Discussion Forum

TOPIC: Reactions to the New History Web Site

Subject: Native Americans
Posted: July 22, 2005 12:37 PM MDT
Comments: This site is very restrictive. Where do I find history of Pecos, or Taos, or the causes and results of the Pueblo Indian Revolt. I wish you would use more of the page with the text.
Posted By: Lee Vandevender

Subject: Nice start
Posted: July 22, 2005 1:20 PM MDT
Comments: Thanks for starting this site. Your presentations are beautiful. However, I would like access to a lot of pictures. I mean 1000's of them. Pictures say so much and are so difficult to get except through the web. Thanks for your work.
Posted By: Jon Knudsen

Subject: Opportunity
Posted: July 22, 2005 1:52 PM MDT
Comments: I just want to thank everyone involved with this effort. It has awesome possibilities. There is so much history we need to capture and I for one think this is absolutely great and far overdue!
Posted By: Annette Baca Gonzales

Subject: New Mexico History Website
Posted: July 22, 2005 2:12 PM MDT
Comments: Let me weigh in here a bit to give some context to this discussion. The New Mexcio History Website is in its first phase, which has mostly been design. The content that is on the website is limited at this time and is in the first stages of development. The Office of the State Historian is a state entity, a division of the State Records Center and Archives, and has a limited staff and budget. The website project is slow in developing content for this reason. However, from modest beginings will a world class website grow. Let me share with you some of the concept behind this enterprise. In fiscal year 2004, a special appropriation from the State Legislature was used to initiate design and construction of the New Mexico History Website. The Office of the State Historian (OSH) contracted Freelance Farm, a collective of freelance web developers primarily based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to undertake the design and construction of the website mirroring the vision of State Historian Dr. Estevan Rael-Galvez to produce a world class website that would help to foster and facilitate an appreciation and understanding of New Mexico history and culture. The first appropriation was increased in fiscal year 2005 to continue website development. The Website though currently under construction both from a design and content perspective is up and navigable. It was officially launched at the State Capitol with media and friends in attendance on July 21, 2005. The Website is database driven: database driven websites allow you to view data, first in pre-determined ways and then through interactive mechanisms. The key benefit to a Web database is the separation of the data from its presentation. This separation makes it possible to focus on managing the content of the site without spending time designing and redesigning its presentation. Certain Web pages are kept the same while the data on the page changes depending on what the visitor chooses. The New Mexico History Website is an interactive, multimedia, and interdisciplinary website that aims to engage the New Mexico public as well as world citizens in a journey that not only explores New Mexico history and culture but also allows visitors to enter into dialogue with other participants, past and present. The New Mexico History Website demonstrates how structures of meaning and institutions are in fact cultural products negotiated by people from every level of society in a given place and time and perforce, illustrates the ways in which history and culture are constructed from a variety of contexts. The Website will contribute to an interdisciplinary perspective on New Mexico history and will not consider New Mexico as a given territorial entity but as a historical experience, a cultural imagination, and/or a political point of reference. By focusing on the discursive construction of New Mexico, visitors to the Website will be invited and encouraged to reflect on the role of historiography as well as the position and significance of memory. The Website is not predicated on any particular analytical method but will not shy away from looking at the different ways in which history, historiography and memory have been used and abused for political purposes and discourses of exclusivity. The website will showcase historical documents and will bring the visitor face to face with letters, maps, treaties, compacts, and proclamations that have changed the face of New Mexico over the centuries. Oral histories presented on the website will give voice to the unwritten record and photographs, sounds, and music will speak to the soul and forge a dialogue of a different sort. This unique public humanities program will take the visitor on an exploration of the meaning behind the human experience. It will go beyond the presentation of factual information and will encourage thought and conversation about humanities ideas and questions and offer new insights into familiar subjects using an innovative format and interdisciplinary approach to engage the visitor. The website will provide historical context that then becomes part of a feedback loop that includes an interpretation of present social conditions, how these conditions evolved, how they are transformed, how they interact with each other, what laws govern their transformation, and how they maintain their validity. This complex task will be achieved through a multidisciplinary approach that combines perspectives drawn from anthropology, economics, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology. Importantly, this approach is self-reflective in nature and is value driven. Its ultimate goal is to transform present society into a just, humane, and reconciled one. This approach acknowledges the premise that ideas really can motivate change. This project will help to implement an important charge of the Office of the State Historian: to make information on New Mexico history accessible, all inclusive, and meaningful to the larger public. The Website is designed as a public space, similar to a museum but different, similar to a library but different, similar to an encyclopedia but different, similar to an informational kiosk but different. It encompasses these venues but means to be more organic. In Spanish, there is the word resolana that literally means the sunny side of a house or place but implies that this sunny warm place invites folks to sit and enjoy conversation, memories, stories, news, and philosophy. The New Mexico History Web Project is a resolana where information is shared. The website is encyclopedic, relative to New Mexico in and of itself, using modular components, developed as integral parts and self contained units that then may shift and grow as