Week 2 blog post-Ryan Otis

Omeka allows scholars of history to create sites that use multimedia to teach about the past. It allows historians, who do not understand coding necessarily, to make a website beyond that of a text and image based site. Omeka allows projects like Virtual Paul’s Cross to be able to show 3-D images, created using computers, to show users a visual representation of that historical building and period. I imagine using Omeka to offer interactive experiences to the user, such as video games, videos, and other ways that make the history come alive. WordPress or other blogs can allow more text based information, and/or images, to be the focus of the historical piece. Blogs and WordPress would offer stats, quotes, and textual analysis concerning historical topics. I might use blog-based sites and Omeka to give textual evidence on the former type of site and interactive gaming on the latter. For example, I might use WordPress to give diary quotes about the American Revolution while I use an Omeka site to have users play a game about the battles in the War. Concerning the four sites I looked at, I will say that the Virtual Paul’s Cross site is the best and Mapping the Republic of Letters is the worst (I also looked at Gilded Age Plains City and Exploring the French Revolution). Virtual Paul’s Cross is the best because it offers 3-D images that can be easily looked at as well as easy instructions on the main page. It also is neatly laid out and nice to look at. In contrast, the Republic of Letters offers the main mapped out image of the project on the main page, but even when you click on it, it is impossible to read. They have an intro video on the main page too, but it just has people talking about the significance of the project, not a description of what it is or how it works. The French Revolution site and the Gilded Age site offer images and text, but you have to click around on different links to get it piecemeal. The information is fine, but it makes you search around more. What I would do on the three sites I did not like as much is to put all the main information on the main page and consolidate the core project into a game or video. This is easier for the average person to understand and get into. If the project is an image, make that image the first thing they see along with an explanation of what it is and what it means. If the project is text based, allow the text itself to be accessed but start with a video that has an overview of the main points of the textual evidence. The Republic of Letters needs a video overview of the image that was created (map). The French Revolution site needs the main core of the project on the main site and a video showcasing the main content. The Gilded Age Plains City needs a video overview to explain the main content of the site as well. The interactive map on that site does work, however.

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