Week 5: Omeka Showcase Websites

So for this week, I browsed the websites featured in the Omeka showcase. While I was impressed by all of them, two websites piqued my interest and I spent time browsing their contents. The two websites differed from each other in many ways, especially in the types of digitized items, the quantity of their collections and exhibitions, and in the amount of resources and contributors to each website. I’ll focus on each website individually before going into the comparison.

The first website is Stark and Subtle Divisions: A Collaborative History of Segregation in Boston, created by UMass Boston’s History and American Studies departments. From their About page, the project started back in 2015 and utilized the archives of the City of Boston as well as from colleges and universities in the Boston area. This project was a class effort, and mostly done by graduate students. The website features over 500 digitized items, a total of 15 collections, 12 exhibits, and a plethora of additional resources for further information. A unique feature of Stark and Subtle Divisions is a map that features the locations of 300 items in the collections. For instance, you can select an item like a letter from a list and the map details its location. Stark and Subtle Divisions offers a highly diverse collections and features that add a better understanding of the realities of segregation in the Boston area.

Now, I’ll move on to the second website, The Latina History Project. This is a faculty-student collaborative research project at that aims to enhance education and understanding of Latino/a and Chicano/a history. Their website has 126 digitized items, 12 collections, and 5 digital exhibits. The website also includes 8 additional resources. The Latino History project is unique in that the majority of the digitized items are oral histories given by past and present members of the Southwestern community, and activists. The Latina History Project displays a glimpse into the history of Latino activism in the Central Texas community.

What contrasts the Latina History Project and Stark and Subtle Divisions is the sheer quantity of content. Stark and Subtle has a lot more items featured on its site than the Latina history project. It has more items, more collections, and more additional resources overall. Most of Stark and Subtle resources are in print, while the Latina History Project’s are oral histories, rather than print. Also, far fewer people contributed to the Latina History Project than to Stark and Subtle Divisions, an entire class as compared to five people in a department. The addition of the map to Stark and Subtle Divisions added a lot more to my experience of the website. It added extra context to the documents presented in the collections and the exhibitions.

As a whole, I enjoyed the Stark and Subtle Divisions website more for its content and for the quality of its organization of the content. While the Latina History Project had interesting topics and I enjoyed their inclusion of oral history interviews, I wasn’t too impressed with their organization of their items and I wish they could do more to place their items into the context of their message.

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