A comment by Jerri Wieringa struck me immediately when listening to the interview with her and Celeste Sharpe talking about their course Historical Thinking and Writing in the Digital Age. Jerri remarked that the scope of the course was an important decision for them because it is a difficult balancing act. You want to provide enough information to help students think and learn, but you also don’t want to overwhelm them to the point of saturation. This is something that I have been struggling with my current project. There is so much information about handmade paper and papermaking, but I have to remind myself that I have a limited amount of time and I don’t want to overwhelm visitors to the site and discourage learning. As a result, I have focused on the timeline and exhibits. The timeline (created using Timeline JS from Knights Lab) allows me to highlight keys points in the history of paper. I then added explanatory text and images and descriptive captions. I’m hoping that the interactive and visual qualities of the timeline will engage students in learning about papermaking history. However, going back to the issue of scope I have had to limit what I include in the timeline to prevent it from being seemingly endless. To address this issue, I have included representative examples. For instance, I cited work by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg as examples of handmade paper being incorporated into fine art in the 1970s. I also focused on the Women’s Studio Workshop as one of the key books arts and papermaking centers to emerge with the revitalization of handmade paper.
I also viewed Jennifer Coggins video about her project dealing with archives at UNC-Chapel Hill. Since she is focused on a specific archive holding, her project was naturally more focuses with modules and activities. However, I would like to incorporate her approach in some way even though my project began on a much broader level. Hopefully, by focusing on the contrast between Eastern and Western papermaking I can provide my focus to the learning. I plan to do this through the Exhibits plugin in Omeka. I have broken down the topic into key geographic areas (Japan, China, Europe, etc). From here, I am providing explanatory text and selected items from the collections of images and videos. I may be worthwhile to include selected readings as well to contribute to the learning goals. Her module approach has inspire another idea to create a page (using the Simple Pages plugin) to highlight the how-to videos and readings. I have marked these items in the metadata as “how-to” so they are searchable as hyperlinks and on the Subject Lists page. I used the Library of Congress plugin to suggest terms for the Dublin Core subjects. However, I think students would benefit from having these how-to guides highlighted on a separate page.