I decided to base my archive on Loyola News, the previous name of the Loyola Phoenix student newspaper. My motivation for this choice stemmed from the fact that I wanted to work on a student publication. Our team’s grant proposal project is based on the Mundelein student newspaper ‘The Skyscraper.’ A student newspaper becomes a space where students can debate, learn about the larger world, and develop critical thinking. I believe that the Loyola Phoenix offers insights into the thoughts and concerns of the current cohort of Loyola students. Universities are transitional places; students study here, form intense bonds with friends and spaces, and ultimately will leave this place. Student newspapers are capsules in time that capture the topics that interest the student body, and they are the one of the spaces where students can express themselves freely. This is why I created my Digital Archive on this topic, the Loyola Student Publication Archive which can be accessed here.
When I began working on my archive on Omeka, it wasn’t an easy journey. The Omeka account overwrote my blog content, which I had worked on. Once that issue was resolved, I became certain of my topic and narrowed down the issues to be included in the archive. I chose the ‘center row‘ theme because it felt minimal, had a clean design, and presented my content in an aesthetically pleasing way. The theme has a simple black and white design with red text for navigation menu options. I appreciated the search option placed in the top left corner of the screen, making it easier to use the search functionality. I also liked the option to navigate across pages on the website with the option below, which shows the next webpage in the navigation sequence.
Once I had the design in place, I wanted three main pages: one titled ‘Home Page,’ another featuring an interpretative essay about the archive, titled ‘About the Archive,’ and finally a page displaying the six issues under the title ‘Browse The Archive.’ I encountered difficulties when I tried to add items to the archive. While I eventually got the thumbnails to appear, I couldn’t arrange them in chronological order.
In terms of modules, I incorporated two. The first is the ‘Metadata Browse’ module, which hyperlinks various parts of metadata together and highlights them for easier searching. The module, ‘Extract Text,’ was meant to be useful but ended up causing confusion. It extracted text from the PDFs but didn’t allow me to check or edit it, rendering it unusable for the archive. I, then added the thumbnails and added the six issues to the site. I, then wanted to exhibit the PDF files more authentically instead of just the thumbnails, that’s when I found the second module ‘PDF Embed’ which adds the PDF as a media item to the page, and also creates a viewer so that the PDF can be viewed clearly. This I felt did justice to the material and helped me present it clearly, though it does cause the reader to scroll. I am glad I was able to do my best for the archive, though I downloaded way too plugins and modules (I went into a rabbit hole figuring things out), this was a fun experience.
I hope you will have fun reading the issues, as much I did selecting them!