Project Progress Update #4

I think I have finally figured out what to do with the artist biographies and made peace with Exhibit Builder. I changed Artists into an exhibit and gave each artist their own page. I am still adding the content, but I like how it looks so far. I am not sure if I should alphabetize them all or put the three most iconic artists (Womacka, Kerbel, Renau) first and then the rest in alphabetical order. I am not sure what the correct answer for a public history site is, but I will probably choose the latter.

I added the Oral Histories page today. Sasha Kerbel’s oral history was a fascinating find. She helped me understand why Womacka felt the way he did about the GDR. In addition, it did not occur to me before that family members of the artists could be a valuable source of oral history. I wonder if there is an oral history of the first wife of Ronald Paris. She was a photographer and probably had some awesome stories to tell. Unfortunately, I am disappointed with how the Oral Histories page looks. Despite pasting the embed codes into the HTML source code and the video and audio players showing up in the editing, they are removed from the page after I save it. The page only has links now, and that’s not as exciting. The YouTube Importer plugin broke my site, so I might have to leave it as it is. I could add screenshot thumbnails so the page isn’t only text. However, I would have to add each screenshot as an item in Omeka. That would be incredibly inconvenient and time-consuming. I do not have time for this. Why can’t the videos just play on the site? I divided the oral histories into German and English. So far, Sasha Kerbel’s is the only one in English.

I realized my frustration and confusion over Exhibit Builder stems from a lack of familiarity with the concept of exhibits. Art museums often do not have exhibits; we have exhibitions and galleries. I wanted to make my digital site using one interpretive text and several galleries, which is why Dr. Greet’s site is so appealing. However, when I looked at it, it is more like a database. That is probably what I originally had in mind too, but I don’t think it works for this class. I will try to use Exhibit Builder to create all the information I had in mind for HTML pages as exhibits. The Simple Pages are too simple for what I envisioned, as I discovered with the oral histories.

After seeing my classmates’ projects, I want a timeline too. I installed the plugin, but only a few of the items showed up in it. In addition, in the metadata, I entered the date that photographers photographed the art rather than the art’s creation or dedication dates. Unfortunately, I can’t modify that for the timeline. For example, Womacka’s fountain appeared in 2006 on the timeline. Finally, I tried adding a second date field to distinguish them. It works as long as the year that the art was made appears first and contains no text.

My continuing challenge is collecting all my thoughts and writing my interpretive content. My disability makes this extremely challenging. However, I need to publish some examples of each kind of content so that my review partner and Dr. Kelly can get an idea of what I am doing. Then I can finish the rest before the course ends.

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