Module 5: Digital Exhibits, Copyright, and Open Access

Module 5 is intended to introduce you to the basics of copyright and open access, particularly but not only in the context of doing digital public history. The readings and discussion will introduce you to the basics of copyright and open access, as well as give you the chance to explore several digital exhibits created to explore historical phenomenon as well as (optionally) digital exhibits created by historians seeking to archive present moments of future historical value. The technical activities will help you learn the popular digital exhibit platform Omeka Classic, which previous students have often used to build websites for their final projects, e.g.”Unrestricted.”


1. read Aaron McCollough, “Copyright Basics” (2018), including the embedded video

2. watch Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen, “Open Access Explained!” June 2015.

3. read Brian Resnick and Julia Belluz, “The war to free science: How librarians, pirates, and funders are liberating the world’s academic research from paywalls,” Vox July 10, 2019.

4. read Alison Flood, “DisneyMustPay: authors form task force to fight for missing payments,” The Guardian April 28, 2021.

5. explore the Valley of the Shadow, the TheClio, and Histories of the National Mall (meant for phones but works on computers too)

6. OPTIONAL (AKA skip any of these that stress you out): explore the 9/11 Digital Archive, the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank (Hurricanes Katrina/Rita), A Journal of A Plague Year (COVID-19) and/or Pandemic Religion (COVID-19).

7. participate in the Slack discussion

Technical Activities

1. EITHER set up an Omeka Classic account on your Reclaim Hosting shared server space OR sign up for an account on Both processes are described in the Omeka Classic tutorial

NOTE: whatever URL you create an account for on cannot be reused, so choose a throwaway subdomain rather than something you might want to reuse someday.

2. get together with 2-4 of your classmates to complete the Omeka Classic tutorial; use your own digital images or Creative Commons images from Wikimedia Commons to create a small (6-12 items, 1 collection or exhibit) Omeka site then share it with the class via Slack for discussion.