Online Exhibit Formats

This past week I finished another exhibit for the library where I work (I promise I will not let this become an exhibits-only blog; they’re just something I’m passionate about). As I started creating the corresponding online exhibit, I realized that I wanted a sleeker, more polished look. All of our library web pages use an OpenCMS template that we pretty much have to stick to. Thus, I’d been inserting images and captions into a new template web page and separating them with lines, e.g. – my exhibit on Garden Poetry. The problem is, no matter how long I spend trying to spiff up the CMS with spacing and lines and whatnot, it still looks clunky and somewhat unprofessional.

Therefore, I wanted something that looked more stylish and something that did not make the user have to scroll endlessly. Many libraries and archives use Omeka for their digital exhibits; while I’ve used it before and find it very user-friendly, I wanted something that I could plug into the OpenCMS template, as we like to keep people within our library website.

So, I ended up turning to SlideShare, an application that lets you plug in a presentation. Since my exhibits do not involve any interactive components, I really only needed navigation buttons, which SlideShare provides. Thus, I was able to design my exhibit in PowerPoint, upload it to SlideShare, and plug it into a library webpage. I’ve received lots of positive feedback from my colleagues, who are also often frustrated with the limits of OpenCMS. I’m not sure if this will be a permanent solution or not, but for now I think it looks much nicer and the functionality is adequate. Here’s a link to the library page with the exhibit (if you want to see the context/how it fits into the CMS): Tales from the Cage.

And here’s the exhibit itself:

I’ll have to do a little more research to get a more comprehensive view of what various libraries and archives are using for digital exhibits and collections, particularly when hosting them on their own sites.

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