Over the last few years I have been toying around with many different digital tools. This was mainly because I had built a website using “googlepages”, which was certainly user friendly but had to be manipulated by HTML to get the results that I was looking for, FYI I had lots of help with this project. Since my group is the digital images group, we have been brainstorming with them to come up with the most user friendly way on the front end and the most efficient way on the back end to build a site of some sort for the alumni. Its a daunting task to say the least but I do believe that many of these digital tools will prove to be truly helpful.
Tools that we talked about this past Tuesday such as NextGen and the Google Analytics will help to organize our images and track the number of people visiting the site. A counter widget would be great for upcoming events and launches with the alums, and, on my personal website, I had linked my calendar to the site itself so that it updated the site every-time I added an event to the calendar.
I just wanted to throw this out there, I am not sure if this was truly the purpose of delicious or not but I have all of my news links bookmarked on there so that I can quickly and easily access the top stories of the day nationally and internationally. I also know that there is a wordpress widget that links delicious to your blog. That would be an interesting tool to use if you bookmark certain things pertaining to the blog or blogging subjects. I also like to use RSS feeds to link to other relevant websites as well as keeping all of the sites that I need to access in one place.
It is interesting that you ask the question “What could a blog be used for other than personal reflection?” because my group and I have been talking about potentially using the wordpress blog as an actual site where alums can view and comment on images. It is a rough outline of an idea but certainly a feasible option.
I have to admit that I was quite apprehensive after the Omeka demonstration but after review the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank site (http://hurricanearchive.org/) I may be a believer. This type of program would be ideal for our project because it collects and catalogs images (among other things) and allows interactivity with the viewer which would help us gain information about our images. I do have some concerns with the program though. It is unfortunate that Omeka does not run on the Microsoft or Mac operating systems because we all really need access to the site from home to update and maintain it. I am afraid that the information provided by the alums may languish or back up because we are unable to vet and update the information that they provide. Another concern about the back end of Omeka is how user friendly it is for the builder, is this a drag and drop program or do we need to program in computer language? These are all questions that I intend to ask Patrick after our group meets Thursday evening.
As for the websites, I liked the first one, it was aesthetically pleasing, and I really like how organized it was. The second one I felt was one, visually jarring and two, the homepage seemed all over the place, really not my style, I would like something a little sleeker. The last website is actually the one that pertains to my group project. I hate to say it but it just needs an update and a more efficient way to search it. It takes 5 pages just to get to an image it should be a little easier.
I hope that my “creative” ideas were helpful though I am not too sure that they were very innovative, but I welcome the challenge to continue to learn new digital technology.