Thursday, October 22, 2009

Projects Progressing

Doing the “On This Day” item, every single day, has been a challenging experience. The difficult days are when (1) I’ve been really busy and (2) the events for a day are a problem.

As to the first, we’re still greeting service people for the condo (enough said), plus I have projects (more in a moment).

Daily events can be a problem in two ways: they’re either not particularly exciting/interesting, they require some “massaging” to have Idaho relevance … or both.

The first problem arises from the fact that I don’t generally post items that have no Idaho connection. After all, there are a bunch of sites out there with a world-wide perspective. Two that I visit are the Today in History page, and a Wikipedia compilation of Daily Events (I just recently added these to my blog form). Each features a full-year calendar where you can pick out a specific date. (You have to scroll down to see the Wikipedia calendar.)

Like most such sites, the events are presented in a “bulleted” fashion, with very little (or no) context or background. The Wikipedia list does provide additional links for some items, or for sub-topics within an item.

The need to find Idaho relevance can be a challenge, but it’s also interesting. October 15th was a good example. The only Idaho-specific event I had for that day was the marriage of a prominent Idaho pioneer. I could have “spun” that, but he will eventually appear under his birthday, so I went looking for something else.

I found the Edison Electric Light Company incorporation item in 1878 on both of the sites referenced above. Then a thought tickled my memory: Wasn’t there something about the first electric light system in Idaho?

As it turned out, there was, but it was in my master database. There, I found that builders installed an electric light system in a smelter near Ketchum … just three years after the Edison incorporation. The Ketchum event was not in my “daily” database because historical accounts gave only the year, not a specific date.

But: Voila! An Idaho connection.

On-going Projects
  Those of you who follow the blog know that I’m working, sometimes off-and-on, on several projects. Of course, I’m still waiting for a response on my stock-raising book proposal.

Anyway, I need to get ahead on entering and checking events for the On This Day database – I’m still finding days where I’d like to have something more interesting Then there’s the next article for the South Fork Revue – that’s largely been “put on the back burner.”

Coming up, I have a meeting in Twin Falls with the Idaho Academy of Science Executive Committee. I am combining that with a visit to Idaho City. We (Skip Myers and I) have an opportunity to talk about the photographic history of Boise County with the Idaho City Historical Foundation. Supposedly there will be time to peruse the Idaho City/Boise County photo archives to see what they have.

The proposal package Arcadia Publishing sent me is fairly complicated, with many questions about book marketing avenues and other elements of our “platform.” Addressing those issues is fairly straightforward. (Photo: Idaho City, Main and Commercial Street, 1894, Idaho State historical Society.) 

The real problem is determining what the book content will be. Their format specifies 180-240 “vintage” photographs -- which probably means we’ll have to start with twice that many to select a set we can build the history around. We’ll see.

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