Being at Peace with being Alone


So I’ve realized that I do not fit in with crowds. I’ve tried multiple times, but my many interests actually seem to scare people away. I find myself never being bored because my hobbies are all quite fun. If I’m not drawing, I’m writing lyrics to a beat. If I’m not writing, I’m watching Anime. If I’m not watching anime, I’m singing. If I’m not singing, I’m studying, If I’m not studying, I’m skateboarding and well you get the point. Usually when I meet people they have one or two interests at most and so they tend to be around people with only those interests. I, on the other hand, try to spice up conversations about my interests and they can’t relate. Even if they can relate to at least one of my interests my conversation usually incorporates everything that I am passionate about. When I do that people tend to think that I am bragging about the things that I do. I dance and rap and drum and sing and blah blah blah. I’m sure they here blah blah blah when I am speaking. I am also a debater and pretty decent public speaker. I am writing all of my interests because I believe that maybe I can find people like me. I do not do these things because I want to brag, but because these interests kept me feeling happy. Before I found my hobbies, I stayed at home often when I was a child because my parents felt that I didn’t need to go visit many places. As I grew older I found that I was an introvert, but I did extroverted things. I’m pretty much fully at peace with who I am now. Even when I tried to mingle people often thought I was just a little too weird and I had trouble understanding why they thought that. I thought I was pretty funny, but apparently I was wrong. I’ve stopped caring about whether people accept me or not though because I have so much to do with so little time. I’ll find happiness through doing the things that I love. If you have trouble fitting in, it’s not because you do not belong. It is because you’re extremely unique and have so much to offer to the world.


Unleashing the Hero

Hello everyone, my name is Shalanda Renee Plowden. I’ve decided to create this blog because I believe that it is time for me to start exposing the hidden hate, lies, and hypocrisy that come from those who claim they care about us. It is time that I speak and not stay silent. These feelings have been buried within me for some time, but I believe it is now time to set those feelings free. I’ve been ridiculed and beaten down emotionally and mentally by those who hated me without just cause. Even those who knew how caring and loving of a person I was hated me for absolutely no reason at all. I am tired of keeping quiet because I believe that I can be a hero to those like me who also try to stay sane during painful times. I thought that I would be able to wait and just let God and time deal with those who hurt me, but God revealed to me that he did not give me a spirit of fear, but a spirit that is extremely powerful. I lost my little sister last year September 10, 2016 and when I lost her the chains that were keeping me from standing up for myself were loosened. My little sister was my inspiration and the reason I was able to keep calm when people mistreated me. She was an angel with Down Syndrome who gave me hope and a reason to continue living. I was so angry all of the time, but I disguised it well because I did not want to jeopardize a great future that I wanted my little sister to have. I have been unafraid to die for quite some time, but when Asia left me I simply didn’t care about trying not to offend someone for being a good person. I was going to be me and if someone did not approve of me I felt that they could go kick rocks. I am currently that way and I do not think that I will change. I am exhausted which means I do not have time to slow myself down for those who cannot keep up. I worked hard for everything I’ve received and people wanted me to stop being successful so they could rise above me. When I was naive, I thought I was supposed to be nice by letting them take their anger out on me because I couldn’t change who I was. Well, that side of me died when my sister did. Standing up for yourself is not mean or offensive. I will fight back but in a righteous manner (and in a PHYSICAL manner too if they try to get a little crazy because I am not the one). I believe that my mission is to fight for and uphold justice. I will stand up to all the bullies in this world. I am not afraid anymore and I would happily die in a heartbeat if it meant bringing peace to this world. Follow me so you too can join the fight against unnecessary hate and end it. I want to write and get those who are not just to become filled with kindness. I want to wake them up because it is time for the hate, cheating, lying, and everything else harming innocent people to end. I want to lead this fight against evil. I am the individual who will rise up.  I am the Anomalous Heroine.


