Carl brought up some good points in his comment on my abstract post, and I’ll address them individually below: A couple of things you may want to highlight are what you think makes this project different from an online exhibit in the traditional sense, what happens if it is not different, and how you can collaborate with other institutions or users.
What makes it different will be the malleability of the objects in digital space. Users will be able to pick up and object, rotate it, zoom in or out, and compare it to similar objects.
Example: the Japanese chrysanthemum sword is a Western-style cavalry saber rather than a katana. However, the Japanese saber is sized for a much smaller swordsman. The size difference is key but would not be visible on a traditional site. By linking to United States cavalry sabers, the user will see the difference in length and width of the blade and understand that key difference. Also, the detail work on the hilt of the sword is of chrysanthemums, highly significant flowers in Japanese culture, but the flowers are not obvious unless the viewer is extremely close to the hilt. The zoom and rotation features allow the user to get close in to the hilt and to follow the engravings around the hilt.
What happens if it’s not different – then I’ve still created an online exhibit where users can click through images of our collection, including items that we are not able to display in a physical exhibit.
How can I collaborate with other institutions or users – this one requires a bit more thought. This project was conceived as an internal page of the NGEF website. One way to collaborate is to share my methodology with other institutions. I don’t know if it would be possible to make the basic structure of the database open source, but I will absolutely try to make as much of the plumbing open source as possible.
I don’t believe issues of copyright will apply to my particular project as far as the artifacts go, but there is the question of the methodology and any interpretation provided. I don’t really understand where the line is, and I think that’s the point of this week’s readings – that no one knows where the line is.