Progress Report 4
The last week of March was filled with progress on gathering the final pieces of information in my case and on working towards completing the initial draft of the website.
On the Research
First, early in the week, on Wednesday, March 27th, I received a reply to my an email asking for case materials from the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC). The NCAC sent me a newsletter from 1992 that detailed my case; I was thrilled to see the newsletter and to receive a response from a national agency! This Monday, on April 1st, I replied to the email to thank the agency and to ask if I could feature the newsletter on my website.
Second, I also received a reply from the Carroll County School Board in response to my request for the original text of the written complaint. My contact at the board was able to inform me that the office did not have a copy of the written complaint of the case. While I was disappointed to find out that board didn’t have the records, I am so incredibly grateful for the help of the Carroll County School Board in gathering materials for the case. Knowing what materials are available, in comparison to the ones that I have access to, gives me a good idea of how to divide and integrate the different source documents into my website, and it also gives me an informed picture of what kinds of information I am lacking in my research.
Third, I worked with Hope Cloud, a local high school and college educator, to set up an interview with her for this Wednesday, April 3rd at 2 p.m. In the interview, I plan on focusing asking questions that explore:
- The process of choosing books for students in the classroom
- The process of facilitating discussion and lessons on chosen books in the classroom
- Censorship from an educator’s perspective
After the interview, I will also have to transcribe and post the information this week, which I anticipate will be tight for the amount of time that is left, but I think that it will ultimately be manageable and very useful in informing sections of the website.
Fourth, I read through the news articles and other press attention that centered around my case as I began to draft the case section of my website. As I wrote the pages, I kept track of which articles were useful for detailing the different perspectives of the Carroll County case. As a result, I have narrowed down the number of articles that I collected to around ten specific articles. Early this afternoon, I emailed the individual publishers of the articles to ask permission to feature the full text of the articles on my project site. I am extremely hopeful that the publishers will allow me to feature the full text of the articles on my site, especially because I want to include as many documents created from the time of the case and from witnesses to the case, instead of only providing summaries of the actions in the case. Nevertheless, if I am unable to gain permission to feature the whole of the articles on my site, I also drafted many sections of the case perspectives to contain smaller quotations from the articles that demonstrate the ideas of the individual perspectives while not using large portions of the articles.
On the Website
Fifth, beyond the collection of information, I poured many hours into the website over the weekend. I worked on the layout and menu of the website, removing several unneeded blank pages and amending the menu page order. Next, I added several widgets to the site and experimented with the size of the content layout area. I also activated several different plug-ins, so that I could use a slideshow and a PDF document on the website pages.
In addition to the structure of the site, I added several of the information pages. Most notably, I drafted two pages of the four pages case section, and changed the structure of that section to cover the challengers and defenders of the book separately. I created a draft of a clickable, moving menu for the home page of the site, which was a great accomplishment because determining how to create an engaging homepage had been a challenge up to this point in the work. Lastly, of significance, I also created and drafted a page that focuses specifically on the parts of the novel that the challengers objected to – a page that I did not anticipate that I would have on my website.
For the remainder of the week, I need to give attention to a few areas in particular. First, I need to finally go to the media lab so that I can get my pictures from the SD card and edit an audio clip for site. I have planned to go Tuesday, April 2, because I have an entire free day (which doesn’t happen very often!). Second, I need to complete the context section of the case, which I chose to delay in completing to work on the case section of the site to determine which news articles were most beneficial in explaining the events of the case. Third, I need to work on preparing some of the resources I plan on including in the site, which all require editing and formatting before being put embedded or linked on the pages (and, as I have learned, can sometimes cause unexpected problems when they are first inserted).
The earlier I can preview the finished draft pages, the earlier I can fix (and accommodate for potential, future problems), so I look forward to being able to finishing up the uncompleted pages and finally seeing a completed version of the website.
Turner, T. (2019, April 1). Alarm Clock on a Bed. [Personal Photograph taken in Wise, VA]