Welcome to Digital History!

Welcome to the Digital History course for fall 2014.


I discovered this morning that I was, in fact, out of printer paper! So this will have to do for now =)


Aaron Elfering

Hist. 381


Technology in the Classroom: A Digital Frontier

            Reflecting upon my experiences with educational technology, both in theory and in practice, I believe that we are in the midst of a major revolution in this field. Over the past semester, I have been introduced to a plethora of technology aids, resources, and tools that even I never suspected to exist. Technology can be made to be a great asset in any classroom, both as a motivational aid and a teaching tool to help students succeed. The realms of technology in the classroom have expanded far beyond mere word processing and basic presentations with images, and technology is now a prime way to motivate students. Now, those same programs used for simple tasks are capable of so much more. For example, instead of merely creating a linear PowerPoint presentation, teachers can use the Kiosk features of the program to create interactive, non-linear activities for students such as Jeopardy or Hollywood Squares for use during lessons. Video games, before used only for children’s entertainment, now can be learning tools instead with a proper introduction. For example, strategy games created about the civil war can be used as instructional tools when describing the lives of soldiers during the conflict or other related topics. By using technology in this fashion, students can become more engaged in instruction and achieve a more substantive learning experience.

Perhaps my favorite use of technology over the past semester has been our use and discussion of GIS oriented tools. I’ve been acquainted with these types of tools for a long time now but never cease to be amazed by the potential that lies in GIS based learning and technology. Stretching far beyond dinking around with google earth, I was fairly excited to get to incorporate this kind of technology into our grant proposals and discuss the huge potential that this sort of technology can bring to the class room.

One of the things I find most interesting about technology is that, for the most part, users are able to use many different kinds of technology in conjunction with the other to create/present information in ways that many people might not think possible. It was great to see this same effect occur first hand in class with each project/study area. It’s nice to know that I could combine GIS technologies along with some augmented reality (QR codes, video reporting etc.) and analyze through copious amounts of big data and primary sources to create one killer wiki page or even a large scale grant proposal. Ultimately there just don’t seem to be many classes I’ve taken where towards the end I felt that I could use each project or area of study in a practical, impressive manner.

The fact that students were encouraged to use any technology available to them felt very refreshing and in my opinion, access to smart phones, tablets and laptops being openly encouraged seemed to make for less distraction for students. It is my hope that other courses will start to step away from the idea that these devices are taboo in the classroom. While I personally stand by the use of technology in the classroom due to its seemingly limitless potential, I feel like it’s important to note that if technology is to be implemented heavily into the educational world, it is crucial that it is used to foster a more encouraging, interesting and creative learning environment rather than being used to homogenize education and allow for lazier teaching methods; the focus must remain on the student and in many cases, the classroom will still play a vital role.



Digital Humanities Reflection

Kyle Varnadoe

Digital humanities

Prof. Leslie Madsen-Brooks

Technology Reflection

I was most intrigued by how much technology relies upon games in aspects of storytelling and what goes into creating a virtual environment for gaming, as well as accuracy in historical interpretations.  Technology through History using games; this was described comprehensively by Bryan Alexander in his book The New Digital Storytelling and also by a new digital pen-pal of mine named Adam Chapman, who I’d describe as a younger generation’s version of a developing digital humanist.  I met Chapman on my digital humanist interview assignment and was enlightened by his field of research.  Problem-based storytelling in games, along with historical accuracy, is developing into one of the fastest forms of learning popular history.

