JWA News Release: October 1, 2003
Jewish Women's Archive Prepares to Commemorate 350 Years of Jewish Communal Life in North America with the Launch of Extensively Redesigned Website: jwa.org
BROOKLINE, MA, Oct 1, 2003—Anticipating increased interest in American Jewish history resulting from the 350th anniversary of Jewish communal life in North America, to be commemorated in 2004–2005, the Jewish Women's Archive has redesigned its pioneering website. The purpose of the redesign was to ensure that jwa.org, the most extensive online resource about American Jewish women's history, is more teacher-friendly, student-friendly, researcher-friendly and general public-friendly.
"Too many websites have good information that is hard to find and harder to use," says Dr. Gail Twersky Reimer, Executive Director of the Jewish Women's Archive. "Our newly designed site gives all visitors clear, quick and easy access to all that JWA has to offer, including some 'buried treasures' that were previously less accessible. JWA is where history lives and grows. This website is a vital part of that growth."
JWA and web design firm Interactive Factory (IFactory) focused on several target audiences for the redesign: educators and students, researchers, and the general public. JWA and IFactory applied a new look to the site and reorganized the content to be as user-friendly as possible. A series of user surveys and usability tests ensured that any problematic aspects of the site were addressed while the most valuable features of the site were preserved and enhanced.
Highlights of the new JWA site include:
- A special section for the 350th with information about JWA programs and resources, including a speakers bureau, reading series, film series, and a signup for updates on JWA's 350th activities.
- Extensive multimedia exhibits featuring more than 50 women.
- Information on over 700 archival collections.
- Over 500 biographies and 800 digitized images.
- 40 lesson plans related to primary sources that are available on the site.
- Scores of detailed essays optimized for the web that explore topics such as Jewish women in the military, in sports, in the arts and more.
- Features designed to make it easier for visitors to contact JWA, submit a research request, print pages, email pages to friends and colleagues, and support the work of JWA.
JWA was one of the first Jewish organizations on the web when it launched its award-winning website in 1998. Its website, jwa.org, remains the preeminent source of information about American Jewish women's history in the virtual world. The site is referenced as a trusted resource by prominent educational institutions including Boston University, Iowa State University, Mount Holyoke College, Princeton University, the University of Washington, the University of Maryland, the Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance program, the University of Toronto, and the Alliance for Lifelong Learning established by Oxford, Yale and Stanford.
About Interactive Factory (IFactory)
Boston-based IFactory has extensive experience working with non-profit organizations and educational institutions, including the Ford Foundation, Harvard University, MIT and the U.S. Department of Education.
About the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA)
The Jewish Women's Archive (JWA) is a national, nonprofit organization with a mission to uncover, chronicle and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women and their contributions to our families and our communities, to our people and our world. JWA has become a leading advocate for and center of education in Jewish women's history. JWA employs a combination of approaches to its work, from online exhibits to community-based oral history projects to public programs and events. Founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1995, JWA was one of the first organizations in the Jewish community to stake a claim in the new frontier of the web, and continues to innovate in its use of the virtual world for academic, cultural, archival and educational purposes. For more information, visit the Jewish Women's Archive's website at jwa.org.
About the 350th Anniversary
In September 1654 twenty-three people, including women, men and children, landed in New Amsterdam to form the first Jewish settlement in North America. Individual Jewish men, had lived and worked on the continent previously, but 1654 marked the first time that the presence of women and children made it possible to create a community that could have both a rich present and a future. The official commemoration for the event will begin in September 2004 and run through June of 2005. JWA will serve as a coordinator and catalyst for programs focused on women and their contributions. For more information or to sign up for updates about 350th activities go to jwa.org/discover/350years/.