CURI 2019 is here! The sun is out and the Musical Geography website is open on my computer. Especially after reading through the interim team’s final blog posts, it is clear that we accomplished so much more than we thought we would. For one, all of our maps are in good enough shape to let other people interact with them. They draw spatial connections that are not obvious from reading through placenames in prose, proving their utility exactly how we hoped. We were also able to get through SO MUCH data. By the end, we had entered roughly 900 lines of data into spreadsheets, and were able to include the overwhelming majority of them in maps.
The previous team offered helpful advice for those who continue the project. One of the most popular pieces of advice was to establish clear communication habits from the beginning. With the amount of data we were handling on a daily basis, it became apparent that a lack of organization could easily triple the amount of work to do. Once we hit the ground running, it will be important to have a clear line of command for each task so that we work efficiently. I’m sure this will be much easier with considerably fewer people.
A few people mentioned how useful the Music Mapping guide was, both for learning things for the first time, or for refreshing old skills. Maybe a goal for this summer, or one for a future mapping team, could be to make it somewhat publicly available or to make it pretty and publish it. I think that this is a really cool byproduct of all of our work. If one of our overall goals is to show people why maps are a great learning tool, we can give them a guide to making their own. (If we don’t want to give away all of our trade secrets, we could make a simplified version).
One of the more straightforward things to accomplish is proofread through everything. Both the website and our maps have quite a few errors that probably resulted from tired eyes. Overall, however, I’m very happy with the maps that we finished. The map that fell the most flat for me was the Media Map. I think it has a lot of potential, but doesn’t have a clear enough direction. Maybe narrowing it down to a newspaper map, or something more specific would help. Another direction could be a Burleigh primary source map, that would include pictures of the primary source. It could also include audio links. This is partially what the map is currently, without calling it such.
It’s going to be a productive summer, and I’m excited to get started!