There are certain characteristics that storytelling within a game has on the audience that other popular form of historical interpretations, such as film, don’t have.  The filming industry portraying historical events is often criticized for lacking in historical accuracy, portraying inconsistent accuracy in historical interpretation to the viewer.  One can argue that such assimilation to the viewer can be miss-leading, directing a discourse for historical interpretation.  Aside from documentaries, it’s a real bummer because I’m such a historical movie buff, but I often catch myself analyzing a movie as I watch it to find these misinterpretations.  They can be as tedious as German Shepherds in “Gladiator” or as overwhelmingly inaccurate as FDR standing up out of his wheel chair in Pearl Harbor.  These forms of skeptic analysis in historical film formats are conjunctive to the popular design of problem-solving based models in the storytelling of games.  I mean come on, who wants to watch a movie with someone who points out all the mistakes or refutes claims made by the film-makers, who cares?  I could only imagine how an early French film-artist may have felt when witnessing Joseph Goebbels accuracy in historical interpretations on film.  The difficulty behind historical narratives being used as a standard for applying accuracy to a story and relying upon both evidence of the past and the historical writing is the interpretations.  This new game based story-telling is a new opportunity to avoid past mistakes in historical interpretation, promoting more accurate forms of learning history.

Clearly what’s being sought after by historical researchers in connection to the gaming industry is a solution to the discourse of learning accurate history.  This was my favorite aspect of this course, what lays on the horizon for new potential careers and industries focused on History! I’m pursuing a degree in history and teaching, but I’m not sure that I want to teach yet, nor am I certain of what I truly know anymore sometimes.  It’s all so speculative and can sometimes be frustrating, when analyzing the past.  Bitter truths are sometimes hard to take in and those of us like Jack Nicholson saying to Tom Cruise “you can’t handle the truth,” acquire a mode of thinking that goes past the ideals of society to unveil the realities which we face today, my true struggle.  There are little things that frustrate me sometimes, that reveal a truth inside me, perhaps my human nature.  For instance, why the hell am I frustrated about cell phone reception and computer issues in a day and age when my parents would have killed for these conveniences in school? There’s a lesson in being the only student with a flip phone in this class, my stubbornness to adapt to new technology has been intimidating, especially amongst my peers who all have iphones and ipads, I feel Jurassic in my era sometimes.  More importantly it comes down to fear for me I believe.  I’m afraid there may be a motive for misinterpretation.  It’s true that many of these discoursed lessons are simply misinterpreted or embellished purely by accident, however if there’s one thing I know about real history, it comes with a heavy dose of sobering reality to those who find what they fear the most of it.


Alexander, Bryan. The New Digital Storytelling. Praeger, 2011. Print.

Chapman, Adam. “Privileging Form Over Content: Analysing Historical Videogames.”       Journal of Digital Humanities. Volume 1.2 (2012): n. page. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

JFK Reloaded, Adam Frickey

JFK Reloaded


JFK reloaded is a first person shooter in which the player attempts to assassinate JFK .

The creators of JFK reloaded released this realistic shooter on the 41st  Anniversary of the JFK assassination amid a storm of understandable backlash. The creators however claim that the game was not intended to be offensive but instead created the eerie simulation in an attempt to educate the public and debunk assassination conspiracies surrounding that fateful day. In order to accomplish their educational agenda the game places you, the shooter, in the exact location where Oswald stood and challenges you to re-create his three shots. The closer you get to replicating those three shots the higher score out of 1000 you receive. In theory the game presents an interesting and controversial concept, and presents it in a user friendly way, it allows the general public to investigate a very divided topic and generate their own opinions.

For the most part the majority of the games I discovered online were historically based but didn’t seem to really try and impart any knowledge on the players. The majority just had small tidbits of historical fact (tank names, places, time frames for example) but for the most part they were intended to entertain as opposed to educate.

Officers’ Memorial on Boise Wiki

Idaho Peace Officers’ Memorial by Ryan Regis

The Idaho Peace Officers’ Memorial is a special place where friends, family, officers, and those who wish to pay their respects for the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to help enforce and protect our freedoms that we have today. The memorial is found in Meridian, Idaho on the property of the Idaho State Police facility. The memorial is small in many elements but holds great volume in its message. I have found the appreciation for peace officers is low and almost non-existent in Idaho as well as most of the nation. I hope to change that and help others understand and know of the greatness and significance that it holds.

