WordPress for Japanese Prints

This past spring, WIC staff members had the opportunity to work with Julie Nelson Davis‘s Art History 515: Utamaro and His Contemporaries seminar class. Students were first tasked with researching and cataloging a new collection of Japanese prints donated by Dr. Cecilia Segawa Seigle to the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts in Van Pelt Library. Thereafter, students worked together to build a collaborative WordPress site that would serve as an online catalog for the selected prints.

This image shows Julie's class interacting with the prints.

Julie developed this course with two main objectives in mind: the first was to provide students with a hands-on experience of the original materials, the second was to enable them to strengthen their web-design skills. She writes,

“This course was designed to bring together object-based learning with digital innovations.”

In this way, students interacted with and interpreted real objects, and the website showcases and preserves their research. WordPress, the platform of choice, makes it easy for multiple users to collaborate on a single site together. Each student set up a profile to create posts for individual prints for the catalog. Students were then able to upload images and add their text and links to related works.

Image of one of the posts on the website.
Post for Chōbunsai Eishi, “Beauties on a Pleasure Boat on the Sumida River,” ca. 1792-93

Together, the class also decided on an overall theme, which controls the look and feel of the site. WIC provided an initial overview of WordPress and met with students as they refined the project. In developing the online catalog, students were able to connect with their audience and directly shape how their research is experienced. Julie states,

“It gave them a sense that their research is real and that it really mattered.”

Check out her class’s fantastic website here. She also discussed her class’s experience during our spring Lightning Round held on April 26th and hopes to expand upon the project with future classes.

WIC staff have provided training and support to a number of courses throughout the years, and we look forward to collaborating with new classes in the upcoming semesters. If you have an idea for a project for your class, be sure to check out our Request Custom Training page. You are also always welcome to shoot us an email if you have questions.

If you are interested in learning more about WordPress, we provide workshops on the basics regularly. Our next WordPress Basics class will take place on Wednesday, July 13th from 11 to 12:30 p.m.  We can also provide a one-on-one consultation if you have more specific questions.

Congrats to Tanya Johnson!

Congratulations to WIC’s graduate intern and Excel tutor extraordinaire, Tanya Johnson, for winning the American Library Association’s 2016 LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award!  Tanya’s paper, “Let’s Get Virtual: An Examination of Best Practices to Provide Public Access to Digital Versions of Three-Dimensional Objects,” will be published in the peer-reviewed journal, Information Technology and Libraries.  In the meantime, Tanya is off celebrating in Florida, where she will receive the award at the ALA Annual Conference on Sunday.

Read the ALA’s newsletter announcing the award, and keep an eye out for her paper in an upcoming issue of Information Technology and Libraries!

 

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What’s so great about Snapchat?

alexThis guest post by Alex Burns C’16 describes the mobile messaging application Snapchat. Alex is a recent graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Jenna Wortham’s recent New York Times Magazine article on Snapchat raised some very interesting points about the nature of social media usage today. The fundamental appeal of Snapchat is its “re-humanization” of social media interactions. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, where users upload polished photos and constantly interact with companies & brands, Snapchat utilizes low-resolution, real-time photos & short videos, making for a less manufactured, more authentic social interaction.

Snapchat messages, referred to as Snaps, are appealing to me because they are so much more raw than other forms of social media. While various filters can be utilized, these messages must be taken in real time and are only visible to most users temporarily. In an age where digital footprints seemingly follow you everywhere, it is refreshing to send messages that might be visible to your most of your friends for a matter of seconds.  As a result of the short-lived nature of snaps, there is much less pressure to look attractive or cool. People are less afraid to be themselves in photos that will soon be forgotten. The fact that these photos must be taken in real time make snaps more honest than other forms of social media.  You can’t spend time photo-shopping or uploading photos taken by other people at past dates. Snaps represent what you are doing at that very moment in time. Like life experiences, Snaps are mostly temporary. In Jenna’s words:

Snapchat isn’t the place where you go to be pretty. It’s the place where you go to be yourself.”

Not only is Snapchat refreshingly authentic, it has also changing the way we communicate. When emoji were introduced in 2011, they forever changed the austere nature of text messages by allowing users to supplement texts with graphics relaying various emotions. Emoji helped humanize text messages. While emoji have been widely embraced, there is a limit to what can be expressed through them. As Jenna writes, “though the catalog of emoji has expanded in response to user demand, it still struggles to keep up with the multiplicity of human experiences.” Snapchat has helped fill this void by allowing users to send more personalized graphics in real time. In a way, Snapchat allows users to create their own emoji. Whether it is drawing a picture, or conveying emotion through a personal photo, Snapchat has shifted the format of an instant message from a message based in text, to a message made up primarily of a graphic image which can be supplemented with text. This greater ability to customize messages is transforming communication and making it even more enjoyable.

