Preservation Digitalized: Florida Memory

On the Omeka website, the exhibition Florida Memory was showcased and described as one of the largest public Omeka collections.  The primary audience appears to be students and teachers who wish to learn more about Florida through historical and educational resources provided in the exhibition. It appears that the exhibition is managed by the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services, so it is probably updated frequently and well-managed.

Upon clicking on the exhibition, it appears almost like tourism website for a small town.  There are categories of photographs, video, audio, collections, exhibits, and classroom.  These categories are displayed across the top of the website but also as large thumbnails taking up the majority of the center of the website on the homepage.  The thumbnails are useful, however, in that the photos provide a glimpse into what that section of the exhibition might entail.  Although it seemed redundant at first to have the categories displayed at both the top and center of the page, once I actually clicked on the photograph thumbnail, it was useful to be able to go to other parts of the website from the categories displayed at the top of the site.  Since the subject of the archive is as broad as the history of Florida and students may be looking for specific information, the navigation bar at the top was helpful.

The sheer amount of information was slightly overwhelming – even within the photograph collections, everything from pets to NASA was covered.  Somebody hoping to explore different aspects of Florida would benefit from the various ways in which the information can be found: through the search bar, the photographic collections, entire exhibits, and a catalog of terms.  This allows the viewer to search for something specific or browse if they do not have an exact subject in mind.  There is even a tab to help identify photographs which helps the viewers feel engaged as they can contribute to the site.  Similarly, there is hundreds of videos about “The Sunshine State” divided up ranging from tourism videos to civil rights videos. These can also be browsed or searched using the search bar.

Screenshot of Alligators in Florida Section, Photograph by Astha Berry
Screenshot of “Alligators in Florida” Section, Florida Memory. Photograph by Astha Berry, 2015

This interactive online experience allows the reader to immerse themselves further into Florida’s history than simply viewing images as through possibly a wikipedia site or an in-person exhibition.  The amount of information available in such an online format is great, and a multi-media approach can be used to look into certain topics more in depth.  Overall, this was a very comprehensive online exhibition by Omeka.

Screenshot of the Navigation of Photographs, Florida Memory. Photograph by Astha Berry, 2015.
Screenshot of the Navigation of Photographs, Florida Memory. Photograph by Astha Berry, 2015.

Florida Memory Exhibition: https://www.floridamemory.com/

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