I chose this memorial site to be an important addition to Boise Wiki for a few reasons. As mentioned above, I think that the appreciation for law enforcement is almost non-existent in this state. New York holds great parades, ceremonies, and summer events for the family to help raise awareness to the men and women in blue. Here in Idaho, have see a memorial and have heard of a run or park event in Nampa annually. I have never actually seen the events or any advertisements to raise community interest. So I hope that my page will do just that.

I also hold a great passion in law enforcement and hope to continue my career after I have graduated. Most officers are seen as those bullies that pull you over or ticket you; not all officers are like that. Officers put their life on the line everyday and help to ensure that our rights are not oppressed or people are safe or being safe within any and almost all environments you can find yourself into. Regardless of the good or bad experiences that one has had with the law, is it really too much to ask for a little awareness about their job and what good they do for everyone?

With this start, this small blog and a few pictures of a memorial of the fallen I feel that it can become something big. I think that throughout the years, many people will start to understand and appreciate this work that comes with the badge. To see any addition for any source enhancing this page would really put a smile on my face. I welcome all to contribute to this page and add as much information as one possibly can. No matter how small the article or how small the picture, I really hope it helps everyone within the Boise community and those around to help increase this awareness and sell the compassion to those who appreciate warriors in their life.

Some advice that I will offer to those who want to be Boise Wiki contributors, I would say do your homework. Get involved with the project and don’t just visit a location you want to write about. I would suggest becoming a part of what you are writing about. Meet the people who run the location or contribute to the location itself. People are inspired by kind words and stories. It can be anything from a laundry mat to a memorial. Tell your story about how well the place is and the people that go there. When the public hears about the good environment, the good news will go viral and spread from one person to another uncontrollably, but it has to be believable. Any one can say that this memorial means a lot to some people and can be pretty in certain seasons, but more will be drawn to your location if you tell them the people you encountered, the history of the site, and the stories that were shared. Sell the story and don’t just show someone a place of interest, become involved and sell the site through stories. History is written by winners, those who are victorious with his or her involvement in a particular experience and its location. I challenge all contributors to write history about your own victory and the experiences that can come with it.



Boise Music Scene Reflection

Boise is an up and coming contributor to the music scene in the Northwest. Local shows of emerging artists take place weekly, and it is not commonly known. Large artists have began touring the city, and Treefort Music Festival has influenced this. Treefort was strategically scheduled to take place in March due to the large amount of touring by artists worldwide. March is the month of South by Southwest, In Austin Texas. South by Southwest is one of the most popular underground music festivals in the world. Boise is becoming a hub for traveling musicians, between their location and Austin. This time period allotted Boise to book shows that wouldn’t travel through otherwise. The city of Boise is developing a passion for the arts, so the music scene seemed like a perfect topic to write about on the Boise Wiki. I chose to write about the newly formed annual Treefort Music Festival that began in March 2012. Technically, writing the wiki was not a challenge. However, I did struggle embedding a photo correctly. The Boise wiki website is easy to navigate and very simple. I like the simplicity of adding to the Boise Wiki. I think that it will provide easier access to individuals that would be interested in adding to the wiki.
I did struggle for information on my subject. The Treefort Music Festival is a newly formed festival, with the second year taking place in March of 2013. Information was not plentiful because of the newness of the festival. It was also a struggle because the festival is more of an underground music scene movement, rather than a heavily broadcasted festival like the Boise Music Festival. However, I was able to find enough information on Treefort Music Festival through the direct websites, and a contributor, Drew Lorona. I also found more information about the supporters of Treefort through the Duck Club website.
I think writing very large pieces of collaborative history for Boise is amazing. This website could become a hub for travelers, musicians, and other people interested in Boise. I am very interested in the arts of Boise, and I think the Boise wiki is something that would only benefit the artistic scene that is currently growing in the area. Boise is growing rapidly, and because of that growth, many different projects are also developing. The importance of collaborations such as Treefort Music Festival and the Trey McIntyre project can be easily seen and promoted through a website that has a historical collaboration, such as the Boise wiki. This type of information is crucial for a city that is developing rapidly, and it will help attract and create business for many people. It also helps people understand the history of their society. The Basque, for example, is something widely known about Boise, but it is not simply put. The Boise wiki allows people to see broad information on this culture rapidly. It also allows for other information to be researched beyond one category.
A disadvantage to a wiki article is that is always evolving and strong bias can be seen, but I think that adds to the flavor of the website. There is an unofficial checks and balances because articles can always be altered, so bias’s cannot be too overbearing, or they will be changed. Overall, I think this sort of project is a win win. It promotes local business, arts, movements, and the understanding of Boise’s very own history. I hope as this wiki grows, people continue to contribute. I hope as the wiki grows, and Treefort Music Festival continues through the second year, more people will contribute to such a fun local display of the arts. I will continue to write more as more information becomes available for the Treefort Music Festival.

