Omeka Exhibit

Due: Friday, March 10
Objectives: Data Collection & Visualization
Grade: 20% of final

This project requires you to design a data collection plan, visualize the data you collect, and then create an exhibit that displays your work in a historical context while also organizing it with a content management system (CMS). It has many steps. Take care to keep track of them and stay on schedule.

It will help to know that the data collection and visualization will use an already existing project as its template. Two artists, Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec, collaborated on a project called Dear Data that will serve as a model for what you do. (See postcards here.) In short, they collected data about their own lives and habits, then turned that data into weekly visualization designs. Their collaboration lasted an entire year; your data collection will last just one week.

You will begin by assessing different methods for displaying information, both online with interactive media and in static infographics. Next we will consider data collection techniques, looking at Dear Data as well as other more commercial examples such as the FitBit. These first two steps should enable you to decide what kind of data to collect and how you might begin to represent it in a visual display. The final draft of your visualization will be hand-rendered on an index card. As you come to some solution for the visualization, you will also need to think about how your solution relates to other, historical examples.

The final exhibit will include digital scans of your postcard along with a public domain image of an historical infographic. We will use an open source CMS designed for collecting, curating, and exhibiting cultural heritage items called Omeka. The CDSC has an instance installed already and a contribution form set up for this project specifically. You will upload your files using that form, which includes a number of metadata fields from the Dublin Core metadata elements. (See below for directions.)

The Dublin Core elements provide metadata terms for cataloging digital collections with simple but robust documentation. The final stage of the Omeka work will be to design an exhibit page featuring your digital files along with an artist statement (200 words). The artist statement should introduce your visualization and contextualize it with regards to the historical example.

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