Project Reflection

My Ghost Data project is able to be accessed through the blog australianghostdata.blogspot.com.au. It contains an interactive narrative that incorporates historical newspapers and provides a link to the original source, a Google Maps interactive map, that shows the location of the recorded site of ghost and other cryptic encounters across Australia and the world published in Australia, and a few charts made with the data gathered. My Project is aimed at allowing people to stumble upon tales they may not otherwise find. Another aim is as an area often overlooked by social historians and as such it would be good to bring some of these old tales to light as I feel they do have potential to be informative.

I had no difficulty finding articles on the Trove website, however, due to the broad range of content I was searching for, and the specific nature of requirements, I had to sift through many articles and duplicate stories until I could find enough that would work with my project plan. The use of Google Maps was amazing, I feel that it really has helped my project visualise data in a way that it wouldn’t have done otherwise. It even allowed me to then download a data sheet of the points I had listed and with the use of a quick conversion tool provided me with a CSV file. The kind of data I wanted was a bit precise which made it a very manual undertaking and this did cause things to slow down. I really wanted to include graphs in my Twine game but I was so impressed with Google Maps and the fact that it allowed people to stumble upon things as per my original aim that I decided I would not include graphs in the twine document as I feel that although they present information that do not portray it as well as I would have liked. During the project I sought feedback from fellow students, family members and teachers which I feel really went well and aided in the development of the project.

Looking back at my original aims I feel my project has generally been successful and meets my original aims as outlined in my project plan;

“My online project aims to show the history of ghosts in Australia through published articles on ghost sightings and other paranormal sightings. I want the data on the subject to be useful in what it reveals, but also to have an interactive element that makes it enjoyable to use. I realise it may be difficult to achieve all of this so somewhere in the development I may have to further refine and prioritize what I hope it to accomplish. I am aiming to include all relevant Australian newspaper stories referring to ghosts, spirits, bunyips and Min Min lights that then speak of them in a factual or questioning news style and not as a short fictional story.”

I feel that the project does help to portray the history of ghosts and other cryptids in a context of published newspaper articles and that I was able to limit my intake of stories to those that spoke of the encounters in a factual or questioning news style. However I did have to limit my intake of stories to a sample size due to time constraints as such I was unable to comprehensively include every recorded encounter. I feel that the sample I took was a good representative sample and that it still raises interesting questions.

My original aims have been assisted by the addition of an interactive map as per suggestion. The map can be used by people to look at what ghost stories are nearby to them or place they are interested in then with a click they are taken to the article that directly relates to that place. The spread of locations clearly visible on the map draws interest as there are clear patterns such as the large prevalence for ghost stories from the U.K and Western Europe published by Australian newspapers as well as the clear areas bunyips were said to lurk. It really has accomplished my aims in a way that would not have been met by my original Project plan alone.

To extend the project I would have liked to have used a larger data set, it was unfortunate I was not able to do this. I would have also liked to have made the story a little more cohesive perhaps with an aim so as to make it more like a game. Unfortunately it is something that would take a decent amount of time to fit together and in doing so may subtract from the purpose. However, it is still something that I feel would have been beneficial to pursue. Through the creation of the project I built up a comprehensive CSV document and it would be good to use this to further assist the aims of the project as the data in it could be very interesting to those who want to explore the topic. However, I feel that although it does provide information I again would prefer it be extended so that it contained data that presented a more accurate and complete picture of ghosts in Australia.

The project has been most enjoyable and has really brought together personal skills and interests. It has been a learning experience particularly when going through all the possibilities for tools and programs to use and which suit my aims the best. I have really taken away an increased appreciation and interest in digital heritage and would like to learn more and further pursue this field of study.

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