Ellie’s Digital Identity

Elizabeth Couchum  Digital Identity Paper

In doing this project, Creating a Digital Identity, I was more than overwhelmed because I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I decided to approach this paper as a blog since eventually, I will have to create a blog sometime during this process. In one month’s time, I will go from having only two social sites to having way more sites than I ever thought I would have.

Creating a Digital Identity

November 12, 2012

Discovery of a Digital Presence First thing that I did was to have Corey, a classmate from my Digital History class, Google me to see what or if anything there was about me on the Internet. Corey found my Pinterest site, but there was nothing else to be found. This was good news to me. I never wanted to have a digital presence. I have two social media websites, Facebook and Pinterest. For Corey not to find a digital presence for me means I have a lot of work to do.

Building a Digital Identity

In order to have a digital identity, I had to do was to sign up for Twitter, Word Press, LinkedIn, and Google + based on the recommendation of Dr. Brooks. Having these websites were daunting since I never had any real interest in social media. Choosing a domain name was easy, I just used my email address because it was easy for me to remember. Twitter was the first social site I created. At a workshop that I attended a few weeks ago, I sat at a table with several women and one of the women had a Twitter account. After I told her about this assignment, she helped me create a Twitter account and showed me how to follow other people or just things I liked.

After I had created other accounts on all of the sites I mentioned and now I am trying to link all of them. I was able to link Word Press and Twitter to my LinkedIn. Linking my Google+ to anything was proving to be a challenge. I am unsure of what Google+ actually does. I haven’t figured this site out yet at the time I am writing this. When I tried to link Google+ to LinkedIn, I was entering in my e-mail address. This was allowing people who might want to look at this site to go straight in my e-mails. I knew that this was not right. After a few bad attempts, I reached out for help. A friend came over and was able to link Google+ to LinkedIn and was able to show me what I did wrong. I have also found apps for all these social sites and downloaded them to my iPad. My hope is that once I get everything entered to these sites on the Internet and linked to each other, I may be able to work straight off my iPad wall.

Academia.edu? To use this site or not?

Today in class, Dr. Brooks talked to us about this assignment and answered a few questions, which was good since I had quite a few questions. I learned that if there is a reason why we are not going to use one of the social media sites that was mentioned in class, we should do a write-up of the reason why. So my main question has been, what is adademia.edu? Not knowing what this is, I searched Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academia.edu and found out that it is “a platform for academics to share research papers, monitor impacts, and follow research in a particular field.” I have decided that this particular social media site is not one I will be utilizing for several reasons, I do not plan on going into the academia world at all. However, I understand plans could change. I don’t write enough papers to put it online. At the moment, I am not a part of any graduate program. I am not doing any real work in research that I do not feel comfortable in sharing with anyone except for my teacher and classmates. I do not believe that this site will be of any use to me at this moment in time.

