Reflection and Project Poster: 1970-1989 Dating & Relationship Advice Literature Timeline

Throughout the creation of my digital project I learned quite a lot. Although I have used TimelineJS in past projects, applying a different topic changes many things. This semester I learned that my project needed to flow like a story. When writing papers, we are constantly instructed to maintain a clear beginning, middle and end so it tells like a story. Taking that same concept to a digital timeline ironically was harder than I thought. In past projects, I had not considered the value of creating a storyline before. I had just input my content on each slide and added an image to match. This project was different because this class taught me the importance of writing to speak directly to my audience since digital history ideally allows the audience to interact with the information presented through links and images, providing an overall visual connection. I realized the value in this interaction right off the bat with our blog posts. We spoke more casually and openly to our audience, giving feedback and compliments that, in my opinion, more directly facilitated growth and academic stimulation than feedback on an essay can. Not that that feedback is not valuable, but creating a digital platform doubles your exposure and feedback through direct interaction with a wider audience.

Through this process I realized, with Professor Owen’s direction, that dumping a bunch of content on my digital timeline would not be as effective as I initially thought. From there I added a wordpress site to hold all my content and accompany my timeline. Now my timeline does not stand-alone but instead highlights the major themes and points I make throughout the wordpress site so as to create a visual, interactive and simplified version of my research. The images and ability to click through a timeline give a unique learning experience that effectively demonstrates change over time for my audience that can not be achieved solely through a paper or website. Together they tell the full story of shifting dating and relationship practices and gender roles.

Another thing that this class and my project taught and reminded me is how important it is to understand the back end of digital media and how that works because it directly effects the creation of your project or content presentation. When we read about the importance of understanding the materiality of digital content in Kirshenbam’s piece, it hit me that I definitely do not always look at digital content with a proper understanding of how to create/support it. I learned after reading this and our class discussion that in order to effectively create digital content one must truly understand the ins and outs of the program or content set up that goes into it so they know their boundaries as well as all opportunity to utilize the digital material’s strengths. This definitely came into play for me in creating my digital timeline. With TimelineJS, I had to input my content into a Google spreadsheet that is more convoluted than one would think. You actually do need to know some basic coding in order to organize and style the visual layout of the content effectively. Same goes for adding background colors or images, the url is required or and html color code. You cannot just drag and drop an image or color where you want it. These are a few simpler examples than what Kirshenbam refers to, but nonetheless they are applicable and important for the timeline design.

This has been a great semester and I have really enjoyed learning about digital history and everything that comes with it. I hope to carry this with me as I continue with my program and potentially to whatever career I find myself in. I think digital history has the potential to thrive in almost any job setting.

Here is my project poster!

Here is a link to my Final Project! and below is the downloadable version of my poster!

Thank you everyone for a great semester!

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Digital Project Draft: 1970-1989 Dating & Relationship Timeline

            Hi all! Just a quick recap. I’m using TimelineJS by KnightLab to analyze how dating and relationship advice literature changed from 1970 to 1989 and understand how gender roles transform overtime and what that says about increasing gender equality during these two decades. I focus solely on dating and relationship advice literature. Advice literature encompasses etiquette, dating, mating and marriage counseling guides. Moreover, there is advice literature included that is more indirect. Rather than telling readers, particularly women, how to be in various romantic situations, the authors provide experiences by which women can relate to and reevaluate their relationships, allowing them to learn and be guided by others’ romantic endeavors. This digital timeline analyzes three advice literatures from the 1970s, and four from 1980s to gather content from multiple points across the two decades.

My first timeline entry is an overview of the project. My second entry gives background for why this time of change emerged as well as my argument. Following that, each advice literature appears on the timeline at the year of its publication. Prior to the analysis of each book, I give a brief summary. Then, I highlight how key themes or components of romantic relationships are discussed within the literature itself and what that says about gender roles in that year. Since the timeline is most effective when not overloaded with content, for each advice literature, I only include a single quote for each of the six themes I highlight as key to defining dating and relationship social practices. So that’s six quotes, at the most, per book since each advice literature will not speak to all of these themes; some will only address one or two, but as a group they piece together the puzzle of transforming dating and relationship practices over the course of these two decades. The themes I highlight are, one, the value of women’s looks versus personality and intelligence; two, who initiates and leads in relationships; three, who pays on dates; four, adapting to the man versus women’s self-care; and five, consent and respect. I conclude my timeline, summarizing the thematic connections between each of the books and what this says about changing gender roles over the course of the 1970s and 1980s.

