W Cervantes, Blog Post #1

I think that Omeka is a very powerful tool for academics to use for an array of tasks, whether explaining a unique concept to students in a course, or making a presentation of one’s research to show among colleagues and professionals. Similarly, the opportunities with a site such as WordPress are almost endless. The Emancipation Project and Gilded Age Murder Omeka projects show some of the capabilities of these sites for displaying data as media content. The Emancipation Project, for example, had interactive maps and other static images that displayed statistics over time relevant to the status of the African American population being studied. Having tools like that at your disposal – being able to directly show what you are talking about – can be very advantageous.

Having just barely dipped my toes into the world of digital history and browsed through a few completed projects and sites, I can conclude that there is certainly more good to the burgeoning world of digital history than there is bad. Well-designed projects can allow for content to be easily browsed and perhaps better understood. However, a lack of user-friendly design can lead to users being overwhelmed by the information provided; a feeling we can all relate to when left to simply stare at some unfamiliar database. By combining some of the more appealing aspects of digital tech (design, accessibility, collaboration) with the academic content/sources necessary for a project, you can create something much more interactive and appealing to students/colleagues than a regular project or presentation would be. Although I am not exactly sure of the manner in which I would use Omeka for my DH project this semester, I will certainly take it upon myself to become familiar with it so that I can create a more appealing and interactive project.

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