Practicum – Review of Websites, Women in the Military

It appears that I am the first to post on this week’s practicum, so I welcome any and all comments/suggestions/criticisms and recommendations for improvement.  I did enjoy the assignment very much, and appreciated the assist in my own research, as one of the websites looks like it is a treasure find for me!

Betty H. Carter Women Veteran’s Project

The title indicates how much more the website contains than mere archival information.  “Project” indicates current events, ongoing work, and other things a variety of audiences (whether researcher, veteran, interested student or teacher) might find.

The website appears well laid out, easy to navigate.  One must be careful initially, as the tabs at the very top of the screen navigate to the university (library), and not to the project.

Tabs located directly under the title of the website offer more information about the project.  “About” tells the history of the project, the location and affiliation with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and what the archive contains.

Another tab point out “What’s New”, which discusses upcoming events, luncheons and speakers.  “Additional Resources” leads to other websites and links to discovering archival material.  There is also a tab for newsletters, and the obligatory “Contact Us” tab.

The website appears to be designed primarily for researchers.  This makes sense, when one understands its affiliation with the university and the history of the project.  But, it also appears “interactive” or “participatory” (to use words from this week’s reading) in that one can navigate the site easily, and find other ways to get involved.

I was surprised to find so many collections on women in the Marine Corps.  I just spent a week at the Women of the Corps Foundation’s archives, and went through a number of collections there.  While a great resource, everything there is still in boxes.

This archive is much more established, with links to oral history transcripts, photos of the servicewomen and biographical data available under each ladies’ individual “Collection” tab.   Easy to navigate and to find a service or an individual, this looks like a website I will be visiting for my research in the very near future!

Link is below:

Fly Girls

This website serves as a “companion to the PBS documentary on the Women Air Service Pilots” in World War II.  And it basically does just that.  Features on the website appear simple, straightforward and redundant.  There are a number of different ways to get to a timeline, the film, maps, people and events.

It enables a person to watch the film online (for purchase, of course), to download a transcript of the broadcast and to view biographies of some of the pilots.  Researchers will find a bibliography and teachers will find a reference guide.

There are also links to other programs, and a way to donate and to shop.  The website appears to cater to a variety of customers – teachers, students, hobbyists and tourists.  Here I started to get confused.  Clicking on certain links takes you out of the “Fly Girls” website, and back to a generic, “American Experience” website.  “Fly Girls” was part of a larger “American Experience” series.  However, the tabs do not clearly indicate when you are leaving the documentary on “Fly Girls” and entering the broader “American Experience” website.

Upon closer examination, it becomes clearer that the tabs at the top of the website relate to the “American Experience”, and that the tabs along the left-hand side of the webpage link to “Fly Girls”.  This is not at all apparent initially, and could lead one astray (creating frustration and possibly encouraging one to leave the site altogether) if one is not paying close attention to the details.  I quickly found a broadcast from President Clinton’s administration – clearly nothing to do with the WASPs – by clicking on a tab called “watch program online”.

Overall, a good website that fits a basic need of putting the documentary online, but difficult to navigate and harvest data.  Link below:




One comment

  1. It would be really interesting to find primary sources related to WASPs in WWII. I remember reading (I think it was Women at War with America by D’Ann Campbell) that many families were reluctant to allow their daughters to serve in the WASP because there was a perception that WASPs were sexually promiscuous. It would be fascinating to learn about how the women who served saw themselves and how they worked to craft their own identity.

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