Objectives for online identity

My main goal has always been not to have a digital presence.I have always had a lock down on my Facebook page, I don’t have a lot of friends. It is less than 150 friends. On Facebook, I try to be positive and uplifting and don’t share a whole lot of personal stuff. I say my funny little things or my plans for the day, and share news items and photos. So, my main thing over the past week is to question what I want to share about myself? Who do I want to on these sites? Over the past weekend, I ventured onto LinkedIn and entered my education and places I worked. Is that too much? Who can see that? I did find a button so I can have control of who sees any information about me. That makes me feel somewhat better. Now that I have my sites, my main objective now is to write a blog of things that would interest me.

Current professional goals

Do I have any current professional goals? I think I have a lot of long term goals. At the moment, I am not working. I am taking a course at BSU because I want to go into another direction from the one I was on for a couple of years. I have been testing the waters so to speak to see if this was the right path I should be on. So far I have to say it has been encouraging. My goal and my dream is to utilize my office skills and fascination of research and Native American history all into one. One goal or dream is to create a Native American Cultural Center. In other words, my current goal is to learn as much as I can in order to put this long term goal/dream into place. I would like to work somewhere I would be able to learn how to do this. The problem is of course is my experience. I need either experience and/or the education to do this. So, I guess the next step is to find the right “audience” for my websites and figure out how to make these sites work in my favor to make all of this work.

November 18, 2012

Over the weekend, I have managed to connect all my social sites: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and WordPress all together. In my settings for each site, I managed to figure out how show my WordPress and my Twitter updates in Facebook. Since I am still unsure how I want to use my Twitter, I set my Twitter status that shows up in Facebook to be seen by only me. The opposite is with WordPress, all my friends in Facebook not only can see my blog, but are able to click the link and go straight into my WordPress site. Last night, I actually made my first real blog. I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to write about at first. I wanted to ease into it. With a help of a good friend, I decided to write about the holidays and my childhood memories. Little by little, day by day, I will ease into talking about my grandparents and my memories of them growing up and what I learned from them and the rest of my family about the Native American heritage that they left behind.

November 21, 2012

Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and WordPress

I have now all of these social media sites and over this past week, I have learned how each of them works if I didn’t know before. I also have learned how they all work together. I have learned how to tweet mainly on my page, I am not sure how to tweet on other pages that I like. I am still unsure what the “hashtag” or “#” and the “@” sign mean and how to work them so not really sure if I am using them correctly. My Twitter and Facebook are linked, however, I have set my Twitter to be seen only by me on Facebook. I am still unsure about Tweeting and if I want any of my tweets to be seen by any of my Facebook friends. I have also made a few blogs in WordPress. Since I have linked my WordPress to my Facebook and Twitter pages, my friends on my Facebook can see the link to blog and are allowed to click the link and go straight into my blog. The same can be said for Twitter.

Professional needs and goals….

Right now, my goal is to make more contacts on my social sites. I haven’t figured out how to do that. Eventually, I will figure it all out. My professional goals at the moment are none. However, in the future, I hope to have quite a few followers who are interested in history especially in Native American history. Also, I hope to create a professional circle of those who are in administration and research.

November 24, 2012


Thanks to my classmate, Molly, who looked at my social sites that I created over the past month, I was given some really good feedback. Based on Molly’s recommendation, I made changes to my blog. I was able to figure out how to change the name of my WordPress blog. I originally had the title of my blog as my sign-in name, and I also changed my tagline on the About page. I didn’t realize that I should add information to the About page. That was very helpful. Also based on Molly’s suggestion, who indicated that she didn’t see my links to my LinkedIn and Google+ on my WordPress blog, I went back in to see what I did wrong. I worked on that so hard, I thought I had all my links visible and her recommending that I should link my other sites was not something I wanted to hear. I worked on it some more and I believe I now have it.

