(Two articles examined)
So it looks to me we’re moving in the direction of end-game for the course with the introduction of Omeka.net, as we’ll be using that pretty heavily for the final project of the course for our online exhibits. While I’m looking forward to it, at the same time I still need to narrow down a subject pertaining to WWI I would really like to discuss. I do have a little bit of an advantage, having done some work on WWI before but I would rather move in a newer direction with the project rather than recycle what I’ve already done (which, to be honest, I’m really not happy with anyway). While nothing is set in stone, I would like to nail as much down about this project as possible.
Anyway, onward to the articles.
The benefit of Omeka is similar to the benefits of the internet for research. It allows grass root movements to be documented as well as allowing fledgling or underfunded historians to create exhibits. It allows conservation of space and the showcasing of certain items that would normally not be allowed to be in a museum or exhibit, as well as use of limitless virtual space in lie of lack of physical space. It also makes the items more available for a viewing audience, and if education is the goal of an exhibit it can accomplish that goal well with limited resources or support, while adding to it when more information or objects become available.
The drawbacks are also similar, in that it is not a substitute for the actual item, and online the context associated with the item can be removed or misconstrued by the consumer. It also can rely heavily on community involvement, which we discussed last week can have mixed results.
The two online exhibits I examined (and linked at the top) are Graduate Stories and Heroes and Villains: Silver Age Comics. Outside of the obvious similarity that both interest me and difference that one is a collection of interviews of grad students and the other is a collection of comics, there is much more to it.
The Graduate Stories interested me on the grounds that some guidance is always appreciated and learning from the past experiences from others is something I can utilize. I enjoyed Prof. Glaser’s 502 class interview, and the parallel between my interview and many of the questions asked in the collection makes it much more familiar. There aren’t any objects, it is oral history recorded online in a collection to help potential graduate students.
The other collection is rather different, consisting of 21 different collections each highlighting a different hero, with mostly scans of images with detailed text descriptions of said items. The comics are from the silver age, and reach across both Marvel and DC comics for sources. Superheroes are a specialty subject of mine, something that has interested me as a child and beyond, and as someone who appreciates it seeing all the vintage comics was rather fascinating. The silver age of comics is referred to as almost a golden age of comics, where things were simpler an stories did not need to be complex or even make sense (EX. Pink Krytonite. I know it wasn’t actually introduced in the silver age of comics, but it was an omage so I’m going to say it counts.) Many have tried to recreate that silver age feel due to a growing nostalgia, such as Burt Ward and Adam West getting together to make another Batman movie, and hit series like Batman: Brave and the Bold (which is an actual Batman comic series from the silver age).
The set of collections is detailed, having source material, a set of citations for the object. The rights are also made available, such as for the cover of the “Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane” #62 which features Superman and Lois Lane at odds as both are running for senator.
Between the two, I rather prefer studying the comic one as it is more detailed, has more objects, and has images, but find the oral history interviews to have much more substance as beyond the items the silver age comics Omeka doesn’t have all that much information, leaving it up to the researcher to draw their own inferences/track down the objects themselves.