Reflective Essay

I am pleased with my overall product, but not for reasons people may think. I am just thankful my thoughts were able to be made into something other people could actually utilize. I originally was going to use Omeka for my semester long project, but what changed my mind was the week of student digital tool presentations. I remember one student had storymap as a tool to present and the example that he displayed was of Game of Thrones. I thought that looked so cool and I was told that the only way that I would have been able to use storymap was through a site like scalar. I thought about switching, but I was afraid because of how difficult everyone was saying scalar was, but I really really wanted to use the storymap and embed it into my project. I was in the library and decided to play around with scalar to see if it would be possible to actually create a functional site and it was crazy at first because it truly was frustrating to use. After just messing around I figured out how to use it and I got to work. Although storymap inspired me, I didn’t even use it in the end. I already had an idea of how I wanted my site to look, but in order to really get started. I mapped out my site on paper. I wanted an introduction page and four main Louisiana genres. I looked up Louisiana genres and the internet actually gave me some genres that I knew were not true Louisiana genres, so I chose my own. The genres that I chose were the most interesting and I knew that I would be able to find some really cool pictures to bring my site to life. I originally wanted to do an archive type project, but by the end it apparently turned into a digital exhibit. I learned so much about scalar that now I can make some pretty cool sites and I can use it for future projects. What I do like about my site is that it actually does look kind of cool. From class I learned that aesthetics are definitely not everything, but scalar allowed me to easily make the site look cool just through pictures. My site has a pretty simple layout and it follows what I wrote down. The only thing that I did not add while planning the site was my about section. Overall I would say that my project is really informative and also interactive which I did not plan. The public can now see just how special and amazing Louisiana and its artists are all in one place. I actually enjoyed researching all of the information that I included because it made me even more proud to be a musician in Louisiana. There were two well-known swamp pop artists that were from my hometown and I was so stoked about finding that out. The content of my site is all either from the special collections at my library or from the artists bio pages online. I was even able to make my own personal URL which makes accessing my site pretty simple. Overall, I really enjoyed making my project and the final product is something that I want to share with the world.

Vermilionville (Physical Public History Site Write-Up)

For my physical history site, I chose Vermilionville, a living history museum in Lafayette, Louisiana. I actually visited when I was younger, but everything seemed so different recently. I actually thought it was super huge when I was younger, and it’s not super tiny now, but being older and exploring on my own made the experience completely different. I was about 7 when I visited and it was one of our elementary school field trips. I felt like a kid again except I took lots of selfies.


Here I am at the Attakapas Chapel. I went on a Sunday so I had my own little service an everything! I even sung songs and the acoustics were awesome!! The way that this museum is set up is very interesting. There are workers who dress like the Acadians did when the buildings on the site were built. For each building there are detailed write-ups both on the outside and inside  for you to read about the past while walking around the buildings.


For example this was the Attakapas chapel’s write-up and it actually had some really interesting information. It explained the building was a reproduction based on St. Francis Catholic Church in Point Coupee. It also explained that the Catholic Church was the only church recognized by the French and the Spanish in Louisiana during the colonial period. Each write-up had valuable information that was easy for a visitor to understand. Vermilionville is also very kid friendly which is why it’s a super cool place to go to for a field trip. In the Dancehall there is even recent history bonus about some of Louisiana’s great musicians like Michael Doucet and Clifton Chenier.


I enjoyed visiting this museum and the workers were very informed allowing me to get information both orally and from reading. Walking around an actual museum and taking pictures and actually being able reenact some things is one of the reasons I believe some people prefer physical museums over online museums. I realize though that you can enjoy both for different reasons. I’ve come to find that I enjoy online museums where information is presented as though I’m reading a really cool picture book. That may sound a bit childish, but I do enjoy a good informative, yet fun book. Vermilionville is definitely one of my favorite museums and I plan on bringing my niece and nephews here in the future.

Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life (Online Exhibition Site Write-Up)

I love anything Abraham Lincoln and while searching for an online exhibition the title stuck out to me. It was very cool to see that the exhibition was created by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The exhibition basically walked you through Abraham Lincoln’s life just like how the title suggests and it did a great job of doing so. The sections of his life were placed in order sort of like a timeline which made it very easy to follow. I felt as though I reading a very informative picture book. In regard to evaluating the site as a piece of digital scholarship, I believe that it met the requirements. The website functioned well and had all of the appropriate plug-ins necessary for it to work properly. All of the pictures on the site were credited and sourced and I expect nothing less from the Smithsonian. The information provided was spot-on not only from personal research, but also visiting other exhibits that were about President Lincoln. The site definitely advances knowledge of the President and contributes to advancement of his history. The site could be used as a teaching tool because it is very easy to get around and not difficult to find. Its accessibility is great. The site isn’t overwhelming either. The information is just right and it is written so that the general public would be able to comprehend everything quite well. This exhibition seems that it will have a great impact and will be around for a very long time and not just because it’s by the Smithsonian. It really is a great site and I would recommend it to anyone. I’ve read some pretty boring write-ups on President Lincoln, but I read them because I am a huge fan of his. This site’s writers are great because nothing is boring about the information that they chose to include and condense. If I could rate this online exhibit, I’d give it a 10/10.Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life


What Did Learn from Week 11?

Who doesn’t love games? I mean I do. This week’s topic was titled, “Playing with the Past: Gaming and Interactive History as Public History.” The readings were very interesting and I actually used to consider myself a gamer. I never really thought about it, but I remember playing history games but because they were so fun I never really related them to history. Games like Sid Meier’s Civilization IV: Colonization
sounded kind of cool reading the title, but it quickly became unattractive as I began reading the reviews in the reading. Historical video can have a great impact on the minds of individuals. Clearly…to be continued…

What Did I Learn from Week 9?

I present this week for class! I am a bit nervous, but at least this week’s readings relate to stuff that I will probably see again when I go to law school.

Anyway, the first reading was titled, “Owning the Past.” This reading was about protecting your work. There are many copyright laws and they should not be taken lightly because no one wants to get sued. Even if you believe the odds of that happening to you are very slim, you just never know. A creative commons license is,  “one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created.” Even though this is a form of protection, copyright law is still very complicated. According to Cohen and Rozenweig, copyright law can be interpreted in many ways. There are extensions that were made to Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. The idea of fair use is an example of that kind of one of the extensions. Fair use is, “the idea that limited borrowing from the work of others was acceptable when that borrowing produces something new and useful.” Although it may seem that people have a lot of wiggle room to use individuals’ works, there are still implicitly protected ideas. Copyright law creates the balance between rights holders and right users according to the reading. There was much to take from this reading and I plan on coming back to this when I really start adding more pieces to my website.

The second reading titled,

“Open Access, Open Data: Paradigm Shifts in the Changing Scholarly Communication Scenario Conference Report”

continued to discuss copyright law and it talked about open access and open data. It made a point saying that copyright law was originally part of the “print-on-paper” age which means now it has to be shaped to fit the digital age. CC, which is A Creative Commons (CC) license, “is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work.” This reading says that the commons must be used to share, produce, and provide future generations with new knowledge and “access and usage rights.” This lead to the explanation of open access which is “immediate, free (to use), free (of restrictions) access to the peer reviewed literature and data.” Open access seems to be really good idea since it “potentially connects readers worldwide, fosters international and interdisciplinary collaborations, and ensures access to academic findings to small and medium enterprises.” While I assumed that open access and open data would be really similar there is a difference. The reading explained that open access can be mandated while open data cannot.

The third reading titled, “Open Access” by Peter Suber…almost gave me a heart attack before I went back to the syllabus which said skim. xD This reading is 255 pages discussing open access. OA exists because the internet obtained the consent of copyright-holders. Open access benefits a lot of people kind of like what the previous reading mentioned. OA is good for both the authors and readers. OA comes in many forms like audios, webcasts, discussion forums, videos, databases, blogs, wikis, and personal websites. This reading basically combined all of what was said in the previous readings including copyright. In regard to money open access is much better for research than toll access. It was noted that, “OA for publicly funded research were 51 times greater than the costs.”

The fourth reading titled, “Social Media and Organizational Change,” discussed how social media altered how museums interacted with the public. Apparently social media has a really big impact on museums which I would have never guessed. Web teams for the museums are constantly finding ways to use social media to benefit their museums. For example, the Monticello social media team wants to build relationships. The Getty wants to “get off the hill” which pertains to their physical location. Social media can, “bring collections and programs to the community.” Social media can be used for growing an audience and improving communication between the public and museums. Museums believe that it is truly important to educate their staff regarding social media because it truly makes a difference in how successful a museum can be. Since social media is always active web teams have to always adapt to how social media changes.


