The blog, Origins, is a website created to provide historical insight on current events. I choose to review this site, because the content of the site is something that I think everyone should explore. Origins is affiliated with and published by the history department at Ohio State University and Miami University. The site is managed by an institutional team whose main editors are History Professors from the Universities. The site is updated regularly, with a new main article produced on the Home page (see below) on the 15th of every month. Origins is not limited to a geographical area or time period. The site features articles on many different subjects and from areas all over the world. There is even a tab where you can search article topics by specific areas of the world. Overall, the main theme of the site is quite general, and focuses on identifying long-term patterns and the foundations of today’s events.
The overall scope of the website is not very specific in terms of topic ranges. To give an good idea of the site’s scope, the site features a Topics tab which includes topics such as different regions, gender/sexuality, Black Lives History, politics, economics, culture and society, education, sports, religion, sports, and more. The main article for this month present on the Home page is “The Unkept Promise of Nuclear Power,” (see below) a broad, topic including historical insight on nuclear weapons. The site’s Home page also features links to other articles within the blog such as “History, Memory, and the Art of Protest in Belarus” and “Who Owns the Nile? Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia’s History-Changing Dam” which both demonstrate the site’s range in terms of geographical area. There is not a specific time period listed or categories for specific time periods. However, all articles featured on the site are present some type of reference to a historical event, and therefore, each article presents its’ own time period.
In terms of audience, the site is geared towards the general public as an insightful and informative page. The site is geared towards informing the public about history’s impact on current events, which is knowledge that is beneficial to the general public. The audience and purpose of the site could also be academic, as the site features a specific “Teacher Tools” page (see below) where there are guided lesson plans for both Secondary and Middle childhood studies. I would most definitely argue that the site is aimed to help teachers engage students, because the lesson plans are not your “everyday” history plans.
The research presented is offered by different historians who are the main editors of the site. Although all History professors, the editors offer multiple perspectives on a variety of topics, and each article is thoroughly written and engaging. The material on the site is reliable, given the authors’ backgrounds as History professors and could be used for research. There are many different types of articles and posts including articles on different parts of the world, COVID-19 related material, and articles that have more or less engaging aspects than others. If I were a teacher, I would use this site either for lesson plans or current event articles to use in class in relation to a topic. As the general public, I would use this site for research or just for the enjoyment of reading and gaining knowledge about an interesting topic.
The site was extremely easy to navigate and included many engaging and helpful features. For example, each article page includes “Suggested Reading,” “images,” “Maps and charts,” and “Printer friendly Version” tabs. All of these tabs are there to appeal to the reader and make the site more engaging and user-friendly. The site also features a search bar, media content such as a link to their podcast, a milestones page, and a connecting history page. I think the site’s creators did an incredible job at enhancing the site with all of these features. They are not overwhelming, or distracting from the site or its’ purpose and there is nothing that I would add or change.
The site definitely enhances the experience of using digital technology by creating helpful hyperlinks, including images, maps and charts, and including direct links to other media pages such as their podcast (episode embedded below), social media pages (see below), and further readings, which is not as easily accessible when reading a book.
Origins has been, by far, my favorite website that I have reviewed this semester. The overall content, features, and organization of the website is perfectly done compared to the other sites that I have visited. I would absolutely recommend this site to other students, because I think it is a really interesting site to explore, if not for research, then for curiosity. I really like the way the website included lesson plans based on their content and I might try to put a small section of suggested lesson plans at the end of my final project.