Learning Journal #5

At my internship in highscool, I worked for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). During my time there I had worked on creating database entries for their green map. The purpose of their greenmap was to showcase environmentally friendly areas such as, public parks, recycling centers,  thrift stores, bike trails and so on. The website was designed for people to use as an tool to make their lives more environmentally friendly locally.

This was in 2005, so the site has changed drastically.  Many of the links are outdated and the data is stored on a new server. Before it just had a few submissions on a early version of google maps with a few JPEG rollovers links. My job was to go out and take pictures with an oversized digital camera and edit them with an open source program called ArcSoft. Now the job looks like its being ran by crowdsourcing. Many of the submissions looked like volunteered user submission. This interesting to see how the map has evolved over the years. I think it says a lot about public websites that have a research purpose. Since the topic of the website is a public interest, having crowdsourcing methods only make sense to run the page. Before you had to go to the headquarters and physically upload the data. Now, people can take pictures and send submissions by their cellphone.

I think the future of government websites that are for public interest will be ran by user submissions. This is a one way digital history will be preserved because we will have the history through many different perspectives. While the task of sorting through the validity of the submitted data will increase, the quantity will not. This will be a change because quality is more important to have then several poor data entries on the same subject. Digital historians will have to become the gatekeepers of quality control, which will be daunting task. This could lead to censorship issues and other problems. Reminds me of trying to regulate controversial programs on public access channels!

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