We recommend the historical Facebook profile be completed by small groups and concluded by short presentations to the class. It may also be useful to have students complete a short ‘research narrative’ after the profile has been completed. The purpose of this narrative would be to have students reflect on the research process and what they have learned about historical scholarship.
Using the Fakebook website is straightforward. The site is designed to mimic Facebook’s interface to create profiles for people and events you are studying.
Fakebook contains instructions and even a suggested marksheet. In addition to classtools.net instructions there are several YouTube videos which explain how the site works. We suggest Andrea Rounsley’s video. These instructables cover the basic mechanics of using Fakebook.
In this guide we will build a Fakebook page for Arthur Currie in order to illustrate how you can use Fakebook with A City Goes to War. While we refer to the research tools specific to A City Goes to War in this guide, students and teachers should not limit themselves to this site. Many of the people on our site have information in the BC Archives, Libraries and Archives Canada, UVic Special Collections, Veterans Affairs, the Canadian War Museum just to name a few. We have provided a list of other websites under Resources > Websites.
Fakebook has four main components and this guide is organized along these sections:
- The header and profile picture
- An “About” column
- A Friends, Family, and Organisations section
- A “Posts” Column
- All areas of a Fakebook page are editable. This means that students can make a post or fill in biographical information, but if they find additional information or want to change the information they originally entered they simply need to click on the “Edit” link for posts or click in the “About” box to edit.
- Posts can be moved around. Students can fill in the posts section as they research and can adjust the chronology if needed. Move your cursor over a post until a four-way-arrow appears then shift the post’s position in the chronology.
- If you want your students to maintain a bibliography you should decide what convention you want to follow at the outset. We recommend one of two strategies:
- Have students post a footnote “comment” to every post that is authored by “Bibliography”. Example:
2. Have students post a single post at the end of their posts section authored by “Bibliography” that contains a list of the sources they used to complete the project. Example:
Whatever strategy you employ we recommend having students keep a word processor document of their bibliography.
Start by asking students to select either a soldier or a civilian to study. Below is a list of names which have been vetted by us to contain enough information for students to complete a full profile. The list starts with the easiest profiles to complete to the most challenging. A PDF of this list can also be found at Resources > Teaching Package > Possible Profiles.
Arthur Currie – Commander of the Canadian Corps. Largest Collection: Start with Arthur Currie
Blayney Scott – Well known rower, boxer, and swimmer before the war. Large collection on our site: Start with Scott Family
W.C. Warren – Boer War veteran. Wounded twice. Sources on our site and BC Archives (not digitised)
Archie Wills – Artilleryman. Large Collection UVic Special Collections (digitized)
T.F. Baxter – 5th Regiment soldier. Primarily oral historical sources
A.D. Corker – 5th Regiment volunteer. Primarily oral historical sources
R.W. Day – Cartoonist, 88th Regiment. Mainly poems.
Walter Liddiard – Conscripted, wounded in action. Large Collection at Canadian Letters and Images Project
J. McKenzie – Army Medical Corps. Primarily oral historical sources
Gertrude Scott – Teacher, James Island School. Letter and images
T. Sehl – Tried to join Royal Flying Corps. Oral historical sources and MA thesis
|Name||Soldier or Civilian||Notes|
|W.H. Lettice||5th Regiment soldier||Some biographical, images and medals|
One alternative is to have students invent a profile rather than use the list we have created. This allows for a more open-ended assignment, but will require creativity to complete.
Section 1: Header and Profile Picture
Step One: Fill in the name for whoever you are going to build a Fakebook page for by clicking on the space beside the profile picture place holder:
Fakebook will automatically search Google for any pictures based on what you type. If you do not want the image that loads automatically simply click on the picture, select “Browse” and load one from a local hard drive:
If you want to use a picture from the City Goes to War archive find the picture you want. Once you have the picture on your screen right-click on the picture and select “Save Image As…” or “Copy Image.”
Bibliographic note: If you want students to indicate the URL of where the image came from they will need to take this step.
In order to get the URL students need to right-click the picture and choose to view the image in a new tab. This will take them out of the viewer and to a stable URL for the image.
