Once again, and in accordance with the initial aims of the VDM Committee, we proceed to a renewal and enrichment of VDM with new materials. Specifically, we added new materials in four of the six main menu categories: “History”, “Economy and Production”, “Society” and “Beyond Vlahokerasia”. The new materials were incorporated in 11 of the 34 flipping books (See 4th column of the accompanying Table). This time, we put special emphasis on the enrichment of three flipping books, “Our Winter Settlements”, “Activities of Vlahokerasiotes Omogeneis” and “Vlahokerasiotes in Business and Enterprises beyond Vlahokerasia” In case of the first – “Our Winter Settlements” – that essentially pertains to “seasonal migrants”, our goal was to demonstrate the vital importance of olive oil production in the economic life of Vlahokerasiotes and to express our gratitude to the younger generation who shut their ears to the sirens of urbanization and remained in the village to cultivate the lands of their parents. In the case of the second and third flipping books– “Activities of Vlahokerasiotes Omogeneis” and “Vlahokerasiotes in Business and Enterprises beyond Vlahokerasia]” – our goal was to better convey to our visitors the epos of our pioneering emigrants and to strengthen the bonds of the younger generation of Greeks abroad with the land of their ancestors. However, though all three of the above books contain most valuable new materials, this does not belittle the importance of other flipping books, such as “Vlahokerasiotes in the Sciences, the Letters and the Arts” and “Vlahokerasiotes in the Armed Forces” which also contain most significant materials for Vlahokerasiotes who have stood out and have made all the rest of us proud (See Table of Content at the end of the this text to locate the exact pages of the new materials in the flipping books).
Besides the posting of new mateerials, one of the flipping books, "Our Winter Settlements", was restructured with the purpose of improving content homogeneity. The reordering of the pages was based on thematic content and chronological order. Within each thematic cetorgory the older materials preceded the more recent ones. The following thematiic categories emerged from the restructuring: introductory pages, photos of a general nature from the more distant past, houses in various locations, gathering of olives, olive-crushing means, trimming of olive trees, burning of olive branches, spraying of olive trees, herd migration, and photos of a general nature from the more recent period. With the restructuring of this flipping book, we believe we achieved greater homogeneity of content and reduced thematic duplication.
It is also worth pointing out that almost all of the new pages in the flipping books are accompanied by hyperlinks that consist of (1) album with a rich collection of photographs chronologically or thematically organized (2) documents involving articles, excerpts from immigrant autobiographies , commentary from facebook and architectural blueprints of the Vlahokerasia School (3) curricula vitae of Vlahokerasiotes scientists, immigrant businessmen and soldiers, who with their actions have stood out abroad and/or in their own country (4) narratives of villagers and omogeneis that refer to more or less happy moments of the past and (5) video clips of holidays, festivals and traditional dance-song contests by the younger generation omogeneis, migration of village herds to higher grounds and olive harvesting with the use of new technologies.
- Restructuring. Following a decision by the VDM Committee, we implemented additional restructuring of VDM, with the purpose of improving the homogeneity of content. The basic restructuring involved the splitting of the menu category, “History-Traditions” in two independent menu-categories, “History” and “Traditions”. Each one of the menu-categories includes five subcategories (flipping books). Furthermore, we created two new electronic books (flipping books), the “Family Trees of Vlahokerasiotes” and “Vlahokerasiotes in the Armed Forces”. The first one was incorporated in the menu-category, “History” and the second, in the menu-category, “Beyond Vlahokerasia”. It is necessary to note that the first book (“Family Trees…”) is quite brief (5 pp.) and consists of new materials, while the second (“Vlahokerasiotes in the Armed Forces”) contains more pages, but consists of materials that were already published in other existent flipping books. Finally, we performed a re-ordering of the pages in the electronic book, “Sciences, Letters and the Arts”, putting the scientists, the authors, the artists and the journalists in alphabetical order in accordance with the Greek alphabet.
Structural and Other Changes during the period August – November 2017
We are in the happy position to announce that during the last four months (August-November 2017), VDM has been enriched by the incorporation of significant new materials (Table, 2nd column). The enrichment has been made possible by the participation of almost all the Committee members (See Table, 1st column). All the main menu categories have been enriched, except one –“Sites –Environment” (Table, 3rd column). Although all the new materials are significant, I would like to elaborate more on the first two structural changes. The first involves the addition of the “Male Birth Records”, which cover the period 1837-1953, and refer to those compatriots whose birth was registered in the village of Vlahokerasia, while the “Male Birth Records of the Municipality of Manthyrea”, that we had already posted, included male births from several neighboring villages, including the village of Vlahokerasia, and covered the period 1846-1878. Undoubtedly, there will be duplications for the overlapping years, but we decided to include it because it covers a longer period of time. The two birth registries were subsumed under a new subcategory –“Birth Registries”, allowing for the future incorporation of female birth records. The second structural change involves the introduction to VDM of an altogether new subcategory “Efthymografimata Vlahokerasioton” 1 ”, which constitute an integral cultural element of oral tradition. The rest of the materials were incorporated in the various subcategories of VDM (popular arts, life cycle, businesses in the village, winter settlements, churches, associations, omogeneis and Vlahokerasiotes beyond the village in the sciences, politics and businesses). All the new materials are presented in the table below and in alphabetical order, according to the last name of the committee member responsible for the collection and preparation of the new materials.
As we have repeatedly emphasized, the Vlahokerasia Digital Museum (VDM) is an open system that is subject to continual enrichment and renewal. We are in the pleasant position to announce to you the incorporation in VDM of new materials that we have collected, with the invaluable cooperation of our compatriots, from Greece and abroad, during the January - June 2018 period. New materials – photos, documents and family trees – have been added to 15 of the 32 flipping books. Two of the flipping books, “Vlahokerasia Sites, Neighborhoods and Houses” and “Activities of Vlahokerasiotes Omogeneis” have been especially enriched with new materials. We invite our compatriots and their friends, wherever they live, to visit our enriched website. In order to expedite your digital tour, we have constructed a table with the new materials classified by content/object, flipping book, page and source:
The village of Vlahokerasia is located about 20 km south of the capital of Arcadia, Tripolis, and three kilometers from the national road that leads to the capital of Laconia, ancient Sparta. In accordance with the 2011 census, Vlahokerasia had 424 residents. In 1928, its population was 1600 residents. During the 1928-2011 period, there was a reduction of 80%. Undoubtedly, the principal factor accounting for this reduction was urbanization within the country and emigration to the overseas countries. A “census” of all Vlahokerasiotes, abroad and in Greece (1988-1992), conducted under the aegis of the Attica Vlahokerasiotes Association recorded 3,742 Vlahokerasiotes, of whom 42% lived in the Attica region (Athens Metropolitan Area), 20% abroad (U.S., Australia, and Canada), 20% in other towns and cities of Greece and 17% in the village of Vlahokerasia. The residents of Vlahokerasia were mainly senior citizens since the younger generation had taken the road of migration, either for abroad or for other cities within the country. As a result, there followed a shrinking of agricultural activities, traditional businesses and enrollments in the school of Vlahokerasia.