Andrea Hornick’s Journeys – Digital Media Meets Fine Art with WIC iPads

Andrea Hornick – an artist, shaman, and Fine Arts Lecturer in Penn’s School of Design – recently used WIC’s iPads in the Classroom Program to create an immersive art gallery experience.

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Continue reading Andrea Hornick’s Journeys – Digital Media Meets Fine Art with WIC iPads

Summer Lightning

June workshops
June Calendar

This Memorial Day weekend has brought sunny hot days that end in evening thunderstorms. The flashes of lightning outside remind me to share the playlist of 16 videos from our April Lightning Round. The short clips are perfect for a tweet-out. Thanks to Chris Vandegrift for amazing video work!

Two June workshops build on Lightning Round energy. Ben Wiggins joins our intern Chava Spivak-Birndorf, creator of WIC and Dogs Timelines, for a TimelineJS workshop on June 8 and Ian Petrie presents a Scalar workshop on June 15. June has more fun topics as well, including how to get Google to notice your website.

Changes in Lynda.com Licensing

lyndaSimpleWhether you’re brushing up an existing skill, learning a new one, or exploring what’s up and coming, Lynda.com is a good starting point and a useful tool for professional development. They offer hundreds of brief courses designed for all learning levels. Content is often presented in 3 to 5 minute segments. Playlists make it easy to manage and customize your experience, and learn at the pace and schedule best suited to your needs. Bookmarks allow easy reference to favorite course sections and the service adds new videos weekly.

The Good News: Through a new, expanded agreement with Lynda.com, Penn full-time and part-time faculty and staff can now view instructional videos on a wide range of software products, technologies, and business topics. The service is conveniently available 24/7, via your desktop computer or mobile device. Just go to http://lynda.upenn.edu and login with your PennKey and password.

The Bad News: As of June 1, 2016, Penn Libraries are no longer able to make Lynda.com licenses available to Penn Students because of a change in Lynda.com’s terms of service. We are very sorry to be discontinuing this popular service, and we apologize for the inconvenience.

If you are a student whose school/department does not pay for you to have access to Lynda, you can explore Lynda.com through a free 10-day trial or inexpensive personal membership options at http://www.lynda.com

Please feel free to send your comments and suggestions to us at wic1@pobox.upenn.edu

Managing Social Media at the Commons


michelle joMichelle Bookyung Jo is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying communication. In this post, she shares her experiences working at Weigle Information Commons as a Social Media Manager and discusses our strategies for actively engaging the Penn community.

I have always known that Weigle Information Commons has a lot going on, on top of the study booths and group study rooms students reserve throughout the semester. Working as a social media student worker at WIC for the past academic year, I not only learned more about what WIC is but also gained important hands-on experiences managing social media accounts to connect with WIC’s audience.

WIC has various online channels through which it reaches the Penn community. It has its own Twitter and Instagram account and also contributes to the Penn Libraries social media channels: @upennlib on Twitter, InstagramFacebook; pennlibraries on Youtube; and University of Pennsylvania Libraries on Flickr. Focusing on Twitter and Instagram, I got to see who WIC connects with and what WIC is for the Penn community.

My most basic job responsibility was scheduling tweets for WIC’s weekly workshops, but I explored more ways to leverage social media channels and use Twitter as a way to promote WIC as a resource for everyone. Some weeks I focused on updating the audience about various types of digital support WIC offers including digital device rentals. Some other weeks, I focused on major upcoming events in WIC such as the Engaging Students through Technology Symposium and Diversi-Tea sessions. More importantly, trying to see WIC’s social media presence from an undergraduate student’s perspective, I tried to make the social media channels as current as possible, posting pictures of workshops and any ongoing events at WIC.

The most challenging part of my job was to make sure that our content reaches not just Penn faculty but Penn students as well. We understand that following many subsidiary accounts within the University may not be as appealing as following the main “uofpenn” account, but I still wanted to make sure that there will be content for students should they find us interesting and look for more. Such an effort was mostly made on WIC’s Instagram account, and it has been a channel where I post more up-to-date content about WIC.

As an undergraduate student worker, I realized that there is a lot going on at WIC. I would like to invite fellow undergraduate students to know that any digital or technology-related support is available at WIC and encourage everyone to check our blog and social media channels from time to time.