Throughout this phase in the creation of the “Territorio no Incorporado” prototype, I have experienced a series of successes and challenges. In essence, I have come to appreciate the many approaches to devising a cohesive plan for developing narrative interpretation and user workflows.
Course readings and sample websites have provided me with interpretive lenses to further understand the relationships between elements that make of narrative interpretation, an integral part of public history site-building. The exercises of revising my personas, storyboarding, and paper trailing, are helping me start articulating a content strategy. And while I have successfully started building my Omeka platform and created a mock exhibit, I have however, struggled drafting interpretive content for digital segments. I have a pretty clear vision of the type of materials that would serve the needs of my users, and like Spichiger and Jacobson (2005), I strive to build a prototype that is rich and complex, “a site that doesn’t seek to speak with a single voice, but rather preserves the distinct voices of each of our collaborators.” (3) But my current sample size of primary sources cannot afford me a good measure of the level of complexity and richness I want my pages to contain.
As I continue with my decision-making process, I wish I could possess a more diverse set of primary sources to further plan my user experience workflow. My goal is to create exhibit pages where they could interact with multiple source types (oral histories, events, people, fast facts, objects, and scholarly sources), but so far, I have only been able to generate interaction with only two source types. In some cases the exhibit page contains some photos with textual narration, or with scholarly sources.
What I could do at this point, for the sake of moving along at this stage of the exercise, is to use my source types in a hypothetical fashion, and to really focus more on performing the personas I designed in ways that will open me to all the possibilities of creating exhibit pages that engage users in historical thinking. I also want to continue striking the right balance between providing guidance to users, without mediating their meaning-making processes.
Performing my personas will position myself in users’ shoes and mimic the personal and dialogic experience I want for them to have with the content I create. Tammy Gordon (2010) speaks about this aspect of facilitating a collective dialogue, one where, “community exhibits appeal to visitors in ways that are different from academic or corporate exhibits; visitors see them as more personal, less scripted, and therefore more intimate.” (36) If this site were to take flight, I foresee cultivating relationships with Latinx organizations in the Upstate, a region of which I have been part. Identifying key storytellers whom I could reach out for primary contributions would facilitate the generation of the digital record and the needed nodes to create the “Territorio no Incorporado” relational network.
Gordon, Tammy. “Community Exhibition: History, Identity, and Dialogue.” In Private History in Public: Exhibition and the Settings of Everyday Life, 33-57. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2010.
Spichiger, Lynne and Juliet Jacobson. “Telling an Old Story in a New Way: Raid on Deerfield, The Many Stories of 1704.” In Museums and the Web 2005: Proceedings, edited by J. Trant and D. Bearman. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Published March 31, 2005.