Project Progress Update #3

I went back and updated the item descriptions even further, like an obsessive perfectionist. I got some great advice from Dr. Kelly about how to make the biographies compelling. Mine read like they could be on an art gallery wall label. That is what I am used to writing, but it is boring for public history. So I started collecting photographs and quotes from each artist. When I went to enter them into the page, I realized I could not do this without adding every photo as an item and inserting it into the page from there. That means each image needs metadata and an interpretive description. That seems like a lot of extra work. I had envisioned something that looks more like our department’s faculty page.

Adding each artist’s photo as an item has messed up my neatly categorized galleries. I am not sure how to get the navigation to only point to the items that are art within the collection without making separate collections for art and artists. I would prefer to keep the collections categorized by medium like they are now. I want to show the diversity and breadth of public art in the former GDR. I still want to add stained glass as a collection, too. Maybe I can tag all the collections with art as art and have the navigation point to the tag? Then, if I have to put an interpretive description for the artists’ photos, I can write their biographies there and create a link to that tag in the navigation. That simplifies it, even if it isn’t as nice aesthetically.

I care about aesthetics. Who knew that this could be so complicated? For the past eight months, I have been writing content, curating images and entering metadata for a Curatescape site about Mason’s history. A developer worked with the GMU branding to make it look nice. I only need to follow his instructions and enter my content in the right places. There are metadata standards to follow, which seem self-explanatory. It only took me a couple of weeks to learn it all.

In contrast, everything with Omeka seems to be a learning curve. It does not work the way I expect it to. I find it disappointing that I am not better at Omeka since Curatescape uses Omeka. I was also a web designer 20 years ago. I used to be good at CSS, Javascript, SHTML, CGI, and similar coding languages. Unfortunately, I have been too intimidated to modify the CSS on my site. I have already broken it once.

I used Zotero to make a Bibliography to include on the site. Not all the primary sources are scholarly because I am mainly using images taken by other people interested in documenting public art. They are ordinary citizens who are bloggers or photographers. Unfortunately, I have noticed that Zotero populated the wrong metadata for a few German-language publications, like the city’s brochure about art in Eisenhüttenstadt and Lenin lebt by Carlos Gomez. I can go back and fix it later, but I did not notice until after I had published the bibliography.

If the artists’ biographies are going into the item metadata now, what am I doing with Exhibit Builder?

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