall, we were convinced that combining images and individual narratives with the changing map of Albany would help us construct a broader narrative of how urban renewal transformed our city.
Of course, we didn’t have the skills to build such a website. And we still don’t, really. But we’re beginning to take baby steps toward our ultimate goal of building a map-based website that highlights both the extraordinary visual record we’ve uncovered in the archives and the many personal stories shared with us by people who remember the 98 acres before and during redevelopment.
For the past two summers, Dave has spent a total of four weeks attending a digital publishing workshop at West Virginia University. He’s not a coding ninja (yet), but he did pick up enough to build a bare bones website that includes a map and three photo galleries. This is nowhere near our final vision. Rather, it is a way for us to familiarize ourselves with open-source and non-proprietary tools that will likely be part of a future website.
Here’s the link: http://98acresinalbany.com/.
For those curious about the tools we used to build the site, a few words are in order. Admittedly, the landing page needs work—it’s very basic HTML with absolutely no frills or styling. It’s not responsive, meaning it doesn’t display well on phones. The map and photo galleries, however have some level of responsiveness for viewing on phones.
For the photo galleries, he used a tool called Lightbox JS that provides basic navigation and captioning of photos. Like the landing page, there are issues. Most especially, he has yet to figure out how to get the captions displayed properly.
We’d love feedback—but be gentle! And if any of you have web-based history projects you’d like to start, we’d be happy to help.