Monday, 6 April 2015

Writing for the Public

In addition to taking Digital Humanities this semester, I am also taking Uses of History with Professor Gordon. This class is somewhat similar to Digital Humanities as it looks at how history is applied outside the basic form of academic history with the writing of books and essays. The fundamentals of public history have helped a lot in determining the perspective and voice of my online exhibit. As an online exhibit, it is accessible to everyone and the language should reflect that.

This should not be misunderstood, the Freure family exhibit I am constructing will still be of the highest academic quality I am capable of but I would also like it to be as accessible as possible. For example, this site should be informative to those doing research on any number of topics such as Canadian immigration or farming to name a few but should also be useful to those with a passing interest in the history of Eramosa and Wellington County or those interested in immigration stories and genealogy. This is where structure of the exhibit pages comes into play. In order to be as effective as possible, pages will use short informative titles that nicely sum up the content of the page. As to the content of the pages themselves, I want fairly short blocks of text accompanied by images to give visual reference to the material. Very rarely do I want to resort to longer consecutive blocks of text to get the information across but sometimes that is just a necessary evil. I think these structural choices will help keep readers interested in the content and help them remember what content is found where on the site in general. Too many times, in my own experience have I found myself flipping through pages of online documents and sites, looking for a small snippet of information for long period of time. This I find kills online resources when it simply is more burdensome to use the digital resource than a physical one.

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