Thursday, May 14, 2009

A project realized because of Web 2.0!

I, as anyone can tell, am an avid aviation buff, especially with regards to Workd War I. I am also a plastic modeler as well as a history major. I love to build models of the things that I research which leads me to my current project. I am building the aircraft of Manfred von Richthofen or, as everyone else knows him, The Red Baron. The problem that I have had concers conflicting information in the books that are avalible to me. When I started the web 2.0 training, I was only building a single aircraft of Richthofen's. However, I decided to take a chance and use the computer for more that just reading files. I used the lessons from web 2.0 to begin to actively search out information. In the process, I found a website that caters to people with my own interests. What's more, many of the people posting on this site are aviation historians, authors and aviation artists who'se books and articles I have read. I made a long posting and used tools such as photobucket to illustrate my points and I utilised RSS feeds, and later delicious, to keep up to date on what was going on, as well as many other lessons on information sharing from the Web 2.0 training. I actually wasn't expecting much. However, in a short while I was communicating with these aurhors and historians over the very subject that I was researching. They were providing me with titles of books I never knew existed but could either purchase or, if out of print, get through ILL as well as supplying me with their own photos and information from their own collections. They gave me the inside information on why certain conclusions were made in certain books and why they either agreed or disagreed with them. Most importantly, they supplied me with enough research information to be able to draw my own conclusions on these topics. The information I received was more that I expected and would never have been avalible outside of direct contact with the authors and historians themselves. I have become so excited over what I have learned that a simple series of questions have exploded into a full blown research project where I have learned more that I ever though possible. All of this was because of the lessons in connectivity and information sharing that I have learned from the web 2.0 training. What was originally a single model has exploded into eleven different aircraft that each tell a story about a signifigant event in Manfred von Richthofen's life. This has become so big, that I made a proposal to Karen Johnson, our branch manager, to display these models along with historical information, texts, profiles, artwork and memorableia in our display cases in a manner that will not only tell the story of The Red Baron (outside of Snoopy) but will aslo let people know what it was like to fly over 90 years ago. She has agreed to do this, and now I am beginning the process of forming this display and building the models. However, the research is not done. There are still new books coming out. Author Jim Miller has a book due to be released in June that is covering the exact same topics that I have been researching. He shared much of his own research with me and some of the models I am building are based on his profiles. There are also a few lingering questions as well, but I am now confident that I can answer them with the information that I now have access to because of Web 2.0.


  1. Wow! That is awesome! I look forward to seeing your work.

  2. Having access to experts is one of the things I like most about Web 2.0. I'm so glad to hear how well this is working out for you!