Here is a link to my timeline in progress:


My roadmap:

I have already included the pictures of the book covers (and backs for background on each entry) for each source so as to provide a visual aspect to the timeline. I am currently gathering the information and have inputted pieces that I have already written, such as why I am writing this and my argument. I have read through four out of seven advice literatures, pinpointing the various themes that emerge throughout, as mentioned above. I have begun writing two of the sources, piecing together all the relationship components they hit upon. I plan to continue reading the final two books within the week. From there, I will analyze the rest of the sources and input the content into the timeline excel spreadsheet.

Navigating the Dos and Don’ts of Dating: A 1970-1989 Timeline

The 1970s to the 1980s was a period of much social change in American history. The rise of social tensions in the 1960s developed over concerning and controversial issues of women’s rights, authority, and human sexuality to name a few. This was identified as the Counterculture of the 1960s. The Second-wave of feminism also began in the 1960s and lasted roughly to the 1980s, significantly impacting gender roles in social practices and expectations. Thus exploration of any shifts in dating culture between the 1970s and the 1980s would highlight the changing norms and values of American society at this time, something the current historical scholarship is lacking.

What would further enhance exploration of dating culture changes during this period would be presenting it as a digital timeline. Change over time has a significant impact on many historical topics, but laying it out in an interactive setting, helps viewers better relate the changes happening to the time they are occurring. Moreover, a visual display of detailed research is often easier to take in as it includes images, links and a creative organization unique to a digital timeline. That being said, I propose using Knight Lab’s TimelineJS. This tool allows me to organize my research along a timeline, demonstrating change over time. I want to explore how dating advice changed from 1970 to 1989. While this is a short period of time, only two decades, I plan on going into detail about the different themes and messages presented to young girls that I see presented in various publications. For example some of my research questions are: Is there a shift from more traditional dating advice to a more feminist perspective? If so, when does that shift happen? Are there any significant shifts in gender roles? Is there more than one shift? Do these shifts occur at the same time or follow one after the other?

My chosen sources would be dating advice literature and various newspaper articles from 1970-1989. I would present books from multiple points in that period, ideally the beginning, middle and end chunks to explore any significant changes in thought, poplar topics and messages. I would explore the rituals and expectations of heterosexual relationships and what these findings suggest about accepted gender roles in dating situations.

After some preliminary research, some dating advice literature I would analyze would be:

  • Our Bodies, Ourselves; A Book By and For Women, Boston Women’s Health Book Collective (1973)
  • Sex Etiquette : Should I?, Can I?, May I?, Must I? : The Modern Woman’s Guide to Mating Manners, Hamel, Marilyn (1984)
  • The Teen Dating Guide, Stewart, Marjabelle Young (1984)
  • Charm; The Career Girl’s Guide to Business & Personal Success, Whitcomb, Helen and Rosalind Lang (1971)
  • “Men Play the Waiting Game in the Dating Game,” Berman, Laura (1989)

These books and article already give me a wide range of dating culture from the early 1970s, mid 1980s and late 1980s.

I would read through all the dating advice literature and newspaper articles I can find, while keeping track of various themes and changes to advice about specific dos and don’ts in dating. I would input the publication dates of each source into the digital timeline, including a quick summary and image of the source to provide a visual for viewers. After summarizes the general content, I would dive into the specific topics and advice presented in each source, ideally pointing out the same topics discussed in different sources with potentially different advice. I will also link to sources online if they can be found there. Potentially, I would also include links to various online articles about dating during the 1970s and 1980s.

Prior to diving into the primary sources, I would designate the first timeline entry to previous scholarship on the topic to give some background and reason for my focus on literature and newspaper articles. Some secondary sources I would include are:

  • From Front Porch to Back Seat : Courtship in Twentieth-Century America, Bailey, Beth L
  • Sex in the Heartland, Bailey, Beth L
  •  “Sex and the Me Decade: Sex and Dating Advice Literature of the 1970s,” Ward, Anna E
  • “Interpersonal Relationships in Women’s Magazines: Dating and Relating in the 1970s and 1980s,” Prusank, Diane T., Robert L. Duran, and Dena A. DeLillo
  •  “From Moutain Peak to Total Woman: An Evolutionary History of Pre-Feminist Dating Advice,” King, Andrew

