Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank Online


Abstract:

The Diary of Anne Frank, one of the most widely read books in the world, empowers and inspires many people, yet few have experienced her text in its original form. The Diary of Anne Frank Online (AFO) provides users with exactly that, her handwritten diary. Through an interactive website featuring an encoded version of her original text and numerous translations, AFO serves as a comprehensive research tool. The site features ten accessible tabs ranging from history to photos to allow users to gain a broader understanding of both Anne Frank and the Holocaust. Text analysis further enables users to gain a unique perspective of her text in a purely quantitative manner. Chat features and crowdsourcing the encoding process bring together people from across the world for a common purpose.

The overall interactivity and collaborative nature of this site involves users of all ages. The simplicity of AFO brings together people from all backgrounds for a common purpose: to spread knowledge about the Holocaust and to encourage new insights and networks to develop. The collaborative nature of AFO capitalizes its goal which is to encourage new exploration of a time period that many people are often apprehensive about investigating.

Overview:

Since its publishing date in 1947, this diary has been translated into 67 languages and continues to inspire future generations. While the text has been read all over the world, it has simply been experienced in its translated form, which only gives the reader a small dose of what Anne’s diary contains. Advancements in the digital humanities have opened up a new world for all readers, and now we can delve deeper into the meaning of her words.

The layout of this site is very important. It is designed to be easily navigable and accessible, so viewers don’t waste time trying to find what they are looking for. Each of the ten tabs on the site is clickable and clearly visible from all pages of the website. The overview in the Guide tab gives a summary of everything the site holds. It explains each of the other tabs at the top one by one and what the viewer can do in each. For example, the Guide tab reads, “Under the Diary tab there are facsimiles of Anne Frank’s diary side-by-side with the translated version. Here you can compare the entries in over 20 languages and search the text for terms/phrases. A link under this tab sends you to a neighboring page that provides the opportunity transcribe the entries.” The tabs in this site are: Home, Diary, Text Analysis, History, People, Photos, Video, Chat, Guide, and Purpose. When creating this site, the focus was on providing as much information and resources as possible so everyone who views the site can get a good taste of Anne’s life, her diary and everything surrounding it.

Goal and Objectives:

The purpose behind the Diary tab is to allow the readers to see pages from Anne’s actual diary and have them placed next to a translated version. That way, the text is readable and her handwriting is available. With that, the readers can make conclusions on how she was feeling by not only her words, but how they were written- crossed out words, rewrites and all. The intention of the History tab is to tell the background story of the time period Anne lived so viewers will understand why she was in hiding and how World War II affected her family. The People tab does exactly what it says; it tells about the important people in Anne’s life. There are biographies of her family members and those who were hiding in the annex with her and her family. There are pictures of the people next to their stories, which mostly tell about their time in hiding and how they died. Text Analysis allows the viewer to use analysis software like TextStat to examine the diary. If viewers are interested in seeing photos from the World War II time period, the Photos tab is available. There are tons of photos- of Anne’s family, the Nazis, concentration camps and so much more. Clips are taken from the Internet and put together in the Videos tab so more learning can take place on the history of World War II and its impact on the Jews. Simply stated, the Purpose tab states the intentions of the site and where viewers can personally reach the creators.

What does The Diary of Anne Frank Online offer? The site features ten accessible tabs which range from the actual diary to background information, through which visitors of the site can sift through Anne’s diary and everything involved with it. Through The Diary of Anne Frank Online, Anne’s original diary is accessible. The ability to view her diary will give viewers a sense of her emotion while she was writing. The interactivity of this site provides readers with the ability to search the important people in Anne’s life, grasp the historical background behind it and dive into her actual diary. As well as learning, the viewers will be able to leave behind some words and feelings of their own.

The goal of The Diary of Anne Frank Online is to bring together people from across the world to learn collaboratively, and to reexamine a time in history that most people are often too afraid to explore. The collaborative nature aims to bring about new insights and interpretations of a widely read text. The site serves as an accessible resource to delve into and search Anne’s diary at a high level of scrutiny and interest. Another goal of this site is to provide new insights to the users and gain new perspectives from them, as well. The ultimate ambition of this site is to contribute to the world of digital humanities by incorporating new research developments.

Deliverable:

Of course, the deliverable of this project is the interactive website, annefrankonline.weebly.com. An ambition of this site is to create an easily accessible resource that can be used by individuals of any age. The site is free to use, and there is an option to create a personal account in order to use the interactive chat tool.

When the Diary tab is selected, the user has the option to select the Transcribed version of the diary to explore. The diary can be transcribed using XML and the TEI guidelines, so that the facsimile can be as accurate to the original text as possible. As users transcribe, they will attempt to show every blemish in the writing, every strikethrough, and every addition. While the site has the diary fully transcribed, the user has the option to make additions, changes, and comments to the original transcription. In addition to the transcription, the viewer can scan through different languages into which the diary has been translated and those who are knowledgeable in multiple languages can read several versions or compare a few at a time.

The Text Analysis tab allows the audience to see the text not only in its entirety, but also broken down into data. The viewer can see the frequency of words to show the most used and therefore most important words to Anne.  Also, concordances can be shown to get the context where each word was used. Clicking on the History tab allows the user to read a brief account of the events that were occurring at the time the diary was written.  This gives the reader a global perspective and allows him to understand what was going on around the annex while the Franks and the others were in hiding.

Anne was not alone in the attic, she was surrounded by a group of people with histories and personalities all their own.  The People tab allows the user to gain a deeper understanding of who the other inhabitants were and what they were like. Also, some individuals who aided the inhabitants of the attic are included in the People tab.  The people’s names, when they appear in the text, are links. This provides easy access to the readers so that when they are curious about a certain person, they can quickly be taken straight to the page that gives more insight into that character.

