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Public Digital Projects for Courses

This guide will help students and faculty create public digital projects, as part of a class, as a research project, or as a way of presenting their research or community-engaged scholarship.

Choosing a Platform

What kind of material do you have to present and what kind of story do you want to tell?

A Collection of Digitized Objects or Digital Media 

If you are presenting images, artifacts, or media documents that can be described with a consistent metadata, consider Omeka. An online exhibit that is mostly a presentation of digital objects or media is easily created in Omeka. The basic packages do not allow for flashy presentations; most Omeka exhibits are list-based. If your exhibit includes Indigenous materials, consider Mukurtu. If graphic presentation is most important, or if the images are more important than the metadata about them, consider Wordpress, or one of the commercial website builders

If your images are art, or maps, or other images from ARTstor or Luna, and your audience is at Brown, consider building your exhibit within those platforms. (For tips on finding images, including the many collections available through the library, see this LibGuide.)

Geographic Information

There are tools with many levels of complexity for presenting geographic information. Google Maps and Google Earth are easily available and are excellent tools for sharing information that can be pinned to a map. StoryMaps provides an easy way to add narratives to geography; it is both easy to start with and can present complex geographic information. Full-fledged GIS systems like ArcGIS require significant training. Lynn Carlson, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Manager at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, manages Brown’s ArcGIS software licensing.



If your goal is to tell a story - if you want people to follow an argument, not explore a database of images or media - consider Scalar, or StoryMaps, Wordpress, or one of the commercial website builders

Oral Histories and other Audio/Visual Materials

Most of the platforms that allow the presentation of digital files can present audio and video files, or link to audio and video on platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube. Some have specific requirements as to  size, file type, and ability to import. Omeka has several plug-ins for oral history recordings and transcripts, and tools for oral history metadata. You might also consider making a podcast


If your project has a bibliography at its core, consider Zotero. Zotero can be included in other platforms so that it’s possible to include non-bibliographic material connected to a Zotero bibliography, or to include a Zotero bibliography as a supplement to other sites. Zotpress connects Zotero to Wordpress. Omeka Classic also has a Zotero importer. It is also possible to include Zotero entries in Scalar using locally written javascript code.