Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Review for Sarah M. (also posted on her blog)

 Sarah, your project seems very well planned! If nothing else, you've certainly made reviewing it a challenge. You plainly stated your goal, which seems reasonable yet ambitious. It borrows much from existing scholarship, but lets you apply what you've learned to create an assignment with information that nobody else would really have access to.

I can't think of any other particularly relevant cognate projects, though it is somewhat interesting how genealogical interest manifests in social networking. I am a member of a Facebook group dedicated to the genealogical line of the Derasp family, and while I fully admit that genealogy has never been my greatest interest, I have learned a good deal from some of the posts there. That kind of networking certainly helps reach out to people who may have more information on your genealogical line, even if it's something as simple (but important) as alternate spellings.

Your plan to digitize your family tree, and some primary sources available to you should turn out to be useful experience in the process of digitization. I'm not sure if you already have extensive experience with digitization, but you could view this as a chance to develop that skill further – even if it's not a new skill per se.

I think you could stand to elaborate a bit on one aspect of this project, which seems to be something mentioned early on and then never really expanded upon. You mention that you plan to explore the evolution of the German Transylvanian Saxon culture, and propose using your family history with traditional historical material to accomplish this, but it doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the project. Everything else looks to be about digitizing your family's history and providing compelling ways to look at that history, which sounds like a totally worthwhile endeavour, but not one that fulfills that earlier goal. Are you planning on incorporating this analysis throughout your project, or will this be a distinct part where you reflect on how your family's history fits into this traditional narrative?

It's certainly not a criticism, or something I think needs to be included in this project, but it's worth considering the point I think I brought up in class. It would be interesting to explore how small-scale, personal projects such as this one could be used to build histories from the ground up. Detailed records of smaller towns and villages may be hard to find, but enough information from people who lived in these places might allow us to gain some perspective that was previously inaccessible. Do you intend to make the information you provide on this presentation publicly available, or are you thinking of restricting usage based on privacy concerns? Both courses are certainly justifiably, but it's something to consider if you haven't already.

All-in-all, looks like a solid project! I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out.



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