Overall, developing a digital timeline to explore dating culture changes over time creates an interactive, visually stimulating learning environment to the benefit of the topic and learners. A journal article or book doesn’t allow for the reader to click through a timeline that clearly highlights the year with the source that demonstrates the dating norms and expectations in that moment. Moreover, a source visual image is rarely incorporated into writing pieces, but can easily and effectively be included alongside a summary and content analysis of that source in a digital timeline. In another sense, this digital timeline could be a virtual exhibit for a museum or even a presentation for classroom purposes. The possibilities are endless and must be explored.  

Podcasts: The New Textbooks

(A Print Project Proposal)

We are all here because we love history but as students we take for granted the extensive reading and course material available to us. We only have this kind of access because we attend a university. Most of the population is not as lucky as we are. How do they learn about history or any academic related topics for that matter, outside of the preliminary studies covered in high school? Well one increasingly popular medium for sharing history with the public is through podcasts. In recent years, podcast popularity has increased and expanded its topics and audiences. In the realm of history, podcast creators speak on a variety of subjects providing different interpretations and conversational themes depending on the podcast you listen to. Plus podcasts are free and anyone with Internet access and a smart device can listen to them on the go or some are even covered on the radio. This kind of wide reaching audio entertainment is easy and thus the most appealing way to take in information. I propose a print project that analyzes the topics covered and the formats they are delivered in from a range of American History podcasts. What stories are being told and what formats are being used? History podcasts cover a broad range of topics and at first glance American History is popular and one ideal to use as a case study to explore this research question.

As for the different stories being told, I’m curious whose perspective American history is being told from. Are women, Native Americans, and African Americans stories covered? How often? Are podcast’s also covering how American History is being discussed today, for example as a study of Atlantic or Continental History? Are American History podcasts in conversation with other historical topics or academic fields? Most importantly what do all these answers tell us about the field of American history? Knowing if podcasts are discussing women in the American Revolution and broadening their coverage of that angle, tells us a lot about the development of American history as a field and about shifts in what the public perceives as important to discuss.

In regards to the later, what formats are used: interview, solo/monologue, conversational/co-hosted, a panel, etc. What do these formats offer the audience that wouldn’t be as available before podcasting came around? In the case of the interview format (assuming the podcast interviews a historian), this provides the audience with a voice and discussion with a historian who shares their views and insight on a specific topic that they otherwise would never had heard speak. Another example is the co-hosting or conversational format, which allows two people to go back and forth discussing a topic and working through it out loud. If there’s a common question they hosts can assume the audience would have, one will prompt the other with that clarifying question and they will provide an answer. This creates a sort of auditory classroom on the go for listeners who want to learn about American history in a very informal and no stress environment.

My podcasts would be my primary tools for research. After some preliminary research, some podcasts (all by professional historians) I would analyze are:

These three have very high popularity ratings and cover a wide range of American history topics.

I would listen to their episodes to get an idea of the topics discussed, see if there are similarities between them and note the topics and formats utilized. I would narrow my episodes from their publication (2013, 2014, 2014) to today, selecting about three episodes from their first year live, then three episodes from about halfway in (til now) so three to four years in, then their last three episodes to explore the transformation over time as well as what and how they have provided the public with American History.

Some material my project could use:

Drew, C. Educational podcasts: A genre analysis. E-Learning and Digital Media14(4), (2017), 201–211.

Drew argues for the importance of podcast utilization as education by exploring three podcast genres or formats. They demonstrate the versatility of podcasts and how analysis of them could lead to development of new ideas supporting e-learning environments.

Serpikov, Alexandra, “Communicating History: Podcasts as Public History” (2018). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from

Serpikov argues for podcasts viability and importance as a medium as well as highlighting the relationship between academic and public history, where they intersect and their evolving historical practices.

Overall, podcasts get more and more historical information out to a wider audience that wouldn’t learn nearly as much about history, American in this case, unless they were in graduate school or had access to extensive reading materials, usually only available through a university. Exploring discussion and deliverance of history through podcasts helps us, as historians understand their value as a unique digital resource. Podcasts are ever expanding and for many a primary medium for knowledge. More historians need to recognize this and take advantage of the wide reaching audience they could impact by contributing, starting or utilizing a podcast.

