My tool analysis of Viewshare is long overdue, but with good reason. I was waiting until the last moment to, hopefully, use it with my project on Grayson Stadium. The deadline for this project is approaching and viewshare is still having its problems.
What is viewshare?
Viewshare is an application from the Library of Congress that allows the user to create dynamic charts, maps, and image galleries in digital collections. With Omeka, that we all used for our first project, Viewshare can be used for creating a narrative of online exhibitions based on a collection of objects.
By creating a view, you can import data through simple spreadsheets like Excel, XMLMODS, or JSON. You would label everything as you would a recipe card, i.e. Artist: Homer, Winslow – Date:1909 – Image : .jpg – Museum: Metropolitan Museum of Art – Tags: Civil War or African American Reconstruction. As you continue to add views, you can create maps (plot locations), pie charts, scatters, timelines, and galleries.
When you peruse the “getting started” area of the website there is a list of latest collections. There are few that are true standouts. Fantastic Fest Films showcases all of what Viewshare can do, but the database itself is weak. The Fulton Street Trade Cards is touted on the internet as one of the best examples, but, in my opinion, there has been better work completed by some of our graduate students than this one illustrated.
My main interest in this application was the ability to use large volumes of data files. With baseball statistics from 1886 to present, this program would have allowed me to import massive amounts of comparative data to the Grayson project. Alas, even as of May 3, 2015, the link to “latest data files” is still a dead link.
The positives, in theory, is that with extremely large blocks of data – art galleries, census reports, etc. – the audience can streamline the data they are researching with great ease and a wide variety of specifics.
The negatives are immensely great. In working with Omeka, you will have to update both Omeka and Viewshare. Your Viewshare will not automatically update from Omeka’s Atom Feeds. In other words, when Omeka updates your data it will not be usable. You will have to pull your entry and update from Viewshare and replace it – if its available.
As for permission to download the application, the Library of Congress would like to know why you want to use the program. I honestly stated that it was for a presentation for a Digital History class. I have yet to receive permission, but as I have been told by customer service in each email…..they are working on the problem.
In conclusion, I am disappointed. This would have been a great application for my project if it were accessible. In my opinion, I would only use this program in the future if I had an enormous amount of data to exhibit (such as 100+ years of baseball statistics) and was planning on daily/weekly maintenance of the site. I would also recommend only using Excel due to its stability in the marketplace, assuming Viewshare would cater to this type of simple spreadsheet.