One of the things we were given a heads up about recently was the fact that the Georgetown Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation site would be running Georgetown’s Domain of One’s Own server. Earlier this week they gave us a heads up there may be some interest and, as a result, traffic spikes over the coming days. Tim threw up the W3 Total Cache plugin, and things have held pretty solid thus far (knock on wood). It was wild to see the conversation around this topic emerge in my Twitter stream yesterday, and I was really impressed with Tressie McMillam Cottom’s post about why this important move by Georgetown should not be labelled reparations. It was clear this announcement was generating important discussion around questions of history, race, and what it means to make amends as not only an institution, but more generally as a culture.
One of the things I was thinking about when going through the site—admittedly this is a formalistic observation based on my fascination with what’s possible with a domain and web hosting rather than a comment on the question of reparations (although I think Tressie makes the latter point brilliantly)—was how this announcement was framed as a web-based experience. The main WordPress site, the historical timeline using Timeline.js, the extensive use of video to highlight the conversations had, the Slavery Archive in Omeka, the embedded report, the contact form using Google forms, etc. The whole environment provides a powerful example of what you can create using a bunch of open source and/or free tools through a domain and web hosting account to architect a robust media environment around a topic. Fact is, domains and web hosting are still quite important to build a web of knowledge and understanding how to create a compelling argument using various media including a domain and a few select publishing tools is not dead yet.