Given the rhythm of an academic calendar, having a full-time project manager was critical to adapt work plans to the website committee members and skills set, and who had deep WordPress experience and technical breadth to manage the moving parts.
The priorities of content presentation and the scholarly implications and the priority of basic, technical functionality were at odds. Having new members brought fresh perspectives helped see the work left to be done more clearly.
While this could be seen as inefficient, conducting an exhibit by exhibit, page by page audit was absolutely necessary to ensure the scholarship was intact. Through this, we developed an audit system and an Omeka-to-WordPress workflow.
In order to tend to our Principles of providing space for Black women and making sure the histories aren’t buried in graphic design, our Spring 2019 work on the exhibits was slow. But, as PhD candidate Kelli Coles wrote in our semester report, we decided it was worth the extra time to “give their lived lives the oxygen and space(s) they may have struggled for.”
In order to move forward, we needed to segment out the work so we could engage deeply with our challenges. With our interim plan, we faced a new challenge to maintain our document URLs. We could have simply accepted that Items would have new URLs and write a script to redirect them. However, we considered the scholarly implications, both immediately and long-term, of changing URLs for people who cited the documents, used them in syllabi, and referenced in their research, including ourselves. In the position we found ourselves (in between platforms, and working on a temporary solution), we also considered the administrative implications of what we could undertake and manage.
With direct access to our servers, a team of mixed but solid technical knowledge, and working with an IT company familiar with the platforms, we could test out theories and push our technical capacities as we tried to maintain the undergird of our scholarly framework.