In the picture below, the bibliographic information is: “A portrait of Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, signed “Ever yours faithfully, A.W. Currie, Lt. Gen. Canadian Corps.”
Source: Image Courtesy of Craig Cotter at the Museum of the 5th (BC) Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery – Room 401/Box A3/55 Date: Between 1917 and 1933, A City Goes to War, http://acitygoestowar.ca/wp-content/gallery/kirsten-archives-documents/kh0162.jpg, accessed August 29, 2013.
To insert a “cover image”, follow the same procedure.
Optional assignment: Identity and Photographs
This assignment explores what can be learned from profile pictures more closely. It asks students to be more analytical in how they assess their evidence.
Section Two: “About,” basic biographical details
In order to complete the “About” section students should begin by searching A City Goes to War’s Records of Service database. The Database contains information on civilians and soldiers.
When searching the database it is best to use last names. First initials will not usually return a search result.
To fill in or add to the “About” section you simply need to click in the area and fill in any details you want. We suggest you use the Arthur Currie Fakebook page as a guide for students to understand what and how many categories they should use. They should be as comprehensive as possible with the information from the Database, but they should also consult the original Attestation Papers where possible to mimic the language and style of the time. Click here for an example Attestation Paper. Today, for many Canadian soldiers the complete personal file is now available on-line at Library and Archives Canada so students have a much broader list of searches available. Some may want to find information about a family member.
Note: It is possible to further ‘style’ the “About” section using html and inline css. If your students are comfortable with these basic coding languages encourage them to add some flare to their historical profile.
For the Arthur Currie example profile we used the following categories:
- Christian Names:
- Date of Birth:
- Religious Affiliation:
- Present Address:
- Next-of-Kin Address:
- Trade or Calling:
- Military Service:
- Date of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Grave Site:
These categories are a reasonable representation of the type of information students will find in the database, but it should be noted that individual database records often vary in the information they contain.
Students should not only consult the database in order to fill in the “About” section. Fort example, on the Arthur Currie page we have filled in every job he had that we know about. The Database is not that robust.
Optional assignment: Introduction to Historical Sources
This assignment looks more closely at the nature of historical evidence and asks students to consider the difference between “history,” which is interpretation and the “past” which is the sum total of everything that has happened.
NOTE: Sections One and Two are meant to provide students with some early victories while getting comfortable with Fakebook and A City Goes to War. Section Three is a little more challenging and will require students to draw inferences rather than providing direct correlations.
Section Three: Friends, Family, and Organisations
Using the archive and searching for diaries, letters, or newspapers, students should add people and organisations that are appropriate for their historical person.
The process to add information to the Friends section is similar to the “About” and header information. Click where it says “Type here” and students can fill in names of friends. Click on the picture holder to search and Fakebook will automatically look for a picture from the Internet. If you want to add your own picture instead the process is the same as for the profile picture.
In our Arthur Currie example we added:
Lucy Sophia Chadworth-Musters (Lady Currie): Currie’s Wife
Marjorie Currie (Mrs AT Galt Durnford): Daughter
Garner Currie: Son
Below the Friends section click “Add New Block” this will allow you to enter an “Organisations” section. For some profiles you may want students to focus more on “Organsiations” than friends as organisations will be more easily identifiable. You can add as many “Blocks” as you like with whatever titles you deem appropriate.
For the Arthur Currie example we added:
Masons, Gordon Highlanders, BC Rifle Association, Dominion Rifle Association, 5th Regiment.
Section 4: Posts
Step One: Timeline Posts
To expand their global, national, and local historical knowledge of the First World War, students research world and local events by consulting A City Goes to War Victoria Timeline and by digging into the Victoria Daily Times in the archive. We also suggest you have students consult the British Colonist. Students should choose some world or local events they think are relevant to their historical profile and post comments and pictures if possible. Consult the Arthur Currie Fakebook page for examples.
Step Two: Status Updates
Status updates are where students fill out their profile. They add highly personal information based on their research into letters, diaries, oral histories and any other records that offer personal information. Consult the Arthur Currie Fakebook page for examples.