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Adventures in Digital History Spring 2020

Omeka review

The first Omeka site that I looked at was the Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads Project, http://www.americanantiquarian.org/thomasballads/. It features a collection of ballads from the collection of Isaiah Thomas. Each page includes a transcription and a high-resolution image of the original document. This particular site caught my attention because we will be doing a similar project in my group with the Civil War letters. We will be scanning in documents and putting them into a website. The website will also include other contextual information, similar to how this example does. Another interesting aspect of this website was that it included recordings of some of the ballads. Forms of media such as this show how important digital history is to the broader field of history. Digitizing historic resources allows them to be interpreted using technologies that enhance our understanding of the times they represent.

The other Omeka site that I looked at was A Shoebox of Norwegian Letters, http://huginn.net/shoebox/, an online archive of letters to and from members of the Holm family. Each letter is transcribed, both in the original Norwegian and translated English. Interesting about this site is how the viewer can search for a letter using multiple different tools including tags, author, and place of origin. My group may employ this technique when digitizing the Civil War letters. Allowing people to search for specific attributes can cut down the time it takes to find useful and relevant sources, making it another advantage of digital history.

Both sites were very well designed and easy to navigate. Overall, Omeka is a useful tool that makes it easy to create functional and well-designed websites. I expect that it will be helpful in creating websites for other projects, especially in the field of Museum Studies. It will provide a foundation for my group to build our final project on. I look forward to learning more about it and how to use it.

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