As Professor Posner and Dustin might recall, I was not given a login to the site until week 3 so I couldn’t post these blogs when they were due. Here is my makeup post.
For blog post 1, I found interest in reverse engineering The Walt Whitman Archive, which basically catalogs the life and work of the famous American poet Walt Whitman (whose works I love, especially When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer). The archive is found at http://whitmanarchive.org/.
The archive is edited by Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price and is published by the Center for Digital Research in the Humantiies at the University of Nebraska. Because it is an archive, most of the website compiles Whitman’s published works, the notes and manuscripts he had, his biography and chronology, his pictures and voice. It also has commentary on his works and life such as criticisms and disciples that he was particularly influential to. The sources for all of these works are numerous: public and private libraries, institutions, and publishers. There is a detailed searchable bibliography in the database.
The entire archive is directed by Kenneth M. Price and Ed Folsom whose goal is to “create a dynamic site that will grow and change over the years.” Under the About the Archive page, it says, “The Walt Whitman Archive is an electronic research and teaching tool that sets out to make Whitman’s vast work, for the first time, easily and conveniently accessible to scholars, students, and general readers.”
The website is incredibly simplistic in its layout and look, but I believe that simplicity, at least in this matter, is best. While the design isn’t incredibly fancy and appealing, it is very easy to navigate everything: it has detailed categories and a search function. Having a fancy and appealing site is wonderful and all for someone to explore, but it sometimes detracts attention from the focus of the website, which in this case, is Walt Whitman and his life and impact upon the world.