Public History

Project Progress Report 3/15/21

Mapping the Civil War in Arlington is proceeding rather well. The “curating” is straightforward and I hope to have over two hundred items in the collection by the time I submit it as a final project. Since the project is going to have a post-project phase I was able to get some assistance and add some rather cool functionalities. This includes a map feature and a contribution feature. It reflects well on the Omeka developers that the platform is quite agile in providing the option to add plugins. I am learning more about other more expensive alternatives, like “Past Perfect.” Many museums use it for managing their collections, however, I understand that it is rather on the pricey side for providing a public facing.

For the next week I will be testing the Contribution function and develop a social media strategy as to how I would like to promote it. I will be conducting an online presentation to the Arlington Historical Society on April 8th, and I would like to feature it.

Finally, in regard to challenges and any problems, I continue to struggle with how much Dublin Core metadata is necessary to input. I guess if I had a grant and hired a part-time assistance I would have the time to make sure everything is properly notated. I suspect that additional reviews will be necessary to maintain some consistency. The good news is that the majority of items are from already existing collections. So this will help. Finally, I am also trying to normalize the use of standard tag definitions, and limit the number of collections. The use of inconsistent tag labeling becomes self evident once you start adding dozens of items. Omeka has a rather decent aid to helping us curators and hopefully like a gardener, I will be able to “weed” out the duplications or redundant tags.

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