How to create a Website and which Questions you have to answer first
1. Initial situation and target group
Our target group are (digital) humanities scholars who want to present small, non-funded projects on their own website but have little or no experience with web design and development. Always the same questions have to be asked at the beginning of a website project to find out how complex or easy it is to implement the project. These circumstances are excellent conditions to offer a “how to”-flowchart with different applications as decision support. The poster is therefore designed as a decision flowchart and gives an overview of the possibilities and limitations of certain applications. All applications are differentiated according to whether static, dynamic or semi-dynamic websites can be built with them. Depending on which content should be presented and how, even beginners with little or no previous knowledge can create a website or get a feeling for when the support of a web developer is necessary. The questions that are answered in the flowchart concern...
- … the complexity of the site (see 2.1. for details).
- … the reason why the website is build, e.g. to publish a digital edition or to present research.
- … the format of the texts to be published: Do they have a uniform format? Can they be read dynamically?
- … the level of knowledge / technical affinity of the person creating the website, but also the capacity in terms of time and/or manpower and/or budget, i.e. for example whether it is possible to employ a student assistant or even a professional web developer.
- … the scalability: is it possible to estimate how the project will develop, e.g. with regard to complexity? To what extent can the website be expanded and where are the limits, e.g. how far can you get with the individual technology stacks?
- … hosting (see 2.2. for details).
- … sustainability.
Of all the relevant questions, two are presented here as examples. Nevertheless, the flowchart is made available on github so that as many scholars as possible can benefit from it .
- What kind of data should be published?
If it is data that can be copied and pasted onto the website, a static website can be created with the website generator jekyll , omeka or the content management system wordpress . This can look like this, for example: http://www.germanliteratureglobal.com/
If it is data, that requires several tabs and contains recurring queries, it is a dynamic website. This type of website is also required if data is to be made available for downloading (a database is required for larger amounts of data). This can look like this, for example: http://www.berliner-intellektuelle.eu/
If your data is available in TEI format, the TEIpublisher or the EVT are good choices for publication. If you are moving in the dynamic area, the effort can quickly become very high and extensive knowledge of website development is necessary. In this case you should contact a web designer.
2.2 How can the website be published (Hosting)?
If you have chosen jekyll, hosting is very easy via github or githubpages . There are no additional costs. If you have access to a webserver, you can always use it. Often universities offer such server systems for its employees or even students.
In the course of this project, we were confronted with various issues that all revolve around sustainability in the broadest sense:
What if the formats presented here are obsolete? This risk exists for any technology application. This project is meant to be a pragmatic guide. We cannot solve the problem, but we use tools that are freely available and extendable.
If a website should be sustainable, i. e. available in the long term, where should it be hosted to guarantee long-term accessibility? Again, there is no guarantee how long the services presented here are available. As far as the sustainability of humanities websites, i. e. cultural knowledge in any form is concerned, we see it as universities, libraries and archives duty to provide and maintain the corresponding infrastructure.
- Baillot, A. (Ed.). (n.d.). Briefe und Texte aus dem intellektuellen Berlin um 1800. Retrieved April 27, 2018, from http://www.berliner-intellektuelle.eu/
- Edition Visualization Technology. (2013). Retrieved April, 27, 2018, from http://evt.labcd.unipi.it/
- GitHub. (2018). Retrieved April 27, 2018, from https://github.com/
- GitHubPages. (2018). Retrieved April 27, 2018, from https://pages.github.com/
- Jekyll. (2018). Retrieved April 27, 2018, from https://jekyllrb.com/
- Omeka (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2018, from https://omeka.org/
- Richter, S. (Ed.). (2017). Retrieved April 27, 2018, from http://www.germanliteratureglobal.com/
- TEIpublisher. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2018, from https://teipublisher.com/index.html
- Wordpress (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2018, from https://wordpress.org/