What Did I learn from Week 8?

This week’s readings were mostly about creating a site on Omeka. It wasn’t just about it was actually showing you how to get a site up and running which is the title of the first reading, “Up and Running with” We’ve been talking about it in class for a long time, but actually seeing a sight about how to start my site was really cool. It went step by step which is what I like and it looked super easy just like it said! Sometimes things are just too good to be true you know.  xD The second reading was similar to the first going step by step again explaining how to add a page and content to your site. The little example was cute! I can’t wait until my site has items, collections, and an exhibit. xD The thirds reading, “Working with Dublin Core,” was more involved with the metadata of our sites. It discussed things like naming, describing, using keywords, publishers, rights etc. regarding our resources. It helped you, me, “standardize data about digital objects.” Fourth reading was pretty informative and I was just a little hurt when the writer said so far online results have been disastrous. I don’t want mine to be disastrous! She said students were trying to basically putting a paper up instead of something that was more along the lines of storytelling. I found that pretty interesting because I like storytelling, narration and things of that nature. I really hope my website will come out the way that I see it in my head. I want to be like the students in the writer’s class that wanted to improve Omeka. I may use it in the future so I think it’s important that I do a good job now. The last reading was sort of like an ode to Omeka because it really did a great job of explaining just how amazing Omeka was. It reminded me of the reading from last week. The project makers chose Omeka because of all of its great features like its attractiveness, ease of installation, extensible design approach, flexible approach to metadata, support for web-standards and import and export functionality. This article was pretty “techy” but it was really interesting when I arrived at the “The Omeka theme and user experience.” They showed an example of their main page which looked pretty neat. This reading also talked about metadata management and I for some reason I got super excited to start building my site. LOL


Louisiana Sounds across the Country: Specific Genres from LA (Proposal)

I love music! I am a Jazz musician, singer, and member of my university’s marching band. I sort of knew from the very beginning that my project would be about something pertaining to music. I’ve decided that I want my project to be an online exhibit that will showcase a selection of records and songs from ULL’s Cajun and Creole Collection. I want to show viewers where and how far Louisiana music has spread across the country. From artists like Wayne Toups to Buckwheat Zydeco, I want to remind the U.S. that Louisiana has some amazing artists that have truly left their marks in other places besides LA. I also want to put my explorations of their influence into my site. The reason I decided to want to create this exhibit is because I want everyone to appreciate and recognize Louisiana’s different styles of music. Many people hear music and do not think of its origin or origins. I want to keep Louisiana’s music history alive to remind people that while they think LA music may not be as influential or well-known, it actually has impacted the music industry in many ways. I want my site’s audience to be music lovers, Louisianans (of course), and people who like music like Cajun and Creole. I was thinking that Omeka would be my best site-mapping tool since is free and I’ve seen some pretty cool exhibits and collections  made with the it. I saw slickplan which was also free and I was thinking about incorporating the two, but I believe Omeka will provide me with everything I need to organize the information that I plan to put into my site. 0ff9aca2e171624fb9b5efbf46dd5315.jpg

What did I Learn from Week 7?

I cannot believe this is week 7! I am amazed at how fast time is moving. 😦 Well, things are still moving along and it’s so surprise that I’m starting to feel pressures of being a senior. Anyway, let’s talk about the readings for my history course.

The first reading “Becoming Digital Public Historians,” really inspired me because I loved how Mr. Owen mentioned that the students had lives outside of class and was still able to produce amazing sites. I can truly relate and looking at the students’ work, I want to be like them. Although I am busy, I do want my project to be meaningful when I am through with it. My favorite projects from the eight grad students were “Ending the American Civil War in 1865: A Podcast,” and “Vicky Rex: Or, Queen Victoria’s Vlog.” Abraham Lincoln is my favorite President so when I saw his face I was automatically drawn in. I love how Andrew (the creator of the Civil War project) linked his site to Soundcloud. I have a soundcloud and I am very familiar with it and it is usually used for music, but seeing him use it for history purposes was really cool. Catherine Bloom’s Vlog was just as creative because I believe that really thinking outside the box to use Vlogging as a project.


