New technologies and strategies in Digital History

Thursday, 3 September, 2015 - 11:00

WISER invites public historians, archivists and digital humanists to a workshop hosted by Sharon Leon, Director of Public Projects, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media.  Sharon's Center (RRCHNM) has produced two leading open-source software tools that are very widely used in the digital humanities:  Zotero and Omeka.  These workshops will focus on using Omeka for new forms of digital curatorship.

Please RSVP to Gabriele Mohale -- Gabriele.Mohale@wits.ac.za -- before July 30.

Engagement and Access in Digital Public History (11am - 1pm)

   

Omeka Logo

The work of public history calls for taking good history scholarship into the world to meet the needs and interests of a non-academic audience. While much of that work has traditionally happened in face to face encounters and at physical sites, increasingly public historians are encountering their audiences through digital means, such as social media, blogs, exhibit sites, collection and archives sites, mobile applications, and digital simulations. The possibilities for doing sophisticated digital public history work have expanded significantly since the first cultural heritage organizations began to create web presences in the mid-1990s. At the same time, the core elements and challenges of doing rigorous public history work have not changed all that much. As a result, the best digital public history work requires a blend of applied technical skills, targeted engagement strategies, disciplinary ways of knowing, and content knowledge.

 

Public historians in cultural heritage institutions need a practical introduction to doing digital public history that speaks to their theoretical and methodological commitments while offering clear guidance on preparing for, executing, and sustaining vibrant projects. This presentation will offer a formulation of support structures, tools, and frameworks to support the creation of user-centered digital public history work in small organizations. Bringing together the core areas of expertise in applied technical skills, targeted engagement strategies, disciplinary-specific ways of knowing, and historical content knowledge, the presentation will introduce the concept of user-centered digital public history, and then offer an outline of support materials for planning (research, strategy, and infrastructure creation), executing (building digital collections, creating rich interpretive content, and creating engaged communities around that work), and sustaining (frequent evaluation, ongoing outreach campaigns, and attention to issues of digital preservation) digital public history projects.

Taking the Next Steps with your Omeka Project (2pm - 4pm)

Omeka <http://omeka.org/> is a leading open source (released under the GPLv 3.0) collections-based web publishing platform for cultural heritage institutions, researchers, scholars, and students, developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) <http://chnm.gmu.edu/> and the growing open source developer community it supports. Publicly launched in February 2008, Omeka has been downloaded tens of thousands of times. Unlike many similar platforms, Omeka takes a user-centered, access-focused approach to collections, emphasizing approachable, accessible Web design and community features. As a result, a wide range of institutions adopting Omeka include the State Archives of Florida, the Newberry Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation, the University of California, Berkeley, and many college and university libraries (See the Omeka showcase for examples <http://omeka.org/showcase/>).

This workshop will introduce participants to the basic elements of Omeka’s infrastructure: items, collections, plugins, and themes. From there, participants will learn how to publish their collections, and build interpretive websites that leverage contextual metadata, item relationships, and geospatial data. Similarly, participants will explore methods to engage visitors through a number of approaches, including social media, commenting, community sourced contributions and transcriptions. Finally, participants will discuss the ways that Omeka is situated in the large scholarly communications ecosystem.