The Century America Project is a digital history project that explores the experiences of 15 colleges and universities and their communities during World War I and the following years (1914-1919). In the past, UMW Digital History students have contributed two different sites to this project: Century America: The State Normal School and Fredericksburg, VA, 1914-1919 and Century America: Campus, Community, and the Great War.
The project was co-led by Dr. Jeffrey McClurken from the University of Mary Washington and Dr. Ellen Holmes Pearson from the University of North Carolina Asheville, allowing undergraduate students from each COPLAC institution to conduct archival research on their respective institutions and surrounding communities. That research was then used by the students to develop websites for their respective schools, communities, and the Great War.
The digital preservation team found both of the Century America sites created by Dr. McClurken’s Digital History class to be excellent examples of a widespread, collaborative digital history projects. Both of these sites were examined by the digital preservation for the possibility of broken links, missing images, or anything that may have become defunct with the passage of time. While it was determined The State Normal School and Fredericksburg site had no resounding problems, the Campus, Community, and the Great War site had one minor issue that our team needed to fix: a broken timeline.
The Century America: Campus, Community, and the Great War site was created in 2014, and the team of students who worked on it used TimelineJS to construct a timeline of all the events covered on the various websites associated with the Century America Project. Unfortunately, the TimelineJS project went down sometime between 2014 and 2022, making the information inaccessible. However, unlike some of the other sites we encountered with this same issue, the timeline had not been deleted. Northwestern University Knight Lab, who provides the TimelineJS template in a Google Spreadsheet at no cost, had upgraded the TimelineJS project several times over the years. One of those upgrades changed the way embedding of TimelineJS projects works, making the embed link obsolete.
This could have spelled disaster for the digital preservation team, as we do not have admin access to individual projects like TimelineJS for all the sites that used it. However, Dr. McClurken proved to be one step ahead of us! He contacted one of the students who previously worked on this project, who gave us admin access to the Google Spreadsheet containing the timeline. From there we were able to reconfigure the embed link, which fixed the loading issue. The timeline was live again!
After fixing that issue, we discovered a URL for an image on the timeline had been moved to another site. Thankfully, the Century America team had cited everything, and even provided the image ID, which directed us to the proper image now housed on a different site. All we had to do was update the link and the timeline worked as intended.
Here are some before and after shots of the work we did. To view the full-size screenshot, click on the image of your choosing and it will open in a new window. From there you can view the screenshot like you would a normal webpage.
If you would like to explore the Century America site for yourself, please click here or navigate to the site’s landing page from the dropdown menus at the top of this page.