The spring 2022 semester saw the birth of the first ADH Refresh, Restore, Rescue project of which I had the honor of contributing to. We started with a list of scrambled websites to work from. We had no idea which websites worked, had minor infractions, or deteriorated fully over time. And so we started the process of organizing the websites with a color coding system, a 1-5 grading system, and then finally returning to the color coding once again. Looking back at our contracts and earlier iterations of our organizational process, I think the group bit off more than we could chew (or get access to).
It’s clear that we expected to immediately be able to get into the nitty gritty of every website that was on the list, but alas this was not the case. It is for this reason that the organization within the ADH Sites excel sheet simplified, because for a period of time, which websites we would work on depended solely on which websites were available, rather than the difficulty of the fix. This makes the schedule in the contract a bit redundant, especially because we didn’t regularly refer to it after we made the contract. Additionally, issues of accessibility within certain websites would have been difficult to change because of how little customization options are available on Omeka, and changing or updating the themes to become more modern would have negatively impacted the integrity of the website(s). Nevertheless, we finished what we started and given how difficult and time consuming it was to make even small changes, it would have overworked the group if the expectation were that every broken website we received were to be fixed.
In addition to restoring the websites, I believe that both Lyndsey and I did a good job documenting the changes we made. In future iterations of the class/project, students will with no doubt be able to understand the problems we ran into, how to fix common issues, and hopefully spend less time trying to finagle Omeka, the unruly beast that she is. The group also added websites to the hub that were not broken and instead needed to be archived in a single location on the Internet. I am particularly thrilled because using the hub as a location to save digital history projects, rather than just a place to record our work, was a decision I felt strongly about early on in the semester.
Unfortunately, I will admit that for personal reasons I did not put enough work into the project. Had it been a different semester, I could have done more work, but that being said, the work that I did is work I am proud of. As any preservation student will feel, it is the documentation and guarantee that the process can be replicated throughout different projects that is the most important aspect of restoration. Our group did a stellar job at not only preserving what we could, but recording everything that we could find. It is incredible what a group of 4 people can learn and achieve over the span of a single semester. I hope that future students find value in the work we’ve done and continue this project, surpassing us in every way while using the stepping stones we laid over the past 16 weeks.