Earlier this month I submitted my website proposal to the National Park Service (NPS) regional web coordinators. Because I want to host the site through the NPS domain, my website must be reviewed and vetted by the National Web Editorial Board. NPS has several types of websites; I have proposed to create a subject site that is about a particular topic: the archaeological site and the collection of worked bone materials from Florida. The regional coordinators I spoke with were very helpful and gave me some good suggestions and potential alternatives for the website if the editorial board wants me to go in a different direction than an entire subject site. The coordinators have submitted my proposal and my mock-up of the website and material to the editorial board and hopefully I will have an answer within a few weeks. I am really hoping to have an independent subject site, but if that doesn’t work out the project will still happen – it will just be nested under another subject site or other type of NPS website.
While I’ve been waiting for the decision about the nature of the website, I’ve been working on content. After talking with a staff member at the park I am making some revisions and additions to the draft of the text. I am working on getting the text closer to its final form. Removing the archaeological jargon has been straightforward for the most part, but I am finding it difficult to name the bone tool types in a way that isn’t overly-technical. For example, I have socketed bone points, bone bi-points, and then unidentified bone points. This gets a little confusing, especially because some of these points were used as spear or dart points while others were used as composite fish hooks or gorges. Essentially, the morphological type names don’t necessarily relate to the function of the tool, and the function of the tool is not limited to one particular morphological type. I think I can work through some of the ambiguity by re-configuring my organization a bit.
When I first came up with the timeline for my project I wanted to put most of the objects online at once. After talking with several people and having a better appreciation for the scope of what I’m trying to accomplish, I am going to open sections of the virtual museum in stages. As it stands now, the first stage, the launch stage, will include all the text about the site, collections, methodology used to study the site and collections, information about visiting the park, and links to other pertinent websites. The museum exhibits, so to speak, will include all the available media (photographs, RTI videos, 3D material) for multiple objects in each major artifact type. In the second stage, all the available media for several less common artifact types will be posted, including an antler handle, stingray spine points, an asymmetrical bone point, etc. I anticipate this second stage will go live around the end of the calendar year, if not sooner. The third stage will include additional artifacts and media for the types of artifacts released in the launch stage (socketed points, bipoints, sawfish teeth points, etc. ). By releasing content in stages it will allow me to get the site up and running with the most important artifacts and multiple types of media for each of these artifacts. Then, I can fill in the museum with additional pieces that are exciting but less essential than the first batch of items. I’m looking forward to the month ahead.