Design Features Common with most of the sites:
- Categorization of Artifacts
- Presentation of a meaningful and pretty page
- Pictures associated with many of the links / categories / essays
Accessing the site / artifacts (Navigation):
- No Login required (nice)
- click-to-go artifacts and links to digital history
- Non-intuitive design for re-finding items
- Very Intuitive design for perusing website
Interpretation on Each Site:
- Each site offered some level of interpretation
- Interpretation was, at minimum, based on meaning added by categorization
- Some sites offered much more interpretation than objects of digital history
Overall, the sites would require, I feel, a good deal of teaching and direction to utilize in a classroom setting. I think the sites, absent of knowledge how to use specialized Google searches, would require a lot of time to find meaningful articles to use in a classroom setting. I think it would be some interesting research to examine how to setup a Digital History Website to be more user friendly. Obviously most of the people visiting these sites will be browsing for information as opposed to looking for a specific item. How can a digital history site manage to attract the casual browser, but engage scholarly search as well?
For example, the Library of Congress site seems more geared to a scholarly viewer, but the Cultural Readings site was definitely geared towards the browser. These two types of visitors will have different approaches and different goals. One (the browser) can help you gain advertising dollars, while the other (scholarly) might help gain admission fees through institutional subscriptions. Which would be better for digital history?
As an added bonus, this post comes with my notes. I took my notes in a Google Doc. There is at least one 'funny' quote. At least, I laughed when I typed it.