The second reading titled, “How we really use the web” made me laugh. I enjoyed the reading because everything in the reading was so true. I do not read everything on sites except for what was mentioned (news stories, reports, or product descriptions). I am always in a hurry and sometimes I have to scan certain things because I have too much going on or I have to read something else. So the first fact of life was definitely agreeable. Fact #2 was also something I agreed with because again I also satisfice. The only time I don’t is when it’s a super research heavy project, but if I’m just searching the web about a random topic I click until I find something I like whether it be the best source of information or not. The part that resonated with my soul (LOL) was, “Guessing is more fun. It’s less work than weighing options, and if you guess right, it’s faster.” Yes indeed it’s faster and that is exactly why I do it. Fact of life #3, “We don’t figure out how things work. We muddle through.” Well, that one was right again. I pretty much just figure stuff out. Again like the article said, we rush through things and again I have to rush quite often because of my schedule. It’s just a fact of life, which is unfortunate. Agreeing with the article though, we do get things done. I mean I do…sometimes not as quick as I’d want it done, but it gets done nevertheless.

The third reading was titled “Designing for the History Web.” This relates to our upcoming projects. Designing a website for history is something I never thought I’d do, but I’m doing it and I have a pretty good idea I believe, but I still can’t wait to see the end result. This reading talked about how there are so many websites out there, but out of those many readings which ones are actually being viewed? The reading talks about aesthetics which they believe is at the other end of spectrum in regard to web designing. I believe the point that was trying to be made was that if you want an aesthetically pleasing site, then do not sacrifice the factual historical content. It was interesting to see that a South Korean web designer was an example of someone who had a great evaluation of web aesthetics, content, and usability. Reading this made made me want to go check out the website mentioned, “the Atomic Veteran’s History Project.” Apparently, super good design is not needed to create a really cool website. What shocked me was the possible prices of these sites though. $100,000?! Do you know what I could do with that?

The fourth reading is something I really needed to look at because I thinking about using Omeka as a tool to help create my site. The reading started with trying to answer the question to whether or not something else exists that is better than Omeka and the humorous answer that there was not. He said Omeka had no real competition because it provided so much for free. For no money you can create a good historical website that is good for presentation, a library, museum, etc. Omeka truly is a mix of everything that one needs to make a professional site using great authoring tools. It combines functions that help with collaboration between collections and interpretive professionals, etc.

The fifth reading talks about “Understanding Web Design.” That’s also the title of the reading. To understand web design, you must understand what it is. So what is it? According to the reading, “Web design is the creation of digital environments that facilitate and encourage human activity; reflect or adapt to individual voices and content; and change gracefully over time while always retaining their identity.” That phrase was written twice so apparently it was important obviously. Web designing is not a simple task and there are some critics out there who, I don’t know, criticize quite wrong? They sometimes, a lot, pick out the wrong parts of the site to talk about. I’ve learned that aesthetics are cool and all, but sometimes they do not make up for usability and functionality.

The sixth reading was about responsive web design which kind of means how the viewer sees the site in regard to their screen. Instead of horribly explaining it i’ll just quote from the reading which says, “Responsive web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.” I never really thought about resolution in regard to sites because I though sites adjusted automatically and according to the reading I thought right. Sites are automatically supposed to accommodate for resolution if you use the right technology. History_Logo.svg


What Did I Learn from Week 6?

This week the main topic was Physical vs. Digital Exhibits and Archives. I never really thought about comparing archives and exhibits so this was pretty interesting for various reasons.