necessary. Each of the modules is able to be accessed and navigated from any other thus creating crossover links and associations relevant to each viewer/participant. An internal search engine is incorporated to facilitate access and cross-referencing. The website will focus on four broad themes; time, place, people, and story. These themes feed back on one another and are dynamic. Time will be represented by a spiral, an ancestral Native American symbol which conveys ideas or meaning to the mind without the use of words, sounds or other language form. The spiral will serve as a curvilinear time line representing how history is not linear but feeds back on itself in a dynamic that shatters the concept of history as static. The time cycle will be an informative feature in and of itself; it will accentuate the significance of events, the grand or the seemingly insignificant; but will also link to the other themes, place, people and story. Place connotes not only physical geography but a sense of human geography in concert with the cultural landscape. Related issues include place and cultural divisions, or place and its relationship to structures of oppression as well as sites of celebration. Here, we will illustrate, as Keith Basso has written, that “wisdom sits in places” where the story of rivers, mountains and canyons reveal as much as the story of royal roads, bridges and communities. People as a thematic representation will embody every person from the earliest archaic hunter to the scientific minds at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Santa Fe Institute. It will represent the Spanish Colonial santero and the Native American lawyer, the Governors of New Mexico and the African American Buffalo Soldier, the immigrants who laid railway track, our sons and daughters, and antepasados (ancestors). Some of these people then will be represented in Story; our collective memories and our singular narratives. Here, the website will present accounts of exploration, legends, chronicles, diaries, oral histories and dichos (proverbs), memories and dreams. Taken together, these themes weave a multilayered story and an unfolding history of New Mexico, a dialogue between the past and present. The website will serve as the premier web portal for historical facts on the people, places, historical events and narrative accounts that have shaped New Mexico. It will speak to all segments of the population; the tourist, the history buff, the seeker of facts, the researcher, student, and scholar. The site will cross disciplines and will be of interest to the genealogist, the historian, the archaeologist, the cultural anthropologist, the architect, the politician, the feminist scholar, and the Marxist economist. There will be no “dumbing-down” of content but the site will be of interest to all levels of experience and understanding. The site will be both engaging from an informational standpoint but also from a sensual one. Information will make the visitor an experiential learner. Guided by the wise words of Confucius; tell me, and I will forget, show me, and I may remember, involve me, and I will understand, the site acknowledges different cultural experiences and conditions and attempts to involve the visitor in a process. The website will be at once a teaching tool and a model for content and cross referencing of New Mexico history writ large; a site of engagement and collaboration. The site will avail itself to both teaching and learning, through multi leveled referencing both within the site and to other sites. Used as a fluid teaching tool, the content of the site will achieve a meaningful dialogue through engagement with the material at every level whether it be memory, community, identity, place, individuals or events through time. The multidisciplinary aspect to the project as a whole is reflected in all of the components of the website. In addition to the presentation of New Mexico History in this broad and inclusive format, the Website will also contain a calendar of current events that relate to the history of New Mexico generally and a discussion forum. The Office of the State Historian thinks that raising historical and cultural consciousness requires a sensitive and creative approach in introducing complex questions for public thought and debate. This is accomplished in part by cultivating relationships and facilitating dialogue among communities and individuals. It is also accomplished through establishing a programming agenda that emphasizes commitment to education and community outreach. Contributions to the forum will come from the general public and from scholars who will introduce topics for discussion. The Office of the State Historian is working with various Universities throughout the State including Highlands University, the University of New Mexico, and New Mexico State University. Students from the Highlands Media Design class have produced four online exhibits relating to land grant issues in New Mexico. Students from the American Studies Department at the University of New Mexico and from the Public History Department of New Mexico State University will also participate as interns for the Office of the State Historian developing content for the Website. The Office of the State Historian will have an ongoing relationship with the general public, students, and scholars to develop content relative to the history and cultures of New Mexico and the greater Southwest in this monumental and world class project.
Posted By: Dennis P. Trujillo, PhD

Subject: Topics
Posted: July 22, 2005 3:36 PM MDT
Comments: I broached a topic for discussion and it was perfectly within the stated guidelines. Why did you not present it for participation by others?
Posted By: eldon howell

Subject: White on Red
Posted: July 22, 2005 4:35 PM MDT
Comments: I find the white on red hard to see.
Posted By: A. Carnes

Subject: Land Grants
Posted: July 22, 2005 6:57 PM MDT
Comments: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo specifically mentions land grants as does the State of New Mexico Consititution The State Legislature, via legislation, recently appointed the Secretary of State to be the repository of Land Grant documents for safe keeping etc. The availability of these documents via this web site would considerably enhance research and help justify the claims of heirs. I find this web site to be a good start but as some of the commentors above indicated, the site needs improvements. The white of red needs to go; take advantage of the whole page and make it more "user friendly". My 12 year old should be able to traverse the web site without any problem. After all we do want to get our children into New Mexico History. Keep up the good work and buenas suertes.
Posted By: Archie Velarde

