Bones on the move

Our project’s narrative, structure, and use of Omeka and social media were thoughtfully and throughly explained in Amber and Josh’s blog posts for this week. I wanted to delve into our project’s theme of movement by detailing how Lalime’s(?) bones found their way to the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum).

At the time of his donation, Chicago novelist and literary realist Joseph Kirkland had just published The Captain of Company K, characterized by one reviewer as “the greatest war picture ever painted except Tolstoi’s Sebastopol,” and was looking for a Chicago-related topic in anticipation of the city’s forthcoming Columbian Exposition. hearing a rumor that a skeleton found at a north side construction site might be that of Jean Lalime, he discussed the remains with fellow CHS member Fernando Jones. A real estate entrepreneur and politician, Jones was an early Chicago resident known for donning “Indian” regalia at CHS meetings and composing off-color poetry; he also frequently testified in court concerning real estate boundaries. Arranging for the transfer of the skeleton to the society the two men “entertained a delighted audience” at a quarterly meeting on July 21, 1891 “with clear and ample statement of all known circumstances connected with the killing of John Lalime.”

It is not known for certain that the north side skeleton and CHM’s remains are identical as they traveled a circuitous route between discovery and donation, passing from unenthusiastic construction workers to the Chicago police and the county morgue before Kirkland recovered them “at a merely nominal expense” over a month later.

Jean Lalime’s supposed bones have never truly been at rest. It’s true Lalime stayed buried for quite a long time on Kinzie’s property. However, it’s debatable that he was truly at rest; it’s difficult to speculate as to how Lalime would feel about being buried in his murder’s front yard.

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Skyline Stories

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I looked at an online exhibition created by the Chicago Architecture foundation called Skyline Stories. The exhibit provides an introduction intro into some of Chicago’s most important and interesting buildings.The idea is to inform visitors, but also entice them to visit CAF or taking one of their tours. Nearly every architectural period and style is covered by the site.

The included buildings are:Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 1.47.30 PM

Chicago Board of Trade Building
Harold Washington Library
Inland Steel Building
Marina City
Marquette Building
Monadnock Building
The Rookery
James R. Thompson Center
Tribune Tower
Willis Tower

The architectural style, architect, history, and the construction are all briefly discussed through a series of four videos. Each video is only a few minutes in length.  A combination of interviews, graphics, and stock building footage makeup each video. The videos are hosted on youtube, but embedded directly on the site. The videos containing interviews and graphics that detail the architecture and construction are interesting and well done. However, there is usually one video that contains general shots of the building, with textual facts overlaid. The only audio seems to be elevator music. These videos could be improved by changing the audio. The facts could be voiced over or the actual audio from the video, the sounds of the city, could be played.

On the page of each building there are short blurbs about the architect, architectural style, and location in the city. These are accessed by clicking on a non invasive icon on the bottom of the page. The pages and videos are easy to navigate. The home page and each building page are clean and sleek looking. The ambient background noise is sounds from the city.

The content only provides overviews, but it is a decent, well executed introduction to these structures and Chicago’s architectural history. Hopefully CAF will continue to add buildings and further develop this exhibit.

Mobile Storytelling: Creating and consuming content on cell phones and tablets

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Chapter nine, Mobile Devices: The Birth of New Designs for Small Screens, examines the creation and consumption of stories on cell phones, ereaders, and tablets. Mobile technology allows people to read stories nearly anytime or anywhere. People can carry dozens, even hundreds of books with them wherever they go. They can start reading a story on one device and pick it up where they left off on another, so long as their devices have wireless capabilities.

Ebook sales have surpassed traditional book sales on Amazon. They are less expensive than print volumes, however there is a large front-loaded cost in purchasing an ereader or tablet. This cost can be mitigated by using the Kindle, iBooks, and similar apps on cell phones and computers.

Due to the proliferation of mobile devices developers and creators have had to rethink how they design websites, making them easily readable on the small screens of phones and tablets. Stories have also been optimized for mobile usage. Not only is the text formatted differently, the style and composition have changed. Authors are writing stories that can be finished within the 10-20 minutes people might spend waiting at the doctors office or for a meeting to start.

I read this chapter on my Ipad using the Ibooks app. The app enabled me to highlight sections, take notes on the page, and look up unfamiliar words. I still prefer a physical book, but the advantages of an eBook are too numerous and beneficial to pass up.  I’m able to quickly and cheaply acquire readings for class. I can also carry all of my readings for every class without toting around a heavy bag of books or print off numerous pages. An ereader or tablet is an essential tool for todays student.