A brief introduction of The Sky Tonight project prepared for the OU Libraries’ “UL Week” in late May, 2022.
We gaze at the night sky filtered through many layers of cultural heritage and representation. But how best to inspire people today to explore those cultural layers and tell their own sky stories today? Building on my experience as a former planetarium director, astronomy teacher, student of the history of astronomy, and curator of the History of Science Collections, I’ll share my hopes for “The Sky Tonight” digital scholarship project and explain how I’ve gone about creating the website so far. Was I crazy to select Drupal as the platform? What architecture would be basic enough to be robust but also scale to address the various kinds of resources I expect the site to provide? Is it reasonable to expect a single website to be able to support research and public outreach at the same time? Can a single site be crafted to appeal to an extremely wide range of disparate users and audiences? And how can it be implemented in limited spare time, incrementally, and sustained by a humanities scholar over the long term?