How can I employ someone to create a tribute site for a vanished community when I'm not really sure what I want?
January 12, 2009 11:33 PM   Subscribe

The archivist of an exterminated Jewish community has asked me to make a tribute website (the modern equivalent of a Yizkor Book. I want to be evocative and moving and a useful reference for other people tracing their genealogy. The problem is that I have no idea how to create a modern website; or write the sort of material I want; or make it pretty. What sort of help should I look for, and where can I find it, and how much will it cost me?
posted by Joe in Australia to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yad Veshem can help you
posted by watercarrier at 2:16 AM on January 13, 2009

If you would like to ask me questions I would be happy to answer. I've been a website designer for ten years and I specialize in academic sites (i.e. lots of text, but needs to be completely accessible / usable and look nice to). I can't help you with what you want to go into the site, but I can with the basic technical stuff.
posted by Jenks74 at 4:17 AM on January 13, 2009

Also consider becoming the "client" of a web design course. Certain web design courses are looking for clients to provide a realistic experience in designing for a client. The usual exchange is placing design team credit on the finished web site and you get services for free on programming and design. As a point to start, start taking a look at website that are related to the point of interest and see what you like and dislike and then take a look at websites to look at aesthetics and other things that may attract you so you have something to start the discussion with the design team(s)

Mefi mail me if you are interested in a US based group. I am sure that there are other academics and designers from Australia who may offer the same thing.
posted by jadepearl at 5:54 AM on January 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

There are some examples of this type of memorial site on the USHMM Library list of links about Jewish communities. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but you can get an idea of what has been done before.

You can contact me if you're looking for information about the town, and I'll see what we have in the USHMM collection.
posted by arco at 6:59 AM on January 13, 2009

It sounds like you might need a web designer to help you, and possibly a web developer. You could possibly try a web design company, do a search for one near you perhaps. They charge various rates and will usually work out of a quote for the work you need, but typically around $100 per hour.

What I might suggest you try, however, is looking for one or more freelancer(s) to help you out. There are plenty of sites on the web where you can view listings of freelance providers in the web industry and you can post up a job listing to try and find the right person. Chances are you might find someone who knows enough about the topic you're creating the site on and has the skills to design it. You'd probably end up paying somewhere between $20-$60 an hour for a freelancer. Try doing a search for web freelancer sites or similar, there are a lot of them.
posted by Eastgate at 9:02 AM on January 13, 2009

I put this here for those that may be interested... USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.
Testimony Services
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute provides access to its Visual History Archive, in whole or in part, to interested parties. The Institute's Visual History Archive at the University of Southern California contains nearly 52,000 video testimonies collected in 32 languages and 56 countries. More than one-hundred thousand hours of video occupy currently 135 terabytes of storage on servers at USC.
Semi-Self link.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:06 PM on January 13, 2009

Almost too obvious to ask, but if you don't know how to make web pages, why have they asked you to do it? I'm not being rude, but what is your job and in what capacity have you taken on this project?

It seems you're now a website producer, anyway, and have two completely different problems.

You don't know how to do it, and you don't know what you want.

You have to solve the second one first, because nobody can build a site for you until they know what you want.

The people who should be telling you what they want are your clients, the people who gave you the job. They should be a lot more specific about what they want and don't want. They should tell you which features the site must have, must not have, what the site should look like, what it should not look like, which other sites they would suggest as good models, and so on. And they should tell you what raw material is available.

I promise you now that if you go ahead without getting their detailed input, you'll get it anyway, when it's too late and they hate what you've done so far and you've wasted time and money.

After you've done that (getting a detailed brief from your client) then you have to find someone to build it for you. You probably need a web designer, a web coder, and someone to work on scripts for any CMS/dynamic parts of the site, like a search engine. You might find all those three in one person, but it's unlikely.

Email me if you like, I'm in the business and I'm in Sydney.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 7:23 PM on January 13, 2009

Response by poster: Almost too obvious to ask, but if you don't know how to make web pages, why have they asked you to do it?

Because there aren't many people with a connection to that town that have an interest in genealogy. It's a Hungarian town that had a thriving Jewish population before the Holocaust, but I'd be surprised if there were more than a handful of Jews within twenty miles of the place today. My G-G-grandfather was born there and I'd like to document the place while there's still some living memory and the documents haven't been dispersed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:09 PM on January 14, 2009

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