Curation Note 4: Finalizing the Exhibit Organization

Activity Summary: 

  • Restructured the site navigation. Changed “Search” to “Research.” Relocated “Community” from a separate page to a thumbnail in the Exhibit. Removed “Methods” and “Curation” and added a thumbnail to the new Research Page. 
  • Added a Conditions of Use page and added to home page.
  • Edited subtitle from “Digital Cultural Archive” to “A Digital Community Archive” to better reflect the participatory nature of the project.
  • Research Page has two thumbnails that link to the Accession Log and the Preface for the dissertation chapters.
  • Created pages and uploaded content for all autoethnographic chapters and the revised literature review (Reciprocal Gifts).
  • Retitled panel on home to “About the Archive.”

Reflection: 

This session involved a deep restructuring of the exhibit site’s organization. The two narrated screencasts below detail the changes and the rationale for making these adjustments.

Site Tour and Discussion of Exhibit Before the Major Restructuring:  https://youtu.be/AS8OPcn08yY

Site Tour and Discussion of Exhibit After the Major Restructuring: https://youtu.be/30CtcU3IDB8

Overall, I feel the site is now a better reflection of my overall arguments about the development of an archive. By combining the previous Methods and Curation sections, what I understood as the building of the archival materials as separate from designing the users’ experience of those materials in an exhibit, I am now articulating the idea that the processes of archival work extend from the beginning conceptualizations through to the delivery of materials to users are all part of what we can understand as curation, as mediation between the artifact and the user. The exhibit, or any interface between users and objects, is as much a part of the archive as the appraisal criteria the archivist applies. By no longer divorcing the exhibit from the archive, although a useful distinction to make in terms of users understanding that the exhibit is a mediated space that can differ from the archival contents as a whole, I feel the presentation is a better match to my practices. 

The digital design decisions are captured, here in these curation notes, using a similar autoethnographic method to the other chapters discussing archival development. It is a better alignment with my practices to include the exhibit decisions within the same framework as the preceding narratives outlining my decisions in other areas of the archive. Although further changes are likely to occur as the site continue to develop, this streamlining feels like it is moving the site in the right direction. 

Follow-Up on Curation Notes 3 Next Steps:

  • Confront the need to purchase the site upgrade.
    • I discovered that WordPress has recently upgraded its editing platform to a “block” style editor, called Gutenberg. It contains more options for design and layout than the classic editor, which means that I can create columns to organize images into a grid layout without upgrading to the Business level of WordPress. I played around with the new tools a bit and can easily create the layouts of the images that I want, but there are PlugIns that I will need to use to get an optimal site design. In particular, I want to be able to tag images. This function is not automatically allowed in WordPress, although I can tag posts in the free version, I am adding images to pages, which prohibits me from tagging them. I think I will work on loading all the images and then work on the update. 
  • Finalize the design of the overall layout.
    • This seems to be adequately completed for now. I still have some questions about whether I need the Home page or if the Exhibit could serve as the landing page with some welcome text above the gallery. 

Next Steps: 

  • Develop About the Archive content of home page.
  • Purchase the upgrade to prepare for image tagging.
  • Edit and select photos from archive for the exhibit. Add descriptions to metadata for images.

Considerations:

  • Financial constraints on design decisions
  • Accomplishing and reaccomplishing; recursive design
  • Design as argument and reflection of stances on archival theory
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