Monday, June 17, 2013

New blog. New purpose

The Stories Past blog has languished over the last few years. This has largely been because I’ve been working part-time outside of the company as a research assistant at the University of Tennessee, serving as the PI on the new web catalog for the National Park Service. It has been a great project; we’ve redesigned the website and worked with parks to add content. The site currently boasts over 2 million objects and site traffic has increased tenfold.

National Park Service Web Catalog

Stories Past has continued to work with different clients, including the Mount Vernon Midden site. In contrast to the NPS site this project has just 700 objects, each very well described, with accompanying images, and presented in a rich thematic context. The site also integrates two documentary databases relating the archaeology objects to the documentary record.

Mount Vernon midden site
Personally I have undertaken a new venture as well. I’m part way through a Master’s of Information Science program at the University of Tennessee. It has exposed me to a much wider range of materials,  and allowed me to read and research topics outside of immediate project needs.

I’m currently researching and exploring issues of online collections encompassing archival, museum and archaeological materials. I started my career as a teacher and my interest is in how these now digital assets can serve the many “public” audiences. My private aim for this blog is that will serve as my “deadline” – a weekly post on the issues with which I’ve been wrestling. Hopefully it can serve a wider purpose as well, discussing issues and providing examples of some great sites and links to resources.

The next blog will be considering scale. Are we best served by aggregated collections of millions of objects from multiple institutions? Or is a better model well-described (and exposed) collections presented within the rich thematic context?

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