With the August deadlines/launch/return to Michigan pending, and having gone down many digital rabbit holes, most of which were not foreseen and only some of which were successful, I find myself facing the realities of what I have, how much time I have left, and what I can still achieve and not be embarrassed of!

This month was a bit of a back to basics month. After my computer went on strike at the most inopportune moment about a month and a half ago, I spent most of the time since my last blog reinstalling all the programs that I needed to get back on track (Git, Adobe suite, etc.).

At the same time, I refreshed my memory about Mapbox and CartoDB (which we were introduced to last summer at the first installment of the DAI) for some mapping of the field sites included in the database.

I eventually settled on Mapbox, for the relatively intuitive set up in the classical mode, the interactive capabilities with pins/labels, and the easy functions for embedding and sharing (though I am still trying to sort out if it is possible to include a hyperlink in the pop-up label to transport user to further information – so if you have details, please let me know!)


Screen captures of the Mapbox project for the Monumental Archive Project (click for interactive map).

Along with the database, and the controlled variables, the primary building blocks of the website are slowly coming together. Somewhat scaled back from original visions, and slightly less high tech, the website will still keep the primary goals of providing user-friendly, open access data and a place to discuss contemporary approaches to cemetery research. When it comes down to it, the bells and whistles aren’t nearly as important as the function of sharing data, and the message that monument data should really be open access.

The next couple months will be focussed on building the final frameworks for the function of the website, making the database live and accessible, and setting the stage for what I’m sure will be a much longer process than originally hoped for. So this is a classic Tim Gunn ‘make it work’ moment – nose to the grindstone and see what comes out in a few months.