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RIT Museum Studies

preparing museum professionals for the 21st century

We are in the throes of an installation…

This week, students in Cultural Informatics transition from research, selection, writing, and prepping of items for their exhibits to installation!

This exhibit, cultivated from the RIT Archive Collections and the RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Continue reading “We are in the throes of an installation…”

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And so it begins. . . again

Posts from Fall 2018 Cultural Informatics class begin this week. This year, we are using Omeka as our primary hosting platform (rather than Drupal) and will bring the onsite exhibit into the digital space with that platform and two others. Be on the lookout for posts in the coming weeks. The exhibit opens in October!

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Welcome to the Museum Studies Digital Workspace at RIT

This site is one of the digital workspaces for museum studies students to disseminate their work. This site began in the Fall 2015, specifically as a means of dissemination for work created by students enrolled in the Cultural Informatics class. From September-December 2015, the site was used by Prof. Juilee Decker and the students enrolled in the Cultural Informatics course Prof. Decker developed and teaches. Continue reading “Welcome to the Museum Studies Digital Workspace at RIT”

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Adventure into Cyberspace

We made the jump to digital!  We worked in Omeka this week and in my personal opinion, I couldn’t be happier. As much as I appreciate and enjoy working with physical objects on a day to day basis, having everything digital makes things a lot neater. Having to ability to port one item to multiple is such a blessing that having physical representations just can’t compare. Working with Omeka was new to me, but even with all it’s fancy bells and whistles, learning the layout was pretty straightforward. Creating collections, adding items, and having to ability to add tags made navigating all the info being uploaded so much neater. It was the digital equivalent to wrapping all the research info you need in one sweet little folder.

The Trek to Tech

I tend to avoid work involving technology. I dislike the idea of something that isn’t tangible; I like things to be real, and in front of me. Why manipulate a machine to manipulate an object when I could just manually manipulate it in real life? Omeka is still sort of mysterious to me but I’m figuring it out. I’m not too good with coding or anything like that, and the repetitive addition of each item to the Omeka site is tedious. I wish there was an auto fill option for everything, especially when you have like, more than five items you have to upload. I’m sure being a little more receptive to technology would help in this aspect but I’m not too inclined to figure it out, because I feel like that would take more time to learn than just uploading the objects one by one. I definitely preferred working with the objects in the real exhibition, it was easy to move them around and immediately see how they would look, instead of having to adjust, save, and render everything with no promise that it’ll look okay by the end of everything. I’ll leave the digital work to the digital humanities majors, give me an empty exhibition display instead.

From the case to the web

Transitioning from the physical space of the library to the digital space of Omeka was relatively uneventful. Since we had the label copy already set with all of our metadata confirmed, the process of dropping it into the format for Omeka was very straightforward. It would’ve been interesting to be able to use the CSV import tool in order to get a perspective on how larger sets of data entry would be done, but it would’ve also added to the frustrations for individuals who were having trouble getting images to appear (since it would’ve obscured the process of linking the image to the object in a way).

Since all we needed to do when interacting with Omeka was set up our collection, the process was well established and easy to use. I made a small attempt at creating an exhibit page to host the materials from my collection, however, I found it difficult to write up additional text blocks for the different exhibit pages and sections. I’m not sure if this is an indicator that I should in the future do more research in order to have more things to speak on. Or if the worry that I had concerning an individual looking through the exhibit and reading a section before clicking on an object and finding the same content or very similar content there would make the less interested in the exhibit overall (which could indicate that I put to much information into some of my item’s descriptions, which instead should be pulled into the exhibit level information).

Move to Digital

The process of moving a physical exhibit to a digital one seems daunting. Although the content is similar, if not the same, the way the information is presented will be extremely different. Visually, your exhibit needs to engage visitors in a completely different way. Creating this digital exhibit was overwhelming, but not as difficult as I thought it would be. I was feeling very apprehensive about starting this part of the project, but I’ve actually really enjoyed the process. The Omeka site has been easy to use, although it does lag sometimes, which terrifies me. I don’t have a lot of experience in digital exhibitions but I’m proving to be a quick learner. I’m excited to finalize my exhibit.

The Move to Digital

The move to digital has been fairly easy because we had all of our information prepared beforehand. Omeka is a very easy platform to use, and the tutorial we got from Rebekah Walker was very straightforward. Having our metadata prepared before we completed the physical aspect of this project was very useful; it made transferring the content to Omeka really easy. Being able to upload our content into a digital exhibit is great because our hard work will be accessible for a broader audience. Participating in the planning and execution of these two types of exhibitions has been a great experience so far. I am excited to see how our digital exhibits turn out.

The Move to the Digital

The move to the digital space has been a fairly simple one. I’ve had previous experience with Omeka populating other digital spaces for a previous class, so my understanding of it has helped a lot during this process. I like the idea of moving to a more digital space because it allows access for a large audience to see and learn from our exhibitions. Not everyone will be able to get on to campus to view it, so using a digital platforms is a wonderful idea so those who cannot can still get to experience in a way our exhibitions. However, I preferred the setting up of the physical space, getting real hands on experience with exhibiting was nice, and a very smooth learning process. The exhibits all turned out quite nice, and being able to see and personally being able to touch a little bit of RIT history was a fantastic experience. I’m excited to see what the digital exhibition’s finish product will look like, and learn how people see and use it in the future.

The Move to Digital

The move to the digital exhibition has been a fairly smooth transition that was only hampered down a little bit by the setting up point in the process. I feel like that is the case with most transitions and efforts toward moving from one aspect of a project to another. The move to the digital has been a fairly easy one as the site were using, Omeka, is very easy to use once you get rolling. The pre-setup we had on the meta data also aided in making the move very simple and easy to access for all of us. The digital exhibition, the culmination of all of our work in this digital space is a really neat space to have, its accessible to everyone and has a professional feel to it and it allows people to visit the space in a sense without having to do it physically and more comfortably in some instances.

The Move to Digital

As one era ends, a new one begins.  And while the end of creating the physical exhibit has passed, it has marked the beginning of the next part, perhaps the most applicable to my major: the creation of the digital exhibit.

So far, my ease into the digital space has been relatively painless, disregarding a few hiccups.  Omeka is something that has been referenced by DHSS peers many times, but I haven’t had the opportunity to use until now.  Upon using it, I see why my peers like it so much and want to use it for their capstone projects. Omeka is a fairly painless program to use, and is so open and customizable.  The input so far has been easy to understand, and the other aspects of it seem simple enough as well. And while I have not used many functions of Omeka yet, I have seen what it is capable of and I am eager to try these other things out and make my exhibit my own!

I also look forward to creating the timeline, though I dread it at the same time.  I think of timeline-based information to be some of the most interesting to read and learn about and am excited to apply that to my exhibit.  However, many of my items do not have a date, and are hard to even guess a date for as they could be from any time within their context, such as the Nathaniel Rochester Society invitation, which could be from any time after 1967.  Generally speaking I do look forward to what’s ahead though!

Moving to Digital Space

The transition from a physical exhibition to a digital space has been fairly simple as Omeka has been an easy content generator and helpful source to use. Everything is clear and the data can be seamlessly populated. I enjoyed the physical exhibition because I liked being able to see and touch the physical objects but I realize the importance of having these objects digitized to share with multiple audiences. I think it is important to allow for objects and exhibitions to be on a digital space along with a physical exhibition in a complimentary way. In my personal experience, all of my objects for the Susan Bevier exhibition couldn’t fit into my case and without a digital upload many of the objects I chose to showcase would go unseen. Although generating the data can be tedious, I think it is a great opportunity for practice and to share information with a broader audience.

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