Both the Photos and Videos tabs provide visual aids to give the visitor more understanding of the seriousness and tragedy that encompassed World War II and the Franks’ story.  The photos provide stills of the family, locations pertinent to the Holocaust, like the Bergen Belsen concentration camp where Anne and Margot passed away. The videos give a voice to certain members of the family, like Otto Frank when he talks about Anne’s diary. Also, it provides a different way to look at Anne. There is film of Anne watching a couple being married, and it is the only way to see her moving and alive.

Interactivity is a main goal of this site.  This is achieved most effectively through the addition of a chat feature.  Because the diary is known to have such a strong emotional impact on its readers, the visitors are given an opportunity to express their ideas and feelings towards the text. They can interact with other users and collaborate to come to new conclusions and gain an understanding of how each person is affected differently by this emotional text.

Finally, the Purpose tab augments our information by providing links to other sites that contain quality information to give more insight to interested viewers. Because there is so much information on the Internet already, some of our ideas are already brilliantly expressed on other sites.  Here a reader can use our site as a jumping off point to search about Anne and the Holocaust further.

Stakeholders:

Learners of all ages can benefit from the Diary of Anne Frank Online. The stakeholders of this site range from elementary school students to professionals, yet the purpose of AFO is ultimately directed towards high school students and older. Young learners certainly can have their first glimpse at the Holocaust through Anne Frank’s diary, the pictures, brief history, and videos. The simplicity of AFO aims to ensure easy accessibility, allowing anyone to access the valuable information. The features on the site can be taken simply at face value to gain a preliminary exposure to the topic. The site hopes to bring a new awareness and approach to this tragic time in history. The intentions and design of the site, however, do run much deeper than gathering information at a glance.

Studying at a more intense level, students from high school through college can certainly benefit more from the comprehensive information and interactive features found on Anne Frank Online. The side-by-side translations will provide an important research tool for older students. They can investigate much deeper into the text, greater than ever before. At this age, they can form their own opinions regarding her text and communicate those with peers around the world to enhance the learning process. Furthermore, the collaborative nature of the site aims to involve professionals and scholars to transcribe her text for the first time. The encoded text brings new significance to her writing. Scholars then can benefit from delving further into her text. Even historians or humanitarians may discover new insights through the encoded text and the search features. Since the Internet is open to everyone, the stakeholders of this site can include almost every age group; however, the users that would benefit most, from Anne Frank Online would ultimately be high school students and older from any background.

Methodology:

The Diary of Anne Frank Online aims to transcribe and ultimately to encode the text of her diary. In order to complete the transcription and encoding, crowdsourcing is used as the method to accomplish this task. The site wants to provide ordinary people, scholars and professionals from across the world the opportunity to take a new look at Anne’s writings. We want to compile viewpoints and involve a vast array of people, not simply those of professionals. Crowdsourcing ultimately enables that to be possible. Furthermore, to ensure the site’s accuracy, reliability, and integrity, the transcription and encoding are monitored by a group of experts in the field not necessarily to change contributor’s ideas, but to make certain the guidelines are followed.

In order to further maintain the site’s purpose, the process of encoding the text, such as tagging words, is also closely monitored and changed by professionals involved directly with the site. The encoding process aims to make the text searchable in regards to people, places, events, and artwork done by Anne Frank. The transcribed and encoded version of her diary is displayed side-by-side to make comparisons easy. A comprehensive search bar is available to search the text for the tagged people, places, events, and artwork. Links are also available to direct the user to more information. The complex search features seek to develop new insights and allow for easier research.

The transcription and encoding process will follow TEI P5 (XML) Guidelines. By following TEI P5 Guidelines, the standards are relatively easy to follow and known by a greater amount of people. The guidelines provide a standard that, as the Text Encoding Initiative states, “defines and documents a markup language for representing the structural, renditional, and conceptual features of a text.” This statement captures the intent of our site, which is to further analyze her text to enable deeper research.

As a means to further ensure validity, users will be required to create a membership with the site if they wish to partake in the encoding and editing process. Before a user is able to take part in the process, it is recommended that they review the TEI P5 Guidelines and must view the tutorials online. Through crowdsourcing, the site anticipates to gather new opinions from ordinary people to scholars.

In order to create interactivity with the site, many features are utilized. The History tab includes an interactive timeline. The use of visualization in this manner enables users to be a part of that time in history. The timeline is to be manipulated and moved. Users can click on various points in history and discover information typically displayed in paragraph form in an easy to comprehend way. The Diary tab features the actual text of her diary, and the pages can be turned like a real book does. Below the original are the transcribed version and the translated version. The user can display the information side-by-side and use the comprehensive search feature to look up points of interest, people, places, and artwork. Furthermore, the videos displayed on the site are simply drawn from other sources. Our intent is to provide access to videos relating to Anne Frank and the Holocaust in a single location to enable more efficient research.

For another perspective of her diary, text analysis software, such TextSTAT, can be used. The data gathered from the software is displayed under a separate tab on AFO. Users are able to examine word forms, concordances, and citations. The creators of the site can run the software and simply display the data on the web page. The site even compares her text to other diaries of the time to gain a new perspective of her life and the events. Submitting comments enables users to ask questions or request additions to the information found under this tab.

The Diary of Anne Frank Online enables users to learn so much about Anne’ life, the time period she lived in, and the people surrounding her. This website is much more than an informational site; it is interactive, visual and audible. Users can dive into the diary with just one click and with another be totally immersed in her life. In creating this site the goal is to give as much information as possible while still leaving room for conversation and collaboration. The Diary of Anne Frank Online is a great representation of all these things, and more importantly, is an example of digital humanities.

Sources:

The Anne Frank Center USA

Anne Frank Museum Amsterdam

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