Publication Methodology: Why We Chose to Use a Blog

The post explains the methodology which led to our decision to publish our research and visualizations using a WordPress blog hosted on the Old Abbey Theatre blog site. Since our project was constrained by a short time frame and no budget, only economical and efficient publishing options were explored. We decided as a group early on to use a blog as our publishing platform because it is a robust and flexible publishing platform that will handle the various facets of our project. It is also the CMS platform our team is most familiar with. Our other main concerns were a free option that would support displays of 3D models in a visually appealing interface. The four options explored are described below.

 

Option 1: WordPress Hosting
We first looked at a blog hosted at the WordPress website.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Flexible and customizable publishing structure for text, images and video
  • Visually appealing interface
  • Allows multiple authors
  • Allows public and private posts

Cons:

  • Does not support plugins (including the essential SketchFab plugin to support 3D model displays)
  • Less secure option than hosting at TCD
  • Limited customization

Conclusion: While the WordPress blogging platform is suitable for our project, we excluded this option based on its inability to show our 3D models within the project blog. This is because no custom plugins can be downloaded to a blog hosted at WordPress.com.

 

Option 2: Blog Hosting at TCD
The second option explored Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) blog service available via ISServices.

Pros:

  • Full use of WordPress platform
  • Supports display of 3D models (through plugins)
  • Allows customizable plugins and widgets
  • More secure than hosting at WordPress website

Cons:

  • Sustainability highly questionable. The blog will likely be deleted by TCD unless actively maintained by a TCD staff member.
  • Must be formally requested by a TCD staff member (rather than a student) and approved by TCD ISServices.

Conclusion: We excluded this option because the longevity of the blog could not be guaranteed. This violates the accessibility principles established by the London Charter. We were also concerned this option would take longer to setup than other available options.

 

Option 3: Omeka

Pros:

  • Free and open source
  • Platform developed by and for academic exhibitions and publications
  • Flexible, customizable, and visually appealing  themes and user interfaces

Cons:

  • Does not support displaying 3D models
  • Would likely will take longer to set up than a blog since it is an unfamiliar CMS and a steeper learning curve than WordPress blogs

Conclusion: The Omeka platform would likely be a suitable publishing alternative to a WordPress blog platform. However, since the Omeka platform does not allow any options support 3D models we had to exclude it as a viable option for our project.

 

Option 4: Hosting a WordPress blog at OldAbbeyTheatre.net

Pros:

  • Supports fully customizable WordPress blog platform
  • Supports 3D modelling within the blog structure using SketchFab plugin
  • Ability to piggyback off professional Dreamhost hosting through a subdomain at the Old Abbey, 1904 project website
  • Physically links Craig’s Screens project with the Old Abbey, 194 project

Con/(Pro?):

  • Sustainability dependent on hosting and funding for the Old Abbey, 1904 project

Conclusion: Based on the ability to host a fully functional and customizable WordPress blog that would allow displays of 3D models using the SketchFab plugin with no additional costs, this was the option we chose for our project. The sustainability of the blog can be reasonably assured since the Old Abbey, 1904 project is also an implementation of the London Charter,

 

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