Welcome to the first of my many site reviews! I’ve decided to review “A Shoebox of Norwegian Letters” and the “Square Dance History Project” this time around, which both use Omeka to host and build their sites. I ended up gravitating more towards hobbyist sites, as that is most likely what I will use Omeka for in the future.
A Shoebox of Norwegian Letters
Though the “About” page on the site describes its purpose in much more detail, “A Shoebox of Norwegian Letters” makes available multiple series of letters sent between two long-lost relatives. They have been translated from Norwegian and published online in order to archive and preserve the letters, as well as make the family’s story available to the public. I chose this site because it is similar to my group’s project, wherein we digitize scrapbooks in order to tell the Rowe family’s history.
The site is organized in a way that allows the reader to choose in which order they read the letters; readers can sort by chronological order, tags, location, or by author. Offering each of these options is very helpful, and I’d like to take this into consideration when working on my own project; however, the number of categories on the front page feels a bit bulky. If my group were to use this idea for our scrapbook project, I would instead suggest including a “Sort By” drop-down menu on a page that includes every artifact. Overall, though, the site is somewhat easy to navigate and explores a unique topic.
The Square Dance History Project
Though square dance has been a part of American history for decades, the “Square Dance History Project” is one of the only websites to document its conception and evolution. This issue is quite common in the field of Digital History; many subjects, especially if the people involved are or were of a lower socioeconomic class, go undocumented. Therefore, the “Square Dance History Project” is vital to understanding an often unnoticed part of American history.
Much like that of “A Shoebox of Norwegian Letters,” the organization of this site offers many ways for readers to sort through artifacts, namely by subject, item, or exhibit. This site, however, has a more colorful and aesthetically pleasing design and includes many photos, videos, and audio clips. Because of the included media, it is a lot easier to become immersed in the “Square Dance History Project”. I also find it to be a lot easier to navigate than the first site, and the topic relates to a greater range of people.