Omeka or WordPress?

Hello all!

This week we are learning how to use sites and Both share similar attributes though each have their strengths that separate them, as you may have learned in the final reading for this week.


Without further ado let’s talk This site is perfect if you are looking to build a digital exhibit or historical presentation. You basically get to build you own site! It’s customization abilities allow you to add a variety of items or documentation (artifacts) as Brown breaks it down for us in Communication Design. Let’s start! As shown below, you select Add Site (you only get one for the free plan).

Once you’ve made your site you can customize it with a choice of two themes if you pick the free plan. Go to Appearances in the menu running across the top right of the page. See below.

Then before you start building the content for your site, you need to install a few plugins. Plugins are basically add-on software that allows for more customization. For example you will go in and add the Exhibit and Simple Pages plugins which will allow you to build an exhibit on your site, and house the items and collections you build in a customized way. You will find the Plugins next to Appearances in the upper menu.

Now for the fun part! Let’s add some content. Select Item in the menu running down the left side of the screen. Then Add Item. From here you get to describe and detail what your item is including its title, subject, description, creator, source, publisher, date, contributor, and more. This information is also known as Dublin Core, which is the metadata element set used by Omeka records.

To save space I won’t include a picture of each step. But from here you also dictate the type of item it is, for example, a still image, hyperlink, email, etc. Then you add your file! Finally you add tags that you want attached to your file. Tags are part of the metadata behind that item, words to help classify, organize and relate items based on what they are about. For example I added a picture of the cover of a dating advice literature book and my chosen tags were, “dating,” “advice literature,” and “teenagers.” These tags will tie that image to these words and create a sort of index for all items that fall under certain tags. Remember consistency is key for organization, for example if you tag an item with the phrase “dating advice books” you need to use that across the board for other similar items and not change it to say “dating advice literature.”

From here you Add Item and then you can view Public Page and see your item on your website!

Now you can further organize your site but grouping items into collections. Select Collections on the menu running down the left of your screen. Add Collection and then you get to detail it like you did for the items, adding in the metadata. Once created, go back to the items and select the boxes to the left of the items you want included in this collection. Then click Edit and choose collection!

Amazing! Now let’s make that exhibit. First, yes you guessed it, select Exhibits, then New Exhibit. Now name it and add the slug, which is basically the part of the url that explains the page content ( or the title but without capitals or spaces). Then Add Page within your exhibit and name it, so in my case, “Advice Literature” and then you can select your chosen layout. From there you can add items and a text block describing those items if you like. And that is how you work with


Let’s switch gears for a second and turn to WordPress similarly allows you to build your own site. Though there are a handful of differences. For one, it is not as ideal as Omeka for building an exhibit to house items and collections of items. Instead there is a lot more room for customization when it comes to themes, organization, and building of content. It isn’t ideal for organizing metadata like WordPress is most ideal for blogs because you can post and there is a place for other to reply or comment on your work. Thus this site allows for more interaction between creator and audience.

Let’s explore this by walking through how to use the site. First make an account and select the free payment plan. Similar to there are limitations to only using the free plan and not paying but it still works.

So signup and start your account! Then you get to select your theme, choosing from about 12 different themes. Decide on the name of your domain, which is the site address url (this is limited based on your plan though and suggestions are provided). Then you can select desired features as shown below and then your payment plan (free).

Now you can edit directly on the site and decide when to go public! By selecting My Site in the top left hand corner you are taken to the backend of your site where you will see a menu running down the left side of your screen.

As you can see there are many options to click. There’s Stats, which breaks down the activity on your site from traffic to posting. Then Pages, Posts, Media (images, videos, docs and audio), Comments (interact with your audience), Feedback, Jetpack (a spam filtering plugin that I selected at the beginning), and Design, which allows you to further customize and update your site whenever you like. You also can customize social media links, which will connect your site to an even wider audience through multiple internet mediums. Finally you can select Visit Site in the right hand corner and view what your site will look like as it comes together and before you make it live. Keep in mind once it goes live you still can edit and update it on the go.

Thank you all for your patience in reading through this lengthy post, but I figured including them both together would be best to show their pros and cons side by side. The possibilities with both these sites are extensive and filled with creative opportunity. Please follow up with any questions and I will do my best to answer them. Also feel free to explore the sites on your own too! Otherwise I will see you all next Wednesday!

Thank you!