Nothing could be more clear than the fact that the web is built from “small pieces loosely joined,” in David Weinberger’s classic phrase.  This week we discuss the digital pieces (concentrating on text and images), the hyperlinks that join them, and the resulting network.  This network structure has implications for the ways that we present history and cite sources, the ways that others find and consume our work, and the ways that careers are made (or not).



This assignment comes in three flavours.

  1. If you don’t know HTML. For this assignment you are going to create a simple webpage to publicize yourself. There are a number of ways that you can do this without learning any new technical skills. At Google Sites, for example, you can create quite a sophisticated website without using any HTML at all. Tools like Dreamweaver or Expression Web will create HTML for you, which you can then upload to a web server. This convenience comes at a price. The automatically generated code is often baroque, and, since you didn’t know how to create it in the first place, you aren’t going to have much hope of maintaining it or fixing bugs. So we’re going to go old school instead. Start by working through the W3 Schools HTML tutorial. When you are finished, create a new index.html file and include the following information, marked up in a way that appeals to you: name, contact information, link to your blog and Twitter feed, previous experience, related skills, and your research / public history interests. E-mail the index.html file to me and write a brief blog post about your experiences with markup.
  2. If you know some HTML but haven’t tried CSS. Make a quick personal webpage for yourself (as in the above version of the assignment) using basic HTML.  Next work through the W3 Schools CSS tutorial. When you are finished, edit your index.html file to read from an external style file called style.css, then edit the style.css file to create styles that make your web page look the way you want. If you get very ambitious, you might try working with floating elements. See the Floatutorial for more information. (N.B. This is strictly optional). As before, e-mail me your index.html and style.css files and write a brief blog post about what you did.
  3. If you already know HTML and CSS.  Solve a problem of your choice using digital or computational techniques, and blog about the problem and how you solved it.  E-mail me if you need some suggestions; the Posner blog post on batch processing photos is a good example of what you should be aiming for.