Reflections on New Media

It’s the end of the semester and time for me to deliberate on the knowledge and information I have acquired in each of my classes. This is something I usually do each semester, but this time it is especially important because it might be the last. I’m graduating and entering into the ‘real’ world, hopefully into a history/museum profession. Therefore, the lessons of my New Media class are things I will utilize in my future career. While I still have a lot to learn in some aspects, I feel confident that I have a basic understanding of media projects that will come in handy on the job. Continue reading “Reflections on New Media”

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Digitization and Sustainability

The process of digitizing collections from museums and libraries has become a significant feat that requires a lot of planning and funding. Reading through the Searching for Sustainability report provides a glimpse into a few institutions sustainability plan and how they have successfully kept their digital exhibits and collections in working order. The report reveals important key factors that could be used as a starting point when reviewing the sustainability of any online institutional website. I chose to look at a digital exhibit on The Newberry’s online digital resources, Approaching the Mexican Revolution: Books, Maps, Documents. Continue reading “Digitization and Sustainability”

Ephemeral Films Project

This week we are tasked with examining an online exhibit that uses videos. This is an effective way to engage visitors and present footage of a specific event that individuals may not have had the opportunity to view elsewhere. I decided to once again look at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s online exhibitions (sorry, I love this site and museum!). I chose the “Ephemeral Films Project,” which provides videos of the Nazi takeover in Austria. These films are from amateur filmmakers and provide exclusive depictions of these historic events. Continue reading “Ephemeral Films Project”

The Networked Book

This week’s reading focuses on digital stories, which are “narratives built from the stuff of cyberculture.”¹ I decided to read the chapter “No Story Is a Single Thing; or, The Networked Book” that discusses storytelling in the social media realm. In this case, it is described as “the networked book,” which is “where content and audience interaction if distributed over multiple sites and across time.”²  The chapter reveals the different forms that the networked book can take, such as wiki pages, blog posts, YouTube videos, etc. Hyperlinking plays an intricate role within a networked book, because the site is structured with departments, categories or tags that are all clickable. Another aspect of the networked book can include user contribution, examples of this could be blog comments, as well as creating your own content within the site.

As I was reading the chapter I immediately thought about the Game of Thrones Wiki. This site uses many of the aspects of the networked book. The site is an online community about the HBO television series, and following the wiki format, is user generated. The site is organized through departments, such as: Episodes, characters, culture & society, and production. It also includes sections hosting videos, images, chat, blogs, and forums. There are sections for recommended articles with clickable links, there are polls that are used to gather information about what the community predicts for future episodes. Game of Thrones Wiki is a platform that allows visitors to “build materials in a collaborative space.”³

I came across the site when I was googling the books, which also has its own wiki site, A Wiki of Ice and Fire. I found a link within that site that lead me to the Game of Thrones wiki, highlighting how “finding network stories occurs in a social framework of discovery and collaboration.”4

Both webpages use the same format and are easy to navigate. If I’m reading about a specific character, let’s say Davos Seaworth, his bio contains hypertext that will lead me to other sections within the site. His page provides me with specific information, from the first time he appears in the show to whether he is alive or dead, all with clickable links that can lead you to more information, articles, pictures, or even other sites. I find this site to be useful and well-made and a great example of a networked book.

davos.png

 

  1. Bryan Alexander, The New Digital Storytelling: Creating Narratives with New Media (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2011), 3.
  2. Ibid., 127.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid., 135.

Metadata and Online Exhibits

It was during my position as a Graduate student assistant at Loyola’s Congressional Archives where I first came in contact with metadata, and embarrassingly I didn’t realize it until I read this weeks An Introduction to Metadata. One of the projects I was involved with was processing VHS tapes in the Henry Hyde collection. After viewing each VHS, I was tasked with creating themes for the tapes that would be searchable online once available to the public. These categories are metadata, information that aids individuals in gathering the appropriate information they need when searching a website. While this was my first time actually generating metadata, it is something I have come across throughout my academic career. Continue reading “Metadata and Online Exhibits”

Encountering Troubles with PastPerfect

For this week’s blog post I contacted an individual I worked with when I was an intern at The Polish Museum of America, the development coordinator/registrar Kasia Balutowska (she also worked with the archives department). During my time there I assisted in cataloging artifacts into the PastPerfect system as well as in the creation of an exhibit. Both of these tasks showed me the darker side of museum and archival work, specifically the lack of funding and efficient help. The quick conversation I had dealt with the complications I encountered. Continue reading “Encountering Troubles with PastPerfect”

Jewish Women’s Archive Review

jwapics

The Jewish Women’s Archive is a history website that sets out to elevate Jewish women’s stories, struggles, and achievements throughout history and strives to safeguard a more inclusive future.¹  The JWA is a great example of Cohen and Rosenzweig’s “History Web” because it combines a number of different aspects that they determine are important to history-related websites. While the site focuses on an expansive topic, Jewish Women throughout world history, it is well organized into different sections that help users navigate to a section that is relevant to them. JWA combines archives, exhibits and scholarship, teaching and learning, as well as discussion. Continue reading “Jewish Women’s Archive Review”

Polish National Identity in Chicago

The Oral History Archives of the Chicago Polonia Project is a collection at the Chicago History Museum and contains interviews conducted in the 1970s on the Polish immigrant experience between 1880 and 1930. I am currently using this collection for a research paper, where I am examining how the city (around the turn of the 20th century) became a space where a strong Polish national identity could prosper due to theatrical performances and the circulated press. Reviewing the life stories of immigrants that the Polonia project undertook provides important insights on this identity formation. I recently took photos of the interview transcripts to create a hypothetical online exhibit.

Continue reading “Polish National Identity in Chicago”

The Open Access Movement: Academia.edu

academia

Social network sites, like Facebook, allow individuals to connect with people they are acquainted with or share some sort of interest. While this is seen as probably the most popular social network site, there is a social networking platform that allows users to connect with one another based on academic research, called Academia.edu. This site is specifically for academics that wish to share their research with others in their field. It allows for the user to monitor how many times their work has been read online, permitting them to see if their research is relevant and has aroused interest in the academic community. Individuals could even follow their research field in case of new developments from other academics. This site has opened the world up to new venues of learning, and as a History graduate student I know the site has proven beneficial when conducting my own research. Continue reading “The Open Access Movement: Academia.edu”

Important Considerations For Creating A Digital Exhibit

During last week’s assignment, where we had to evaluate a library or museum’s online digital collection, I found myself very critical of Newberry Library’s digital presence. I was definitely frustrated while looking at certain digital exhibits that appeared underdeveloped, and frankly mad when I couldn’t access exhibits that were only available through computers onsite (and these exhibits looked well-made and interesting). I have never been a tech savvy person and my academic career in history has only required me to use PowerPoints, so I came into this class with minimal to no knowledge of the work that goes into digital exhibits. After reading my peers’ blog posts this week, I think some of my judgements were misguided. While it is important to be critical and to learn from other institutional sites, I have also learned that there are a lot of elements that need to be considered when producing online exhibits. Continue reading “Important Considerations For Creating A Digital Exhibit”