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Project Lens: New Roots/Nuevas Raíces

We will answer the questions from the digital project review activity by looking at New Roots/Nuevas Raíces: Voices from Carolina del Norte: https://newroots.lib.unc.edu/.
(Please note that oral histories play automatically when you click through to an item page.)

  • What is the goal of the site?
    • The site is the online collection for a research initiative of the Latino Migration Project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in cooperation with the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-CH. The site’s goal is to convey the ongoing contributions of Latin Americans in the Southeastern United States, both historically and in the present day. The explanatory text on the homepage clues us in, and clicking on the “More Information” tab leads to an About page that tells us more about the project.
  • What is the content (assets, digital stuff, etc.)?
    • The primary content of the site is the collection of oral histories, which are supported by transcriptions and standardized metadata. These are found in the Browse Items and Browse tabs. Customized maps let users browse oral histories by interviewees’ country of origin or their current county of residence in North Carolina. The Resources section points to lesson plans for K–12 teachers.
  • What is the format/structure behind the site? Can you tell?
    • This site runs on the Omeka content management system, with a customized theme and extensive use of the Simple Pages plugin.
    • How can you tell? Omeka is designed for presenting collections online and each digital source is called an “item.” You will learn more about it in this module, and you will notice that each Omeka website contains a similar structure for browsing items, collections, exhibits, and individual webpages. The biggest clue that this is an Omeka-based site is the “Browse Items” tab.
  • Who is the site’s audience and is it addressing those people?
    • It appears that the site’s audiences are primarily migration studies scholars and the Latino communities interviewed, with an additional audience of middle and high school teachers and students. The content provides migration studies scholars with a body of primary sources that can be analyzed independently or in bulk using the site’s active API. The site creators have ensured that the interviewees and their communities can access the site by making everything, not just transcriptions, available in Spanish and English. Further, the Themes dictionary (under Resources) not only helps define terms for fellow scholars but also helps clarify meanings for users unfamiliar with this topic.
  • Does the site make effective use of new media/digital methods? Could this project’s goals and use of assets be done in a different way?
    • Taking advantage of digital media’s ability to cross reference, the site creators have provided multiple pathways to the content, through thematic, geographic, and chronological options. There is a strong emphasis on browsing the interface, with three different browse options in the main navigation (Browse Items, Browse, and Map). Themes are called out on each item page, encouraging further discovery of similar items.

Think about your own research. Are there choices made by the site creators that would work for an interface for your data or research findings?

Updated on July 24, 2018

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