Apples to Apples

Select two websites from the Omeka showcase and write a comparative review.

Comparing two digital exhibits without the benefit if objective standards is a challenge! It’s like comparing two pieces of music. For example, for a comparison of a song from a high school chorus with a piece from the Hartford Chorale to be “apples to apples,” we must consider each piece by itself – the background and experience of the singers, the significance of the song to the group, the intended audience, etc. Comparing physical exhibits at the Granby Historical Society and at the Connecticut Historical Society would require consideration of similar factors..

From this perspective, the New York Art Resources Consortium is the Hartford Chorale and the Connecticut Historical Society. nyarc is made up of the research libraries of three of New York City’s leading art museums. So our expectations of their digital exhibit, “Documenting the Gilded Age: New York City Exhibitions at the Turn of the 20th Century,” should be high. With that in mind, the nyarc exhibit is surprisingly simple. The Introduction provides a clear explanation of the purpose of the project. “The Featured Item,” “Featured Exhibit” and “Recently Added Items” sections invites viewers to start with the areas the creator wants us to focus on. The topical ribbon heading provides clear alternative ways of digging into the material. Each Item is presented in a clear and uniform manner. Having said this, I would have expected more from nyarc. Though I’m not yet aware of all that Omeka has to offer, it seems nyarc chose a very basic format and approach to their exhibit presentation – like we might expect from the Harford Chorale at a Tuesday afternoon rehearsal. .

By comparison, About Deseronto is the high school chorus. (To say that it’s also the Granby Historical Society wouldn’t be fair to the GHS.) This exhibit is simple with a small “s”. But our expectations for this site should be in perspective. This is a “What do you know about our town?” exhibit. While there is some coordination of the material, greatly benefited by using Omeka, this exhibit is a work in progress, from the ground up. They have taken advantage of what Omeka has to offer and used it for their limited purposes. They don’t aspire to be something they are not.

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