For a good chunk of time during the semester, I was aware that I was going to create a Thinglink interactive, but I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to make the interactive about, or how I would pull it together.  I became somewhat more certain about my boundaries after the lecture on Creative Commons and Copyright Infringement, now that I had all the information laid out about what could be used and what couldn’t be used. I was interested in a map, similar to the one that Anne Ogg showed us at the library, but I wanted a layout with a smaller general location.

However, the actual idea of the map didn’t entirely come together until the weeks approaching the trip to the Agudas Israel Synagogue. We didn’t have locations of households or businesses that could be found in our research, so I was stuck until we could actually travel down to Hendersonville and I could take some pictures or find some photographs that were already within the Congregation’s possession that I could use. There were no photographs or lists related to the exact locations of the establishments of the first families, so I naturally grew more anxious about the completion of this portion the project.

Luckily, during one of our conversations, Sharon mentioned to me that there was supposed to be a video in the Agudas Israel Synagogue Collection that Special Collections owned, which contained the information I was in need of.

Once we had returned from Hendersonville, the next big step was to try and identify where in the collection this video was. I didn’t remember it on the finding aid, so I decided to recheck, and I couldn’t find anything once agin. Worried that Sharon might have been mistaken, I emailed Colin Reeve to ask about the alleged video. While I was waiting for a response, I tried Googling information about locations of the early Jewish businesses (in case Sharon wasn’t correct and I needed a fall-back plan). I actually came across a shown video presentation that was presented in Hendersonville a year or two ago, relating to Jewish merchants. Except, there weren’t any clips online that I could find, and the articles that I found that covered the presentation didn’t give any hints to specific addresses.

However, before I accepted defeat, Colin emailed me.  He said that there was a video that was present in the archive that matched the description that Sharon gave me, but since he and Gene weren’t sure about the copyright usage of the video in such projects as the one me and my group were creating. I explained to Colin that I was only really interested in the addresses of the former stores, and that I wasn’t planning on placing clips of the video on our website if the copyright usage was up in the air, so I went in and viewed the video.

The video turned out to be immensely helpful. I managed to glean many different locations all upon the main street of downtown Hendersonville, so I recorded all of these locations in a document and placed it in my group’s Google folder, in case anyone else needed it as well.

The second problem came in with the format of the map in which to place the locations of the stores.

My first thought was to try and find a map of downtown that was in alignment with Creative Commons. However, that was a complete bust. All I could manage to find was a map of Henderson county, which couldn’t serve my purpose. Next, I considered working with Google Maps, since they were open to Creative Commons. However, I gradually grew more and more frustrated with Google Maps, as I couldn’t remove the names of current businesses and it made Main Street look far too cluttered. Even the map with the natural background was much too frustrating to work with.

My partner suggested that I work with Mapquest, but I still wasn’t sure if that was a program that worked within Creative Commons, and I was finding this program to be difficult to work with as well. And then, in the corner of the main Mapquest page, I noticed a link labeled “© OpenStreetMap”. I clicked on it and, finally, I found a program with limited labels on buildings and the Creative Commons alignment that I was looking for.  The map region I selected fit what I wanted to use for pins, so I uploaded it into Thinglink.

Working with Thinglink took a bit of practice and getting the hang of it, but eventually I had covered the picture with quite a plethora of pins, and I was ready to post it to the website.

Then came the third, and perhaps most troublesome problem. Thinglink is not the most user-friendly program I’ve worked with.

I attempted to use the linking option, which implied that this was where the embedding link was, and placing it into the website. The first time I attempted to do this, all that resulted was the static picture in which I had placed Thinglink pins, but the pins weren’t there. After a couple more tries, the only other option that yielded results, though one that did not satisfy my intentions, was to just have a link to the host picture on my Thinglink account.

Next I attempted to Google solutions to my problem, but most of the results talked about getting a Thinglink plugin, which just meant that you could place pins on items in one’s blog or website. There were a couple options that would supposedly solve the problem, but none of these ideas worked for me.  I wasn’t really sure if there was anything more I could do by myself at this point, I just decided to call it a night. Frustrated that I might be stuck with some poor-looking page with just a link to the interactive I created, I put the copyright information about OpenStreetMap on the page and published it.

Then I emailed my group mates. It was late Wednesday night at this point, so I specified that if we needed to look into this in more detail on Friday, that might be better. I received a response from Kevin about looking into it on Friday, so I decided to just wait it out. At least on Friday, I could ask my group mates verbally, seek help from our game’s programming team, or ask one of the professors for help.

Once Dr. Pearson came by to check on us, I was sure to mention the problem to her, and she suggested emailing Ann Ogg. I sent a quick email, complete with a link to the webpage it the link was on in the Agudas Israel website. By the end of the period, she responded that I needed to use the Share option with the “iframe” feature, a suggestion that I wasn’t seeing on the Google results. Within a couple minutes, the Thinglink image was on the website, looking just as good as I wanted it to.

Perhaps more planning beforehand might needed to have gone into the whole process of this portion of the project, but I’m glad that everything came together in time and the page in which the Thinglink is on is complete.

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