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Summer Projects and Omeka

I had a fun this week talking to some people on the Commons who are taking advantage of their summer down-time by experimenting with Omeka.

Don’t you guys ever just kick back and relax?

But seriously, I hadn’t thought about Omeka for a while, and talking about it made me think again how great a tool it is to assemble research materials, and how many ways it can be used.  I’m not about to steal these budding Omekans’ thunder by spilling the beans about their projects – but I was struck by how each almost immediately gravitated towards Omeka’s crowd-sourcing potential.  Digital humanists realize how important collaboration is, and look for tools that can be used to harvest source materials other people may have.

So that led me to fool around with Omeka’s “Contribute” plugin (available on all packages), and discover how easy it is to set up a form where anyone can go to enter stuff into an Omeka collection.  That “stuff” can be files (i.e. images, docs, etc)  and supporting metadata, stories, or just plain text broken down into fields (Omeka’s default schema is Dublin Core, but that can be widened to include more specific fields, or can be used to work in conjunction with Zotero).  There is a built in Spam filter to ensure the contributor is a human being.  Contributions are initially set to private, pending admin approval.

Geo-location? Yup.  Once you install Omeka’s Geolocation plugin, your contributors can pinpoint places on a Google map associated to the records they enter.

Controlled vocabulary? Coming soon.  The Simple Vocab plugin is already available on the Admin side, and work is underway to control the contents of contributed fields, and eliminate the need for cleaning up the data on the Admin side.   The Scholars Lab at University of Virginia is doing great work developing other related Omeka plugins.  Check the following link for more information.

Tagging? I don’t see why not, but I couldn’t figure out how to allow contributors to tag their own entries, but on the Admin side, this functionality is very easy and powerful.

Posted in collections, user contribution.

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