Happy Birthday to sarahjmccabe.com! My very first personal website is one year old today.
This project has been a terrific learning experience, both personally and professionally, that I’d recommend to anyone.
What have I learned? Among other things:
1) Nothing truly bad happened (other than some spam).
- For a fairly private person, this website and each post have been experiments in putting myself (personally and professionally) “out there,” and it’s been a net positive experience.
2) If I’m too precious about writing the blog posts, they’ll never get done.
- As it is, each post has taken hours to create. Though I’m proud of every one, going forward I may try to produce more, if shorter, posts. The point of the blog is to share what I’m learning – and to enjoy doing it – and each post does not need to be a masterpiece.
3) WordPress is wonderful.
- Compared to earlier website design methods I’ve tried over the years, or attempting to hand code from scratch, the ease of use and creative flexibility of WordPress is a marvel.
- Learning the ins and outs of WordPress has been very satisfying. Huge credit for tech skills and inspiration goes to workshops from Camp Tech. Other courses for HTML, CSS, etc., that have been very useful have come from Ladies Learning Code, CodeAcademy, Lynda.com (via Toronto Public Library), Idealware, and TechSoup.
4) The website is a great way of sharing photos with others.
- I’m particularly proud of the set of photographs I took in Portugal this year. The website as a platform provided an easy-to-share link to the photos displayed in gallery format with captions, which was very useful.
5) People (who don’t even know me personally!) actually visit my site, which is both delightful and terrifying (but more delightful).
- For instance, my February 2018 post on Top Tweets from GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) Summit 2018 was included as a resource in Library and Archives Canada’s Final Report on the event, and my related tweet read and retweeted by the Librarian & Archivist of Canada. That was pretty neat!
A few more things.
Number of blog posts published?
31, on subjects including archaeology, architecture, archives, art, books, data visualization, digitization, food, genealogy, government, history, Indigenous Peoples, knitting, librarianship, London, maps, museums, photography, social media, technology, television, Toronto, and travel. That sounds about right.
Most popular blog post to date?
By far, Explore These 10 Superb London History Digital Collections from March 2018. A genealogy network in Australia picked it up and distributed it, which explains the international reach of the post. (Is it a coincidence this was the most fun to research and create?)
Most surprising email received via the website?
From the series producer of Making History on BBC Radio 4, in July 2018, asking, “Are you the researcher who wrote the MA Diss. on public toilets in London please?” Indeed I was.
“If so, you are one of the inspirations for an interview we are doing this week for Radio 4’s Making History programme here in the UK. I came across your MA paper when researching the question of public WCs for women (knowing a little about separate spheres etc…) Sadly, in broadcasting, we do not list our sources and so I hope that you are not put out in any way as your paper has been a useful research tool!”
So Happy First Birthday to a fun and worthwhile project! There is so much more to learn – about everything. I’m excited to see what’s to come in the next year, and to share what I learn along the way.