Q: I’m interested in creating a Website about African American history. How do I get content and set up such a site?
— S. Moore, St. Louis
A: If you’re thinking of launching a Website on a particular subject, it’s important to have a passion for the topic and more than a cursory knowledge of it; you don’t have to be a tech wizard, but you do need to have basic knowledge of how to set up a Website.
I would begin by searching the Web to see if there are similar sites. The Smithsonian Institution’s Website (www.si.edu/resource/ faq/nmah/afroam.htm) is a good starting point, as is the DuSable Museum (www.dusablemuseum.org), which also provides additional links to other African American history and cultural sites.
Once you finish your online research, I would recommend you do some offline exploring, as well. You might begin with one aspect of African American history, say, entrepreneurs or artists, and expand. Also, consider contacting other Websites, as you might want to provide a link from your site to theirs. Before you place information on your site, however, make sure you have permission to do so from the various sources. If you use images or text without permission, you’re likely to hear from the owner of that intellectual property.
To set up the actual site, you can use any number of off-the-shelf applications (Microsoft FrontPage, Adobe GoLive, and Macromedia DreamWeaver, for example) as well as downloadable shareware (Evrsoft’s 1stPage 2000, for example). Each application has varying degrees of difficulty, but you should learn the basics. If this is simply out of your realm, consider getting help from a local Web designer.
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