Since I added my Google+ to my blog, I realized that I should fix my Google+ up a little more and have some information about myself instead of just pictures that I like. After finding the edit visibility link on Google, I was able to add some information. I also added more pictures of history and things that I like that I felt represented myself. After looking at Molly’s WordPress blog and her feedback, I have learned that I have a long way to go to have everything come together and have everything look professional. I also learned that even when you think you are done, you really aren’t done. Things are always changing.

Plan for Sustainability

I need a plan on how to make “friends” on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and WordPress. On my LinkedIn site, I plan to keep it updated as I get a job and take more classes. I am pretty excited that I have more than four followers on LinkedIn. Google+ is a site that I am really trying to figure out. I have managed to edit my personal information and I only have three friends there, but that’s ok. I haven’t put my Google+ site the way I think it needs to be yet. After I do, I plan to invite my Facebook friends to be on this site. I now think I have a handle on Google+ and what it does. Lately, my goal on Twitter is just to “like” what I am interested in, like Pinterest. I have been trying to figure it out. My goal is to reach out to more people who are interested in the same things that I am. As of now, I only have four people who are my “friends”. Another goal is to make my blogs more interesting that people would like to read. I need to focus my WordPress blogs on my Native American heritage. My plan is to write more about my grandparents on my dad’s side. I have so many memories of them both and I want to share that with my friends.

November 25, 2012

What I learned from Feedback Over the past month

I learned that creating a digital identity is not easy. Also, learning what your own link for each site is challenging. I learned after my feedback from Molly that even if you think you did something or created something, it may not come out as you had hoped and that you need to go back and try again. Great to have a second pair of eyes. I still have a lot of work to do, but in a month, I have come a long way in social media. I learned that choosing what to share about yourself online is difficult, perception is everything. A person doesn’t want to appear as a dud but also doesn’t want to have a persona that is so wildly out there or they share everything there is to know about themselves, no one would want to get to know the real person. My goal was to be able to create a digital identity and over the past month the goal has changed into having a low key identity that grows and change as I do in real life. The real life and the digital life don’t have to totally mirror one another, but they can be closely related.

November 26, 2012

Last night was a nightmare. I went into my WordPress blog to add a few buttons for my Twitter and Google+ pages. I ended up deleting a few pages and had to start all over again. I decided that since I was to start over, to change the theme of my blog. I decided at the last minute to also add in Goodreads, a site that catalogs the books that I have been reading. Creating a button for Goodreads was almost as difficult as figuring out Google+. In the end though, my WordPress blog page looks almost professional. I also decided to allow my tweets be seen by the public in order to have a Twitter button on my page. This process was exhausting but a fantastic learning experience. I can now say….. I have a digital identity.

My links are as shown:

WordPress = http://elizamay52site.wordpress.com

LinkedIn = http://www.linkedin.com/pub/elizabeth-couchum/5b/928/b88

Twitter = http://twitter.com/e_506_couc

Google+ = https://plus.google.com/app/basic/113103309308313243969/about

Chris Petersen Wiki Reflection

When I first came to Boise I was worried about what there was going to be to do for fun. Me being from Seattle and being a huge sports fan it was fun to go watch the Mariners, Seahawks, Washington Huskies, Kent Thunderbirds, and the Sonics when they were there. I didn’t know of anything besides the Boise State Football team. But when I went to the first game I was amazed. Boise does the best job I have ever seen in rallying behind there sports teams. I used to go to Seahawks games all the time when I was home and everyone says that the 12th man at Century Link is the best in football and rightfully so, but Seattle doesn’t support the Seahawks like Boise supports the football team here, I’ve never been around an atmosphere like this.

A big reason for why I chose the topic of Chris Petersen was because of how much he means to the city and how much support he gets. He deserves all of the credit he gets and all the money that he makes. Chris Petersen is one of the most successful coaches to ever coach at the Division I level. Week in and week out he prepares his team to go out and win and every home game. The best part about Coach Pete is the fact that every year the Alabama’s and LSU’s get the best players in the country. Coach Pete gets the bottom of the barrel and still competes and wins ten plus games a year. Each home game there are thousands of people who attend the football games because of what he does on the field that makes this University so successful. But the best part about Coach Pete is not what he does on the field; it’s what he does off the field that’s even more meaningful. He stresses the concept of “student-athletes”, you are a student first, then an athlete. He does so much for this community and he sets an example on and off the field.

