For the exhibition website we had planned to implement a IIIF viewer for the display of the manuscripts as we had seen many examples of through the semester. For this we decided to select the open source Project Mirador viewer due the nature of it being one of the largest projects. However our efforts ran into issues due to the fact that it is an actively and rapidly developed project, this meant that a lot of the projects documentation is left unfinished or still work in progress. This led to many issues in trying to implement the project and after a period of experimentation and work we eventually had to change to try and find a different option this led to us attempting to use several different IIIF viewers such as openseadragon, a far more lightweight program, but we also failed to be able to get those to work. After the failures in trying to succeed in getting either of the IIIF viewers to work we settled on using a simple image zoom tool to view the images. The struggles we encountered in these attempts demonstrated one of the main problems with open source projects in that no matter how good the actual project is that they are producing if they haven’t taken the steps to properly document there processes and steps using the software becomes extremely difficult to use, in an ideal world of course all programs and projects would have detailed in depth documentation and assistance, of course though when you are developing a project and are focusing on making it work and become high quality to stop and go back to do that can easily become a low priority task.
The idea and use of accessibility in the digital humanities is a two sided debate encompassing the use of differing means of presentation to present material to those with disabilities and to make the materials more open to the general public as well. There are many people who have difficulties with the presentation of material in traditional ways of exhibition with items displayed visually, there are and exist many ways that this barrier can be lowered, including the addition of tactile and audio components to projects. This whole area of adding non-visual components can be easily and furthered through the use of digital and online aspects which allow for both more advanced accessibility features common in most modern technology that can make even visual aspects far more widely accessible, the use of digital technologies also allow further features to be added such as, video and described video which would be difficult and problematic in more physical spaces and presentations. The use of digital and online components can also allow for even greater access to an exhibit and presentation of material, with the creation of supporting websites. Through the use of these digital methods it can allow for people who otherwise could not attend or see material to be able to see and in some case still experience the same affects as that found in the physical space through the use of 3-D video and recordings of spaces. As well the ability for very high quality images and scans of material, coupled with higher quality screens and more accurate advanced software and frameworks, such as IIIF and UHQ screens, allow for much greater access and interactivity with material that can not be physically viewed. These abilities to use digital media in more advanced fashion allow for exciting opportunities for the digital humanities
I hope all of your individual projects are progressing well. It has been a while since I last blogged and I figure a little bit of an update is overdue. I have been assigned to the physical exhibit team for our final project. Last week I was tasked with documenting the measurements of the exhibit space we are going to put our artefacts inside. So I created a diagram with the measurements of the spaces we are looking at in the History Department and shared it with our group.
This coming week I am going to select another manuscript to display in the exhibit, along with another one that I had previously chosen. I am then going to write out information cards for each of the manuscripts I have chosen and share those with my team for further feedback. In addition to these tasks, I am in charge of determining which objects we put inside the display case to accompany the manuscripts. These objects are going to relate to the manuscripts and our class in one way or another, and I am going to write out information cards to be paired with each one.
Talking about our tasks in class yesterday made me realize just how close the exhibit launch date is (It was exactly a month away). This also got me thinking about how much has to be done in order for everything to be ready for the launch date. This is somewhat stressful, but I think we will be able to manage it well. Things are moving at a much faster pace these days and everything is getting very exciting!
See you in class!
While we enter the final 6 weeks of course, and begin racing full speed ahead, I thought I should reflect on our final project a bit more. More specifically, I wanted to take you all on a journey which I call Curating an Exhibit. Luckily for us, we have a physical and digital space. Throughout this blog posting I encourage you to reflect critically on the spaces that we have and think about what aspects of this we can include within our exhibits.
When curating an exhibit there are many questions that we must ask ourselves. Lynsay did an amazing job highlighting these during our conversation today regarding a design brief.
Who is our audience?
What do we want them to know (when they come to the exhibit and visit our website)?
How can we engage them?
What purpose to they have (and reason) to want to visit our website?
What items will make them want to come to the exhibit?
Who are our stakeholders and how do they influence our exhibits?
Similar to writing a paper, as curators we have an intention which we can call a thesis. This thesis is one that is persistent throughout the entire exhibit. It is an underlying theme or message that guides and influences our work. This doesn’t have to a repeated phrase or even mentioned within the exhibit itself but we as the curators must remember this within our work. This thesis will inspire not only us, but the visitors as well. This can be related to Marc’s question of “how do we reach a target audience that is beyond the notion of ‘people like us’’? If we identify our target audience, we can then identify those who exist outside of it? Why would those people be interested in our exhibit, and how can we intentionally build those ideas into our framework?
In order to truly be successful with this, we need cohesion across all the teams. My role as the project manager to assist with this cohesion. If you are waiting for something and the other team has past the deadline, my job is to help the team and you while we waiting. We must be transparent and trust each other in the different areas.
Here are the list of dates and deadlines that we discussed in class, with a few extras and adjustments. Remember if you are unable to complete a task by the deadline, do not worry! Just communicate and let everyone know.
February 28: Finalized Exhibit Layout (Hard deadline, March 2)
March 1: Design Brief for Website (After reviewing exhibit layout) (Hard deadline, March 3)
March 3: QR Codes (Information on how to make them gathered)
March 5: List of all content required for website (Hard deadline, March 8)
March 8: 3 poster designs created and ready to be printed (Hard deadline, March 10)
March 20: Website Beta ready to launch (Hard deadline, March 25)
March 21: Pamphlet created (based on exhibit and website) (Hard deadline, March 26)
March 22: Exhibit set-up (Hard deadline based on change of exhibition dates)
I will be adding more deadlines to Trello based on the tasks that everyone is completing. Remember if you are unsure please ask, and it is better to overshare than underscore in a group project!
I hope everyone has enjoyed the mini break we’ve had, whether you got to soak up the sun in a warmer destination or if you were more like me and stuck in the snow with school work, either way I hope everyone is feeling slightly more relaxed after a week off. The readings this week were like a breath of fresh air for me; I am not a technical person, and the previous readings we’ve had have been on the “techy” side and I’ve found them difficult to read. This week’s readings, however, perfectly ties in to our final project that the class has been working on. Kathy Fox’s The Design Brief focuses on giving the reader on what to do and what not to do when beginning a large project. It offers the idea of what exactly to do, before the project even really begins, meaning “all the people involved with the project come together before the project goes outside the institution and decide the organizational ambitions of the project, along with its values and ethos”. The Design Brief will be the structure for our brainstorming in class Monday. The other readings are focused mainly on public history; which is more or less engaging the public with history, such as explained in Public History and Liberal Learning: Making the Case for the Undergraduate Practicum Experience by Elizabeth Belanger where she has her students engage directly with a community and their history. Andrew Dunning’s review of Jeffrey DeWitt’s on-running project for transcribing Petrus Plaoul Sentences and making them more widely accessible is very relatable to what our class did last semester with transcribing some of Carleton’s medieval manuscripts (not to his remarkable scale though). The work the Harry Ransom Center has done with attempting to transcribe or identify partial manuscripts was quite wonderful and relevant to our whole course – most of the manuscripts we worked on were only fragments.
Here are some questions to ponder over this weekend before our class:
- Do you think the Design Brief will help us with our project? Why or why not?
- What do you think are the strengths/weaknesses of a physical exhibit? An online exhibit?
- What are some of the obstacles of publishing work online to be seen and commented on? (see Andrew Dunning’s review and the work done by the Harry Ransom Center)
Enjoy the last two days of reading week!