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A presentation describing some of JWA's ground-breaking projects involving user-generated and user-moderated content, highlighting efforts to gather a more complete record of Jewish American history, to interpret it, and to share it.

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  • Last summer, while at the Genesis program at Brandeis University, Jon found a priceless treasure. A student in Lisa Colton's “Technology and Innovation" course, Jon uploaded an image of his grandmother, Lillian Gewirtzman, to JWA's "Jewish Mothers" exhibit on Flickr.
  • In her email thanking JWA staff for the presentation to her class, Lisa described what happened next …
  • Using Flickr, JWA is able to gather and share content quickly around a theme. The “Jewish Mothers” page was set up for Mother’s Day 2009. It currently has 238 items generated by a single mention in our e-letter and on our blog. 79 flickr members have “joined” the group.
  • Very recently JWA set up a “Women of the Wall” page when it became clear that the history of several decades of women’s efforts to pray at the wall was in danger of being lost.
  • JWA understood early on how critical user generated content is when trying to chronicle hidden or neglected history.
  • While JWA selected the participants in this exhibit, they generated the content -- choosing artifacts from their drawers that they each believed critical to telling the story of “Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution.”
  • The exhibition includes images, audio, video, and text. All of these materials are also available in “plain” HTML to ensure that they are indexed by search engines, and can be viewed on mobile devices, or by people using text-only, or audio browsers (some of the disabled, for instance).
  • With Katrina's Jewish Voices, JWA introduced use of folksonomic tags -- a non-hierarchical, user-generated classification schema.
  • Gathered as the record of a marker event in the history of the American Jewish community that scholars will want to have access to in the future, “Katrina's Jewish Voices" is already being used by community activists and communal leaders such as Josh Lichtman.
  • The extraordinarily rich set of oral histories gathered for the project, still needs to be added to the on-line collection in a way that allows for cross media searches on topics, places, peoples and themes. Image credit: Joel Washing, via Flickr
  • Learning from both prior major projects came into play as JWA planned and implemented the online version of "Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia". The homepage is designed to engage the casual browser through "featured" entries. Each time you refresh the page you will see a different set of three. (Note that not all "featured" entries have accompanying images). Notice in the upper right you are invited to "share" the page on various social media sites.
  • "What's in the Encyclopedia" was designed as an alternate way of encouraging the casual browser to spend time exploring and discovering how much material is here ... how much there is to learn. Instead of providing a conventional index, we show what's here -- the bigger and bolder the term, the more articles there are. Clicking on any term causes a list of articles related to that category to appear.
  • The Table of Contents, organized alphabetically, also acknowledges alternative ways of organizing the contents -- chronologically, geographically, or thematically, while simultaneously giving the casual browser a bit of information before they even open the article.
  • JWA also wanted to use the online space to transform what in print is a static and finished product into a dynamic and more open product. We've given readers the opportunity to update, discuss or comment on articles. To date there have been almost 300 updates and comments.
  • It is not enough to put old wine in new bottles. It is not enough to leave the future to experts. JWA continues to tap the collective energy of Web users to gather a more complete record, to interpret it, and to share it. Image Credit: Rabbi Sharon Brous, of IKAR, LA, posted to Flickr by Krista Tippett for her radio show, “Speaking of faith”.
  • JWA-RP

    1. 1. Re:membering and Re:searching the past
    2. 3. When Jon uploaded his picture he searched Flickr for his grandmother’s name and came up with this photo of his grandmother in a DP camp.  He’d never seen this image before, though his grandmother is quite vocal and public about her experiences in the Holocaust. He wrote to the person who had uploaded that pic, and within a few minutes she had written back, and asked him to add his photo to other groups about heroines, etc.  As he told the story (all this discovery and connection within 10 minutes, literally), we ALL got goosebumps and really felt the power and potential of this tool, and the value of broad platforms like Flickr, rather than proprietary of very focused platforms only.  I could not have planned the lesson better if I had tried.
    3. 6. “ In recent years … the rise of social media has given Web users the technological wherewithal to play a more active role in shaping the direction of museum collections.” -- NY Times , Jan 20, 2010
    4. 7. Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution --Launched 2005
    5. 10. Katrina’s Jewish Voices Launched August 2006
    6. 11. Dear Carol, I met recently with Tamara Kreinin and she told me a bit about how involved you are with the Jewish Women's Archive and especially with the Katrina's Jewish Voices project. So I wanted to write you to let you know how appreciative I am of the JWA's resources. The website has come in handy many times, even allowing me to learn about locals like Molliew Wanick and Miriam Waltzer. I also just received the poster series which I plan to use to decorate the AVODAH house. In any case, I thought that if you have availability in the coming month (or perhaps after Mardi Gras is best), I would enjoy getting to meet with you. I would like to ask your advice with regards to AVODAH's presence in New Orleans. Best wishes, Joshua -- Joshua Lichtman Program Director, New Orleans AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps 7733 Maple St., New Orleans, LA 70118 504-861-1068