When researching Chris Petersen it wasn’t too hard to find information about him or his path to being the head coach here at Boise State. The only tough part was trying to put together all of his coaching jobs and all of his awards. Coach Pete has received numerous awards throughout his career. It was tough trying to paraphrase and put in order all of his awards won as the Boise State coach. What I did to overcome these hurdles was to take my time and do a lot of research. I went through a couple of different websites and made sure each site was accurate then did my best to accurately organize all of coaching jobs and things he has done here in Boise.

While I was writing this article on Coach Pete I was very surprised that no one had written anything on him before me. The reason why it surprised me was because of Chris’s significant here in Boise. My thoughts when writing this piece that may become a large piece of Boise was that I hope this article is good enough for people to look at and not get mad at me. What I mean by that is how am I supposed to write an article about Chris Petersen that is supposed to be around 300-600 words. For all that he has done while at Boise State it was tough trying to write something in those few words. But with this article I did my best to give as much recognition and praise that I could in order for the people of Boise to read this and hopefully be proud of this article to call him our coach. One liability that I was worried about when writing this article was that I am not originally from Boise. So I don’t all there is to know about Chris Petersen and all he does for Boise. People from Boise probably know a lot more about him and have plenty of things to add when talking about the things that he does off the field. But the advantage of me writing this for the Boise Wiki is that I get to add my outsider’s point of view about how important Chris Petersen is to Boise. I have a different view than people who are from Idaho and I think I added my own point of view as to what he means and his significance to this community.

Some advice that I would give to future Boise Wiki contributors is that this can be a lot of fun. It was cool writing an article for all of the people in Boise to see and add to. If you find a topic that you like to write about and can provide information to support your article then I would definitely advise more people to contribute to the Boise Wiki. It was interesting to see all of the articles that have been written for the Boise Wiki and the more and more people contribute than the better I think the site will be. So overall make sure to write about something you like and be honest and research as much as you can and you should be fine.

Boise Bike Project Wiki Reflection

Boise has proven to one of the most interesting small cities I have ever visited, in part because of the many sub cultures that can be found here. I often describe Boise as small town big city because in living here, its easy to find elements of both environments, the good and the bad. Boise’s size and variety of environments makes it a perfect home for the more outdoors inclined as well as younger urbanite crowds. I believe that somewhere in the middle of these two groups is something that has a true claim to being part of the heart of Boise, the bicycle. Call it the Portlandia “Hipster” effect but especially over the past 5 years, Boise has become one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the U.S. and somewhere at the core of this influx of cyclery lies the Boise Bike Project.

The Boise Bike Project or BBP is inarguably Boise’s most important bicycle resource and serves thousands each year for just enough to keep themselves afloat. It is this kind of attitude that embodies Boise’s cycling community. I am far from Boise’s biggest cycling advocate being more of a car guy myself but after recently spending my fair share of time at the BBP putting together a road bike project of my own for practically nothing, I quickly realized how great of an operation it was and it felt more than appropriate to try and spread awareness about this hidden gem at the core of Boise’s grassroots cycling community.

