In my last project update I think my overall tone was frustration and fear. Frustration because the resources that I thought I’d have institutionally weren’t forthcoming, and fear because of having to deal with the technology in a more tangible way. I’m happy to say that this post is much more optimistic.

In the last month I finally buckled down and started making the website. This will serve as the public face of the project and also allow access to query the database. After suggestions from my MSUDAI mentors, I built it using Bootstrap, a responsive website framework. There are some pretty comprehensive tutorials online that help you build your pages and work with the Bootstrap features. Once I got a look at the logic of the system, it was pretty easy to customize my page. Right now it’s stored on GitHub (, and it looks very pretty, if I do say so myself. I pulled the color scheme from the tones of the pottery, as well as the subtropical forest environment where they were found. Front and center is a near-complete vessel that I recovered during excavations for my dissertation.

I started the website process by creating a navigational map, you know, right on paper, in hard form. First and foremost in my mind was that I wanted to have content in English and Spanish. I decided that the easiest way to do this to have parallel pages, accessed through the header bar. Right now the only page that has real content is the home page, but the structure is there for the other pages. My goal is to have some reference material about the Valdivia culture more generally, and then have specific sections about each of the reference collections and the sites where materials came from. I also have a News panel, which is where I’ll announce additions to the database or other milestones that we reach.

Skills Attained:

  • Familiarity with the Bootstrap system
  • Increased comfort level writing in HTML and CSS
  • Figured out how to upload files into GitHub (seriously, it’s so simple, but it took about 20 tutorials before I pieced together that it was simply a matter of cloning a repo on your hard drive, moving files into that folder, and then using the GitHub desktop to sync files)

Goals Reached:

  • Created structure for web presence

Goals Remaining:

  • Build query function for the database
  • Fill website with content (in two languages)
  • Upload data and test it out

There’s definitely more on my “to do” list than on the “done” list, but it feels like momentous progress to someone who, only a month ago, was paralyzed at the thought of coding her own website. I’m continuing to work with a graduate student to build content for the database and to standardize it. That csv file should go into GitHub soon.

My goal for the coming month is to build the database query. I’ve bookmarked a few tutorials that seem promising, but I also anticipate the potential of a very buggy process.

Virtual Valdivia mobile

Mobile version of the website.

Full-screen website.

Full-screen website.