Making Information into Content

This past week I focused on putting together the skeleton of my website. The most difficult part was learning to use Omeka. The themes all assume I want my users to have a buffet experience on my home page. I want to direct them along certain navigational paths. So, I spent a great deal of time going over themes.  I ultimately ended up keeping the “Thanks, Roy” theme, figuring out through trial and error how to make the pages behave the way I want.

I had originally intended the navigation tabs to be along the top, but I’ve decided that the left hand side is fine. Currently my homepage is the default. The major downside to this configuration is that the page has an empty right-hand side where featured items and exhibits are supposed to go. I don’t like those images to be on the side- I’m thinking of Maggie who is used to a museum experience and Sarah who has particular information she needs to find and doesn’t want to have to rely on featured items.  I will most likely end up creating a Homepage from the Simple Pages plugin, as I have noticed that the Simple Pages fill out the entire screen, which I like.

I also added two more churches- Hebron’s Catholic and Episcopal. I started trying to incorporate interpretation into the item level entries. I’m still playing around with the best way to incorporate historical interpretation. I think once I get the image maps up and working, it’ll be easier for me to figure out.

Now that the bones are up, it’s time to add some muscle. Over the past two months I’ve collected a lot of information about Baptism. I have a virtual pile of material waiting to be turned into something useful.  This week I’m going to get all ten image maps up and running. This is the main element of my website and I’d like to have them all hammered out as soon as possible. The biggest challenge will be incorporating object that are not visible in the image maps. One possible solution is just to have a second view either under or next to the first image map, with some object repeating. I don’t want to just have a gallery of the missing objects, because I feel very strongly that their spatial relationship to one another is an important part of the rituals I’m trying to describe.

The other major task I want to complete by this time next week is collecting a sample of liturgies for each building. I already have modern baptismal liturgies, but finding older liturgies is proving much more difficult. Although Luther published a German liturgy, finding an English translation has thus far been fruitless. There are many digitized version of the first Book of Common Prayer, but the antiquated English is difficult to read. I would like to show images of original documents where possible, but I doubt there are any extant for Dura Europos. This small project will likely take me much longer than creating the ten image maps.

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