Subject: Font
Posted: July 23, 2005 1:06 AM MDT
Comments: The website is beautiful, but the small font is extremely hard to read, especially the white on red. Looking forward to improvements as we go along.
Posted By: A. Larson

Subject: Reactions
Posted: July 23, 2005 11:32 AM MDT
Comments: Bully! to Estevan and Dennis for an excellent beginning to an important contribution. Some important points are raised, above, but I hope you will not over-react to future nitpickers.
Posted By: John Bloom

Subject: First attempt to use site
Posted: July 23, 2005 9:36 PM MDT
Comments: I visited the site due to its mention on one of the TV stations. So far, I am underwhelmed. I had a specific goal: to see what the development of NM was in the mid-to-later 1800s, specifically what communities were in existence during the years 1850-1880 or 1890. Being a Western fan, I keep reading stories set in the NM area, and some towns or locations keep popping up, while others, surprisingly, are missing or lightly mentioned. For example, it seems a lot of activity was centered around Mora, but if the characters ever went to Santa Fe or Albuquerque it is barely mentioned by writer after writer. So, I wanted to see just what a map of the state (to be) would look like in that period. I used various typical word combinations in the search function, and kept getting nothing. When I clicked on the search Help link, a blank page came up with the appropriate URL at the top of the box. No help at all, in three separate tries, using the HTML option. So, first try, disappointment. Secondly, the mention of the revolt cites one person named Bent as being killed, but no mention of his relationship to the famous founder of the station that became Bent's Fort. A son of the famous trader? So, much work to be done, but I appreciate as a citizen the initial effort.
Posted By: Doug Thomas

Subject: Website Design & Graphics
Posted: July 27, 2005 4:58 PM MDT
Comments: Just wanted to say that this is a great idea and I applaud your efforts. I would recommend that you get additional website design and graphic help for the extremely difficult viewing due to lack of contrast and size of font. Navigation is slow or doesn't respond on the Time page. Keep on working and good luck.
Posted By: Katherine Fox Ehlert

Subject: Logo
Posted: July 28, 2005 12:55 PM MDT
Comments: First the good news, the site is a great idea...but now the bad news...it's hard to read, white on red & using a font that is way too small & worst of all at the top of the home page the logo. Why is it based on the Asia Yin Yang symbol? What does it have to do with New Mexico? I can see the feather at the top of the logo but what is the blob on the bottom half of the logo. First & formost graphics should be ledgable not just pretty. I look forward to visiting your site often, & thank you for the effort !
Posted By: Eric Mathes

Subject: New Web Site
Posted: July 28, 2005 3:15 PM MDT
Comments: I read an article in our local newspaper about this site, and frankly I am disappointed in it!!! I find that it is not user friendly and navagation around or trying to get information on it is difficult. I really expected more detailed content than just a short bio, for instance, on some of our prominent people. I realize that it is just a start up site, but why did you release info about it to the media if it is not up ane ready yet? If technical help is needed, please hire some professionals! I will return in hopes that it will become a more friendly site. I have been involved in family history for years, and I was hoping to "flesh out" some of the characters in our family tree with stories or land records etc. I am hoping for a great site in the future!
Posted By: Frances Szabo Shay

Subject: A great start
Posted: August 6, 2005 1:25 PM MDT
Comments: I found your site just recently after reading an article in the Albq. Journal. I find your articles interesting but some are just enough to whet the appetite. However, small steps are required to learn to walk. Keep adding and improving and perhaps start to flesh out your stories. Also the size of the printouts could be enlarged so as to be easier for older folks to read. Thank you for starting the website and color themes are great.
Posted By: Fermin Abeyta Jr.

Subject: History Website
Posted: August 13, 2005 10:48 PM MDT
Comments: This is a great venture to provide the history of New Mexico to everyone. It is a new website and much is still to be done. Lets all give the designers time to make it better. Maybe suggestions not criticism would go much further.
Posted By: Martin Smith

Subject: History as dialogue
Posted: August 21, 2005 8:40 AM MDT
Comments: We all have long needed an alternative way of thinking of how the intertwining strands of our past have shaped how we relate to one another -- or don't -- today, and this non-linear approach will help us to move ahead together if we pay attention. For the record, I don't have difficulty with white on red, but do find the type a little small.
Posted By: David Henkel

Subject: This site
Posted: January 11, 2010 8:15 PM MST
Comments: I applaud the effort to START this site. It IS a worthwhile endeavor. Those who expect digital access to ALL of our State's historical records may think about volunteering a few hours a day, for the next few decades to do the work necessary to get delicate historical records scanned and digitized. It is unreasonable and perhaps quite selfish to think this should happen over night. Instead of complaining, try contributing.
Posted By: Tom McCalmont!!

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