I can honestly say that I didn’t have many technological difficulties with this project but the one or two that I did encounter were fairly frustrating. For starters, I was not the least bit amused when I realized that BoiseWiki.org and boise.localwiki.org were in fact, completely different pages but are seemingly run under the same leadership with generally the same format and information but do not communicate/interact with each other (I could also be completely misunderstanding the relationship between these sites). I began my wiki page on boisewiki.org after googling “Boise Wiki” seeing some familiar names and formats and accepting that I was using the correct site. Using MS Word for most of the meat of my project, I was able to paste my project in, do some simple styling editing using text and felt I had a pretty solid little page put together. It was after trying to get this page to pull up that I realized I ultimately created my own entirely new wiki solely for the BBP. Ultimately I did what any red blooded American male would do only after reaching the point of frustration, I consulted the directions…

As I should have observed before starting anything, I realized that I should have been using boise.localwiki.org. “No matter” I thought, “it looks like this site is, at its core, virtually identical to the last, I’ll just paste in what I’ve done and the end result should be much the same.” I was correct for the most part, but there was one glaring difference, the styling tools operated completely differently. While BoiseWiki.org used a more text oriented editing process, boise.localwiki.org used a GUI based editing process, which would seemingly be more user friendly. I say this in the most friendly way possible, I am not a fan of that interface, maybe I’m even more incompetent than I had previously realized but this tool seems to have more than its fair share of flaws.  This doesn’t sound like much of an issue but I still was not ultimately able to style my page exactly how I would have liked. (/rant)

To be on the safe side I have left both articles in place and they can each be found on their separate respective Wiki pages here and here. This was not my first time writing a local piece on Boise but as strange as it might sound to say it, I always come away with a sentimental feeling after digging into small parts of our wonderful little city. The more and more research I did into the BBP, the more I was truly impressed with what the staff behind that organization has accomplished and how much groups like the Boise Bike Project really are an invaluable asset to our community and it feels great to know that I could help spread the word for them on some level and draw them much deserved attention. After checking out the DavisWiki and realizing its success, I have no doubt that Boise as a community is capable of developing an extremely comprehensive Wiki to rival the DavisWiki and it feels great to have participated in this sort of tangible project.

Wiki Reflection (Bahnu Naimi)

I chose to write about Castle Rock Reserve because it is a place I have been visiting for at least five years now. I often hike the trails and have spent a lot of time on top of Eagle Rock looking out over Boise, so the place has some personal significance to me. In addition, someone told me a long time ago that it used to be an Indian burial ground, and I was interested to know the truth and the tale behind such a statement.

The main technological frustration I experienced—if it counts as technological—is that there are not many sources on the history of Castle Rock and many of them say essentially the same thing. However, the sources varied enough that I was able to collect the pieces of information exclusive to each source, and create an article that incorporated them all. Also, I was unable to position the photos and the text of my Wiki article in the format I desired. I overcame this hurdle by simply accepting that people will get the point no matter where the photos are placed.

I think the idea of a large, collaborative history of Boise is genius. First of all, the fact that it is collaborative means there is a huge variety of different personalities deciding what things are important about Boise, and what is important to record about those things. For example, my first choice was Castle Rock Reserve because it is important to me, and then I chose what I thought was important for people to know about the place. Because so many people and their differing interests are involved, the history is and will become even more diverse as well as detailed. In addition, having so many people—who I assume are either from or living in Boise—collaborate to create a history is almost like having Boise write its own autobiography. Further, the histories we are collectively recording may very well be useful to people in the future studying our own time and place. If you think about it, a Wiki article is sort of like an average or mean of people’s opinions, thoughts and ideas. Collaborative writing will essentially give future historians a sample and view into the workings of this extensive group of people.

One advantage of writing local history on a Wiki is that it is easy. Anyone can do it, and therefore the information on the Wiki is more likely to be expanded upon. This however is also a liability. With such open access, validity of information is always an issue and must be questioned. Another advantage is that writing local history on a Wiki puts all the information in one, easily navigable place. If someone wanted to visit Boise or was considering moving here, all they would have to do is explore the Boise Wiki page and they would find tons of information straight from the people of Boise themselves.

I would advise future Boise Wiki contributors not to be discouraged if they find their topic has already been written about. First, if you see your topic on the list, click on the link! Some of the articles have barely any information and are simply waiting to be expanded. Second, write about something you care about; you will end up looking harder in your research and thus providing a more detailed article for the Wiki.