An Education in WordPress and Widgets

Everyone threw a wide variety of tools at us over the past week or so, and now it’s up to us to decide the best way to utilize all of this technology in the best interest of our group projects. I had experimented with some of the tools before, but others were completely new. My group definitely ran with the idea of using Google Docs for collaboration, choosing to use it during class on Tuesday to collectively jot down our initial impressions throughout the rapid fire introduction of the technology. Now when we next meet as a group we can move beyond first impressions into what we think would be most valuable for our photos project. We’ve got a Google Calendar up and running as well, helping us keep track of meetings and potential alumni events. Obviously one of the tools that stuck out the most to our group was the NexGen slideshow feature that we could easily incorporate into UMW Blogs. After all, a blog need not be a constantly updated journal of sorts, but with the right content and layout can serve as a means of presenting our final project. What we haven’t discovered yet but hope to find is a possible widget/plugin that would allow alumni viewing the photos online to click and instantly contribute their knowledge about the pictures. Unfortunately, as far as I know, Google Analytics doesn’t track specific visitors to a site so we wouldn’t be able to find alumni that way, but I think we’ll all be intrigued to see how people navigate to the collection.

But just as everyone was excited about creating a slideshow using UMW Blogs and NexGen, Omeka got thrown into the mix. Omeka I think would be the more complicated option on our end, but the final result very well might be better. Omeka’s ability to present epic numbers of images is exactly what we’re going to need even after we manage to scale down the number of photos we’re dealing with. According to the Omeka Wikipedia entry, the Missouri School of Journalism uses Omeka to store their collection of 38,000 photos. If they can manage to organize and present that many pictures with Omeka, we shouldn’t complain too much about our couple of hundred 🙂

Whatever we decide to go ahead with, one thing is pretty obvious: the current UMW photo archive could use a bit of improvement. After poking through it for a while I understood the frustration caused by the different labels and categories for the pictures pretty well. We’ll need to figure out a standard labeling system, and then I think a tool that allows people to easily search for photos by putting in keywords would be ideal. And maybe we could incorporate an RSS feed of a current UMW news page, contrasting old pictures with contemporary goings-on on campus. Or we could include a delicious page with links to school news/alumni event related sites. People might be interested in seeing what a 21st century Devil-Goat Day looks like after seeing pictures of one from decades ago. Anyway, I’m sure there are many, many, more uses for these tools out there. Here’s to hoping we find the ones we need to help us create a good final product!

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3 Responses to “An Education in WordPress and Widgets”

  1. clevine says:

    I agree Mary Ann, we really need to come up with a labeling process because it it took 5 pages of clicking on subject just to get to a picture. I also agree that though Omeka seems daunting, the final product is very attractive -Caryn

  2. adegraffenreid31708 says:

    Can I say…love the picture at the top of your blog. 🙂

    I really like this idea several people have mentioned about Google Calendar, that is definitely a great group time management tool.

    I’m also interested in learning more about the back end of Omeka, and it’s potential as a front. Like you, we have all these images we could potentially use, but I’m curious about its complexity before I commit to it.

    Yeah – google analytics doesn’t track individuals, but groups as a whole. But it does, if I remember correctly, track the ages of people which come to the site, which would give you an estimate of how many are alumni

    Have a good night,

  3. jwiggint says:

    The more I think about it, the more I feel as though we should use Omeka. Also, take a look at Chang’s website, lots of cool potential useful tools. See ya on Thursday