Neatline is designed to display exhibits made through Omeka in an aesthetic manner, through customizable maps and timelines. Last semester in my American Studies class, I created a neatline site to display items related to the Soft Drink Industry–particularly with relation to the rivalry between Coke and Pepsi. I kept it pretty simple, but there were many ways in which I could have customized it more if I wanted to. This is my project/ the link to it:
The map is definitely more useful for things that have a more geographical base–it was a little difficult to find ways to map the history of Soft Drinks because they have to do with consumer behavior all over the place. But if it were to be used for a book where someone is traveling, it could be very useful. When you click on a spot on the map, an item (photo, video, document, etc.) pops up with a short description. This is what differentiates it from other mapping tools such as google maps or google earth, because they are strictly used for navigational purposes. Neatline was specifically designed to be a digital humanities tool. You can play around with how things look. I know there is a cool looking water-color map that you can make, and you can create your own color scheme with the dots on the map and timeline.
On the neatline website they have some demo exhibits, and one I thought was cool mapped out different letters from the civil war, and actually has the physical pictures of the letters placed on the map:
I think this makes it a little bit difficult to actually read the map, but if reading the map isn’t as important as making it look good, then that probably doesn’t matter. Neatline definitely offers a lot of possibilities, and while it is sometimes frustrating to use, if it is implemented successfully neatline could be a very helpful addition to a project.