Displaying your WordPress posts as excerpts rather than full text on your home and archive pages is valuable for improving load time, navigation, and web traffic. By using excerpts, you significantly decrease the home and archive pages load times, which allows users to quickly scroll through and select desired posts. As a result, this creates a more enjoyable experience for visitors, and entices readers to continue reading and stay on your site. Some WordPress themes offer excerpt functions that allow you to activate “read more” links from settings < reading < summary. However, these excerpts are auto-generated to display a default length of 55 words, which means that your preview sentences will be cut off with [...]. I have been looking for a way to display my post summaries on my home and archive pages with more flexibility to accommodate the structure of each post. Then, I came across an article by wpbeginner that explains how this can be done using one of the two built-in methods offered by WordPress.

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When creating blog content on WordPess, the constant process of stopping in order to highlight and edit your text, through the visual and text editors, can be a lengthy process. Markdown is a markup language that offers a quick and easy alternative to styling your WordPress posts, pages, and comments with plaintext formatting syntax. This means that you can add formats such as headers, lists, emphasis, blockquotes, links and images to a plain text using special characters such as brackets and asterisks. This offers bloggers a faster way to format their text without learning any complicated codes or shortcuts. If you would like to use code in your blog however, WordPress does support a variety of code languages. WordPress uses Markdown Extra, which supports features not available in standard Markdown, such as inline HTML, code blocks, and syntax highlighting. The changes and additions made by Markdown Extra also allows users to create definition lists, footnotes, and tables. These features can be particularly useful for bloggers who want an easy and efficient way to display or reference information. For instructions on how to render these features on WordPress, please review this quick Markdown reference and this Markdown syntax guide.

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I am currently volunteering for the Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO) as an archival assistant. The MHSO archives is currently going through their collection to create in depth archival descriptions to provide researchers with a broader selection of keywords when searching for areas of interest. As a volunteer, I was asked to asist in the development of archival descriptions by summarizing collections of ethnic publications in microfilm, which will then be used as the basis of for their final discriptions. I was instructed to arrange each summary into subject matters ranging from political events and notable people, to cultural events and religions. As of now, I have summarized the African Speaks and Black Liberation News publications which were dated between the 1960s-1970s. As these publications were directed towards the African Canadian community, I was interested in going through them to see how important events and individuals were being discussed within the Black community at that time.

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Increasingly, historical documents and resources are being digitized, making massive amounts of data available online. In turn, this historical data has become an important source for public historians and researchers looking to uncover historical narratives and voices. Crowdsourcing labour is an important means for public historians and institutions to effectively produce access to historical data online. Crowdsourcing, which can be defined as  an “online, distributed problem-solving and production model,” is a way for institutions and public historians to harness the collective knowledge of online communities to serve specific project goals. Among many successful crowdsourcing projects, Wikipedia demonstrates what collaborative knowledge can accomplish. As Jason A. Heppler and Gabriel K. Wolfenstein explained, Wikipedia is a platform where “the project leaders are providing the space, but it is the community which defines both scope and content.”

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This summer, I was fortunate enough to volunteer for the Bytown Museum in their collections department. There, I was tasked with numbering and transcribing a collection of 600 post cards which were sent as correspondence between the Lockmasters of the Rideau Canal locks, and the Superintending Engineer of the Rideau Canal Office in Ottawa. These post cards, which were dated from 1879 to 1963, provided valuable insight into the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the Rideau Canal locks. As the city of Ottawa relied on these locks for settlement and economic development during this time, the Lockmasters focused their correspondence on highlighting their lock station’s suitability for navigation.

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For Digital Historians, data visualization is an important means for understanding and interpreting data. When analyzing large datasets, visualization tools can be used to reveal patterns, see connections, and find holes within research. Visualization also offers an effective way to present complex data in a clear and visually appealing manner. For artist R. Luke DuBois, data visualization goes even further, as it can be presented as art. DuBois is a multidisciplinary artist with experience as a composer and a programmer. As a programmer, DuBois co-authored Jitter, which is a software suite which allows real-time manipulation of video and 3D imagery. As an artist, DuBouis focuses on using digital technology to visualize and expose the narratives within data. As technology can be used to express both our voices and our cultures, DuBouis visualizes data to capture how we communicate and understand our selves, and each other, in the 21st century. I recently came across his TED talk “Insightful Human Portraits made from Data,” and I found his data visualizations very interesting and thought provoking.

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Currently, I do not own a personal computer so I often used a computer which was available in the history department to complete the exercises for Crafting Digital History. When I did not have access to that computer, I would use my iPad to make changes to my remote GitHub notes. However, there were times when I forgot to pull these changes to my text editor once I was using the computer again. As a result, when I attempted to sync changes from local to remote I caused a merge conflict.  There is more than one way a merge conflict can occur, in my case, I created an edit conflict. This is the most common type of conflict, and it occurs whenever two branches change the same part of a repository, and then attempt to merge both changes together. As a result, Git does not know which change to use, and asks for you to “resolve the conflict” to clarify which change your want to keep.

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The end of the school year has arrived, and my journey with HIST3907o is officially over. I am sad to say goodbye, I have grown so much with this course and there are still so many things I hope to learn about digital history. I am grateful for all the assistance and guidance Dr. Shawn Graham has provided me with. Thanks to him, this course exposed me to an aspect of history which was previously little known to me. It opened me up to a world where history has so many possibilities. I have learned that technology has, and can, be used to conduct history and explore subjects which would not have existed without the Internet, and the tools which came with it. Now that I have a basic understanding of how to conduct digital history, I look forward to exploring subjects of my own, and hope to make use of the tools and concepts I have learned to manipulate big data for my own projects. My digital history journey does not end here, this is only the beginning for me.

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There are different ways of achieving this, but if you are looking to overlay text onto an image in your WordPress site one option is using an HTML code with inline CSS styles. To get started, copy the code listed here and paste it into your WordPress text editing window under the “text” tab. This will not work if you paste the code under the “visual” tab.

<div style="background-image:url(http://SAMPLE-
IMAGE.jpg);background-repeat:no-repeat;"><h1 style="text-align: 
left; color: white; line-height: 28px; padding: 200px 20px 4px 
40px; font-size: 48px;">SAMPLE HEADER</h1><p style="text-align: 
left; color: darkgrey; padding: 15px 20px 400px 40px; font- 
size: 20px;">SAMPLE TEXT</p></div>  
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Welcome to my Reflection Exhibit. Collectively, the following posts are an online exhibit of my personal best module exercises, which were completed and submitted for Crafting Digital History HIST3907o. I selected these module exercises based on how challenging the exercises were, and how successful I was in resolving the issues that arose. These posts document my progress…Continue Reading “Reflection Exhibit: A Narrative Of My Progress In HIST3907o”