The Kuh Diaries – Project Update

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and staying safe.

I was planning to give you all the link to my site, but it looks like I can’t make it password protected like I thought (thanks, free WordPress plan!) and I’m not quite ready to make it public yet. Instead, I’ve taken screenshots that I hope will show where I’m at in the project.

As I said in my project proposal, my plan for this project is to digitalize and contextualize Frederick Kuh’s diaries on a WordPress site. I’ve hit some snags on implementing my original vision for it – a lot of the features I was hoping to include are only available with plugins, which you need a $300 business plan to use. But I’ve been adapting my plan and so far so good!

Here’s what the front page looks like so far:

The captions are a bit cheesy, so if you have suggestions for alternatives, please let me know!

The diary entries have all been adapted into posts, which can be found all together in the 1938-1944 link on the front page. They’re also categorized by year, and can be accessed through the menu bar. I found this to be easier than trying to make them all individual pages – the only downside is they’re organized with the most recent post on top, so I’ve had to heavily doctor the dates to keep it in order.

The issue with the categorization though is the full entries don’t show up, but I’m working on figuring that out if possible. There’s currently about two entries per year, and I’m hoping to keep adding on from there.

The entries so far look like this:

So there’s a picture of the original entry, then the transcription as close as possible to the original text, and then photos at the end to contextualize the content. Usually that means there are lots of people featured at the bottom, but I’ve been working on including places and trying to contextualize one-off references and remarks.

I haven’t tackled the “Places” page yet, but the “People” page will hopefully look something like this:

So that’s what I have so far!

For my next steps, I still want to:

  • Organize the “People” page and create profiles for all of them (this will be easier for some rather than others – for little-known people like press censor “Norman Caney,” I only have Kuh’s diary and one brief mention of him in a 1945 volume of the Empire Forestry Journal to go off of)
  • Add more diary entries (again, complicated as I have to choose which entries that I can adequately contextualize with my current resources)
  • Begin the “Places” page (the absence of period photos for a lot of the mentioned places has caused me trouble thus far, and I’m considering resorting to modern photos or Google Maps screenshots – and sometimes I can’t even pinpoint what place Kuh’s referencing)

All in all, I think I have kept as close as possible to my original proposal without spending money on the project. I did originally want the posts to include headlines from each country mentioned in the entries, but not all countries have newspaper archives digitalized and accessible to those who don’t speak the language. That’s lower on my priorities list, but if I have time (or if I continue this throughout the summer since it looks like I’ll have more time on my hands!) I plan to keep working on it.

Let me know what you guys think!

3 Replies to “The Kuh Diaries – Project Update”

  1. Hi Cameron, exciting to see how the site is coming together! Overall, from the screenshots, it is looking really good. It totally makes sense to be rescoping and shaping the plans for the project based on what works best and can be done in the no-cost version of wordpress. A big part of building digital projects is exploring options that digital platforms like wordpress provide and trying to figure out how to make the best of the way they are setup.

    One thing you might think about for working with dates and the blog posts functions is that you could potentially go ahead and edit the post dates on those to be the original historical dates the entries were published. Years ago one of my students did this for a historical blog using wordpress and they set all the dates on the posts back to be in the 1860s. (See https://leavingarlington.wordpress.com/ ). If you went that route, you could potentially use a lot of the wordpress functions that exist around date based calendars and such as interfaces into your content.

    I think your plans for the remaining work to do on the site make a lot of sense. Overall this is looking really good and I think you are well on your way to completing a nice piece of work that you could show off as part of your portfolio.

  2. Hey Cameron! These screenshots look amazing! I’m really sorry to hear that you can’t access the features you would have liked to use. The only question I have is how will you make these entries searchable? Will each entry have tags?

    1. Hi Diana! Yes, each entry has tags. Mostly on the people and places mentioned, but I’ve had the opportunity to use the “spy” tag a few times so that’s always fun!

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