The first reading titled Getting to the Stuff: Digital Cultural Heritage Collections, Absence, and Memory made a really great point that really stuck out to me. Ms. Sheila said that a student tweeted that, “collections are useless unless used.” In my mind I was like, “yass (*snaps*).” She then went on to talk about how these collections must be discovered. I found it quite shocking that many museum catalogs are not shared. I assumed that museums would automatically want to share everything, but I thought wrong. Once collections are discovered it can cause traffic which will get more people to actually see the information. Ms. Sheila said that she looked to other online collections like eBay which I never would have thought to go for collections. There are actually many genres of museums with varying content, but going back to what I mentioned earlier, Ms. Sheila said that history museums did not put much of their information online in regard to content and collections. I saw for myself that there are some museum websites, like she said, that are lacking in content and can be compared to a brochure. While there are some really cool websites, she said that even these have problems because it takes a lot to keep these sites up and running. One idea to sort of lessen the problems was to possibly link material objects with pictures and files through connected open data. I thought it was a pretty cool idea seeing how I would have never thought of it.

The second reading discussed the @ symbol and I automatically thought of Instagram and Twitter. Well, the entire reading wasn’t about the @ symbol, but it fit into code and living software aspects of the reading. The @ symbol is used for so many things now and as the reading said it has the ability to be included and reproduced in a variety of materials. It was said that the @ symbol and its confusion is connected to design collections. In regard to design museums, because things like the @ symbol can be connected to so many materials, products from the designers of these type of collections have no real form. That is why, if i’m not mistaken, there was a desire for the collecting and preserving of design.

The third reading sort opened my eyes to what the other reading had said about terms having multiple meaning. It was like an actual example. The the title of the third reading was, “What do you mean by Archive?” The reading stated that terms really have so many meanings that I and someone else could use the same term but actually be talking about two completely different things. It was stated that archivists will use the term to describe a particular kind of collection. There are many ways to use archives and there is a variety. There are tape, web, and digital archives.

The last reading was titled, “Preserving Digital History,” which is kind of self-explanatory. This reading was showcasing and discussing ways to keep digital history alive and active. One website was mentioned and its goal was to promote history among a popular audience. Unfortunately there were only four copies of archive from the site and apparently it didn’t keep up its intended purpose. Many sites like that are short lived because digital materials are quite fragile.

I’ll be honest, this week was interesting, but a little difficult for me to comment on because some of the topics were completely new to me. I enjoyed receiving the new information though. Digital-History-e1439003930813

What did I get from week 5?

This week has been insane, but next week I get to try and use the new schedule I created to help me get these blogs out early.

Anyway, in regard to what’s actually important, this week’s reading for History 451, I decided to read them out of order. The seond reading was  super long, but it did hold some valuable information. Its main topic was crowdsourcing. I had never heard of that term, but I learned what it was and its significance. It’s a cheap way to raise the profile of academic research. This method is currently spreading and so far it has had a good bit of success. One team developed the “transcription desk,” which I thought was pretty cool. The article explained that products of crowdsourcing like the “transcription desk,” wil be used for scholarly and general access purposes. Within this article it also defined what a crowd and community was in regard to this method and I thought mentioning this would transition well into the first reading which was building and audience.

In the reading about crowdsourcing, crowd basically was described as sporadic and anonymous and community equaled heavy peer production. In regard to building an audience that article mentioned that there were two principles that could help someone create and maintain a useful and used website. The first principle was to think about what? COMMUNITY! (see what I meant by transitioning well…Yay.) When creating a website you must pat attention to who you’re attracting rather than the number of visitors. Those who you’re targeting can give you an idea of how your websites functions whether good or bad. The second principle was to be simultaneously flexible and focused in your approach. If your audience is made up of people you did not want to attract then you must reevaluate your approach. If your information is too broad then narrow your focus. The article said to segregate your information or elements of your site to serve your audience in a targeted way.

Finally, I move to the last reading about citizen history which is a topic within crowdsourced scholarship. This reading was short in comparison to the second reading. Citizen history was described as an experiment in finding out what happens if we trust visitors, or citizens, to bring different perspectives to history. An interface was designed to help citizen historians to organize their research. This crowdsourced scholarship invites participants to draw conclusions to answer big questions.

I really enjoyed this week’s reading because I believe I gained a great amount knowledge that will benefit me when I begin to create my website. My website will help me and others, but I will not say too much because it’s a surprise and I am kind of excited about it.