What do get when you cross an eyeball with a spider? A website: The Collaborative Web

The YMCA, YWCA, and YWHA/JCC on Wikipedia

The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and the Jewish Community Center (JCC, formerly the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, YMHA) are all recreational, social, and leadership organizations aimed at specific groups.

When looking at the Wikipedia pages for these three different organizations, it is easy to determine their popularity and where people’s interests lie by looking at the contents. The contents for the YMCA is comprised of 13 sections, each with 1 to 4 subsections including History, organizational model, logo, activities, Europe, North America, Central America, Africa, Asia, and Nobel Peace Prize laureates. The YWCA is less researched, with only 9 sections and a few subcategories, including Advocacy, Programs, World YWCA Councils, History, and YWCAs around the world. The JCC has the least information containing 8 sections with no subcategories: History, services, locations, incidents and security, and notable members. All three pages contain a list of references and external links and due to the sections, the articles are split into it is very easy to access any information you could want on the page. It is also worth mentioning that the YMCA and JCC provide photos.

Here are some observations on the “talk” section of Wikipedia (which until looking into this, I did not know existed):

  • YMCA  : The contents provided in the talk section has 42 topics people are addressing. Starting with a question about how much Christianity is tied to the YMCA (asked in 2004) where the answers basically say it varies. One section where people are in a lengthy conversation revolves around the heading “Gay Subculture.” The question posed was “From what I can gather, everyone in mainstream culture perceives YMCA as a front for gay activities. Why is there so little mention of this?” which sparked a series of answers about people’s perceived views on the YMCA and whether or not that idea comes from the song of the same name. Other people provide sources in case it wants to be included in the actual article. The conversations occurred from 2006-2011.
  • YWCA : There are only 5 sections in the talk section of the YWCA: Boys in the YWCA, Platform 51 change, Controversy section, Waldegrave vs Weldgrave, and World YWCA edits. It is not even close to being as extensive as the YMCA article. At one point, in 2011, the controversy section was questioned with a statement that said “This section needs sources to back up its claims; if they can’t be found, it should be removed” to which many people agreed due to both a lack of evidence and incorrect grammar.
  • JCC : There are only two sections in the talk section for the JCC which are, Wikimedia is not a promotional site and external links modified. The person posting in the first section stated that using the words “exceptional quality” is in violation of neutral point of view policies.





What’s the difference between a zippo and a hippo? One is heavy while the other is a little lighter: Introduction to Omeka: Creating Digital Collections and Exhibits

This week I’m looking at two difference showcased sites on Omeka, The Latina History Project and The Lomax Kentucky Recordings. I chose both of these sites because they are regionally based, The Latina History Project in Texas and The Lomax Kentucky Recordings in Kentucky, and I wanted to look at how these two projects handled a regional project.

The Latina History Project is done by Southwestern University in Texas. The goal of the project is to provide resources to the Latino/a and Chicano/a in central Texas. It started as a digitization of an exhibit called Rostros y Almas (Faces and Souls).

The Lomax Kentucky Recordings is done by the Association for Cultural Equity, Berea College, Library of Congress and The University of Kentucky. This project contains a documentary of sound recordings of rural Kentucky music and lore, pulled from the Library of Congress’ Archive of American Folk Songs from 1933-1942.  It presents a spectrum of traditional expressive culture.

Both projects aim to share the culture of the area that they are in however they go about it in different ways. The Latina History Project relies on oral histories of past and present members of the Southwestern community as well as activists and key figures in Chicano/a community. However, The Lomax Kentucky Recordings is made up of mostly music using the folk recordings that were in the Library of Congress.

In regard to the sites themselves, I am more partial to the set-up done by the Lomax Kentucky Recordings. It feels cleaner and easier to navigate. Each tab is clearly labeled: About, Listen to the Songs, Discover Artists, Explore the Counties, etc. Within each tab is then a list and search bar for whatever is supposed to be there: songs, artists, counties, etc. It is very easy to find what you are looking for.


The Latina History Project is just set up differently, and in a way that does not make as much sense to me personally. Much like the other site, it offers different tabs: About, Browse Items, Browse Collections, Browse Exhibits, etc. Then within each tab there is just an option to click on different projects. It feels more like exploring so if you were going in looking for something specific it would be harder to find, but it is a different type of project.

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The Lomax Kentucky Recordings site is so specific to what information it presents, which is why it has a different feel. The Latina History Project has many different exhibits it is presenting, covering different topics, so both sites are organized and easy to navigate, they are just presenting it in different ways.

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like? Plymouth Rock: Digital Collections, Copyright, and Intellectual Property

I have never given much thought to copyright and the laws that surround it. That’s not to say that I am unaware it exists, it just has never been something that I actively thought about. In doing some readings, I’ve learned that:

  1. The first copyright laws came from Connecticut in 1783
  2. Copyright automatically applies to almost anything people create, starting in 1976 with the creation of the Copyright Act.
  3. Starting in 1989, it is no longer necessary to place a copyright notice on your work.
  4. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) bans tampering with copyright protection and basically limits how we use digital products even after we purchase them.

However the main thing I learned is that copyright can get very complicated. It was compared to history at one point, making the case that it is subject to confliction interpretations. Copyright law faces contention between those who protect the rights of the owners of intellectual property versus those seeking to enlarge the public domain.

Which brings us to a question raised by Roy Rosenzweig: Should scholarship be free? In his article, “Should Historical Scholarship Be Free,” he mentions how scientific journals are able to make their peer-reviewed journals free to everyone but history has not been able to do that yet. Unless someone is a college student, they are limited in their access to historical materials; Rosenzweig writes “Professional historians routinely complain that their students and neighbors pick up “junk” on the Internet but they don’t adequately consider that the best online scholarship is often only available to paying subscribers.” He also provides six possible approaches that could help make this happen: Self-archiving, author charges, delayed access, partial access, electronic-only journals, and cooperation with libraries.

If you were to ask me, I don’t have a good answer for you yet. I mean, ideally, and in a perfect world, of course I want scholarship to be free. I think everybody has a right to an education and should have access to materials to research what they want. But we don’t live in a perfect world. There is so much that goes into writing and publishing scholarship that options must be weighed and there needs to be a plan. I haven’t been presented with a solution that makes me think that this is entirely possible with where we are at but I think that with problem solving and time, future generations will have more access to scholarly works than we do currently.