Upcoming Omeka Update: A post from student, Ben Ostermeier

For about 4 years now, the Wide, Wide World Digital Edition has used the Omeka web publishing platform. We have not, however, kept up with the updates to the Omeka software, as more recent versions configure the themes and database differently. The newer version has grown increasingly tempting, as it both allows for more flexibility in creating exhibits and has a built in responsive design, meaning the website will be viewable on smaller-resolution phones and tablets. Thankfully, my growing expertise in web development has given me the confidence to attempt the update. Already, I’ve made a few minor tweaks to the websites theme this past spring, but now we’re heading for larger update to the latest version of Omeka. Thus far, I have made a newer theme compatible with the latest version of Omeka that is also responsive. Under the guidance of Dr. DeSpain and the fellow members of the project, I’ve based the theme on a prototype design for the website along with the current version. Check out the comparison below:

This is an old prototype of the website theme


This is the current theme


This is a prototype theme for the new version of the website

I’m not yet done with the theme. It is likely I will replace the blue-green book cover with a red one to tie it to the color scheme. I will also possibly add a subtle texture to the background. Still, look forward to that update sometime soon.

IRIS is atwitter

You can now follow IRIS on twitter @SIUeIris. We also have an SIUE IRIS Facebook Page

IRIS Is Registered With Centernet!

Centernet is an international network of digital humanities centers, created in 2007. With our affiliation, IRIS is able to tap into the cooperative and collaborative energies shared amongst the other centers found around the world.

Endangered Languages for the Masses

"The Pear Story" in Nar (estimated no. of speakers: 400) Inupiaq is an Eskimo-Aleut language cluster spoken by under 2,000 people in Alaska.  Like many other endangered languages, now only elderly Inupiaq are fluent speakers.  Rosetta Stone to the rescue!  Wait…Rosetta Stone to the rescue? According to this article in the Anchorage Daily News, the famous (or infamous) “teach yourself a language” software company, friend of both backpackers and business travelers, plans, with the assistance of the few Inupiaq speakers, to unveil a new program that will simultaneously archive audio-visual information on the language and format it for language instruction purposes. And it’s not just Inupiaq; Rosetta Stone has already developed software for other Native American languages like Mohawk and Navajo and threatened languages elsewhere like Irish Gaelic.  But as promising as this may sound for an endangered language’s future, it raises serious questions.  First, should language activities turn their efforts and energies towards preservation within the context of corporate pedagogical software?  Can we trust that a company Rosetta Stone will in fact want to or be able to capture the essence of a language in its entirety, including its place within larger socio-cultural history and contexts?  Also, when threatened communities turn their attention to a company like Rosetta Stone, what does this say about the efforts and effectiveness of traditional language documentation efforts, for example those sponsored by and affiliated with the Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Programme in the United Kingdom, the “Documenting Endangered Languages” initiatives of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Science Foundation, or the Living Tongues Institute?

Archiving … You

    Fractal, by artist Suvro Datta  

Fractal, by artist Suvro Datta

If  you think it’s only old books and manuscripts that can be digitally preserved, and be topics of debate within the dimension of archiving and digital immortality, then you should read this article that appeared recently in the Sunday New York Times.  This interesting article covers questions such as: What happens to your digital identity when you die?  Do you remain online forever?  If so, who has control over your digital after-life?  What are the ‘best practices’ in social media, or do these arenas even qualify for discussions of this nature?

New York Times Article about Digital Scholarship

The New York Times recently published this article about the latest work in the digital humanities and social sciences.