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Tags and the Public History Commons


February 21, 2015 by nbrown24

For the preservation tag, I looked at five separate articles: Documenting Gentrification: A video rough cut; Reading the Artifact: A stove from a transitional moment; NPS LGBT Initiative: An opportunity for public historians; Blacktop history: The case for preserving parking lots; and New tools, old tactics deployed to save a Historic Atlanta Building. Four of the posts were focused on what I would call a more traditional definition of preservation by being concentrated on preserving the history of the built environment (coincidentally, three posts were all written by the same author and took place within the Atlanta metro area). One of the posts seemed to be more in line with a museum definition of preservation as it focused on reading an artifact, which in this case was a Victorian-style stove from the early part of the 20th century. Overall I thought that the tag produced interesting articles on a subject that I am familiar with, and with the exception of the posts on the stove artifact, which was one of the older articles I looked at, they seemed to fall in line with a definition of preservation that is widely used. The tags that are used in concert with the preservation tag varied, but I believe that is an advantage for the website and would not recommend that other tags be eliminated and just the preservation tag used.

The posts considered for the advocacy tag are: What is the “History Relevance Campaign”; Project Showcase: Ironbound Environmental Justice History and Resource Center; What is “sustainable public history”; A women’s history museum without women’s historians; and Project Showcase: At Home in Holland. Unlike the preservation tag, the advocacy tag seems to promote more variation in the type of articles that one can find, with a good portion of the articles related to human rights or environmental subjects. In fact, three of the articles I looked at in the preservation tag could also be found under the advocacy tag. In this case they don’t seem to be playing the same role, and even though one could make claim that preservation is a form of advocacy I think that both tags are warranted, as someone who was searching the advocacy tag from a human rights viewpoint may not be familiar with preservation and thus could be introduced to a new subject. This is another instance where the variation in the tags used seems to be advantageous for the authors as well as the website.

Generally, I would say that the tags are used successfully and would not recommend changing it, based on the posts that I read. In fact, there are some instances when the addition of more tags could be used to broaden the range in which the posts would appear. The Blacktop history post, for example, only has three tags assigned to it: parking lots, planning and preservation. Would the addition of a tag on community history, or advocacy, broaden the readership of the post? Isn’t that the end goal for a blog anyway, to allow for an article or idea to reach a wider audience? I would think so.


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