Before You Get Started | Browser Compatibility | Logging In | Using Dublin Core Metadata | Using Item Type Metadata | Assigning a Collection | Uploading a File | Assigning Tags | Miscellaneous (GeoLocation) | Building an Exhibit
The hardest component of this assignment, for many students, is understanding how libraries, archives, and museums sort and classify information. Information specialists at such institutions use a variety of tools and frameworks to ensure that researchers, students, and the broader public can all find and understand information in a predictable and meaningful manner. When using Omeka for class, you are also performing this function, while simultaneously doing your own original historical research. This creates a special challenge in which you will often need to mentally remove yourself from your research to think about archival items objectively. This requires considering time, historical change, and other factors in novel ways. Historians are taught to think critically and to analyze places, people, themes, events, and structures, adding the rich and complex insights that come from understanding. Librarians and archivists on the other hand, must describe items in terms that are factual and that will increase access to information. This is an important distinction to consider. As an example, look at how libraries use online catalogs, how journals use abstracts and subject terms, and how museums use placards -- they describe items in a uniform and dispassionate manner and leave interpretation of that information to the end users.
You may be thinking of some exceptions at this point. For example, museum exhibits are presented according to interpretive themes all the time. But this is a matter of organization. You should not confuse an exhibit with a collection or an item record. For example, a museum exhibit titled The Art of the Spanish Civil War may include passionate accounts of artists and their work, making subjective and political statements that evoke emotional and intellectual responses from the audience. However, at its core, any exhibit is made up of a group of items that each exist in a collection and are recorded in a catalog or database of some type. These items have their own integrity as artifacts and can be put in any number of organizational contexts to tell new stories. Pablo Picasso's Guernica can be understood in the context of the history of the Spanish Civil War, or it can be understood in a very different exhibit called The Cubists, which may focus on art theory and technique rather than history and culture. Or even in an exhibit that only includes paintings on rectangular canvass, or one that includes only paintings with horses. In each of these cases, the original record for the item -- the core metadata -- remains the same. Likewise, the item does not move to a different collection when it is used for different exhibits.
When you add an item to Omeka, you are responsible for creating the core metadata that will apply to the item no matter when, where, or how it is being used. As the course progresses you will have an opportunity to create your own digital exhibits, adding the additional context and analysis that comes with thorough research and critical thinking. The end goal is to collect your interpretations -- creating the core metadata is just one very important step in that process.
Explore this site and compare it to other digital history resources. Think about the difference between an item, a collection, and an exhibit. It is critical that you think about and understand these issues and take your work seriously as your items will be transferred to the University Library and will be added to the Cleveland Memory collection. Excessive errors will cause extra work for library staff and may disqualify your items from inclusion in the permanent archive. Additionally, the metadata assignments are pass-fail, so failure to follow instructions will result in a zero for the assignment -- there is no partial credit.
Reading this guide thoroughly is essential to succesfully completing the assignment. For any questions that are not adressed in this guide, you are strongly encouraged to contact your professor or Erin Bell at the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities (216-687-2172 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
To contribute to Omeka, you must be using either Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or some other modern web browser. If you are using Internet Explorer or any other browser that is outdated or non-compliant with web standards, you will encounter display errors and loss of some functionality.
Log into Omeka at: http://csudigitalhumanities.org/exhibits/admin/users/login
You will need to use a unique username and password assigned by your instructor or other administrator.
After logging in, you should verify your profile information and make any necessary changes.
You may want to keep this guide open in a second tab or window.
Metadata means "data about data." Dublin Core is a metadata standard developed by OCLC in Dublin, Ohio, which is used by libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, and web publishers around the world to document and describe items collected for web display.
In our Omeka exhibits, we implement Dublin Core in conjunction with both controlled and uncontrolled vocabularies. A controlled vocabulary is simply a set of predefined and formatted terminologies that are used to ensure that all like items can be found in the same way. A controlled vocabulary for names ensures that all books written by a single author can be found under the same Author or Subject heading. For example, books written by (or about) Mark Twain are classified under the controlled heading: Twain, Mark (1835-1910), even though he also went by the name Samuel Langhorne Clemens. To find the correct name heading for published or prominent individuals, see the Library of Congress Name Authorities. Subject headings work in the same way, although, for subjects other than names we use the controlled vocabulary developed by the Cleveland Memory Project, which focuses on themes in Cleveland history. See instructions below for more information on using controlled vocabularies.
General Rules to Always Remember
When in doubt, LEAVE IT BLANK.
When writing descriptions, NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT AN ITEM - they just want the facts.
Metadata Fields** = Required
The title should be brief but descriptive enough that it is useful. It should tell the user what they are about to look it.
Remember that you do not have to include everything in the Title. Aim for scanability not comprehensiveness. You can always add details in the Description area.
The title should be derived from the item itself - not your individual research topic.
Avoid re-using titles from other items.
Avoid terms like "new", "present", "old".
Avoid terms like "Picture of...".
Avoid subjective terms and phrases such as "dominating the skyline".
Always capitalize the first word in the title, as well as any proper nouns.Check spelling!
Best practice is to include a year preceded by a comma at the end of the title.
If you do not have a specific year, you may make an educated guess, but must denote it with "circa"
Use the following examples as a guide:
- Mayor Carl Stokes accepts Man of the Year Award at the Allen Theater, 1970
- Aerial View of Brunswick skyline, circa 1941
- Euclid Avenue and East 9th Street facing west, circa 1960s
- Streetcars and Buses on Superior Avenue near Tower Press Building, Summer 1980
Use Cleveland Memory Project controlled vocabulary for local subject terms. (http://tinyurl.com/az68ld)
After opening the link in a separate browser window, search the list for appropriate terms using CTRL-F.
You must ensure that spelling, capitalization, spacing, and punctuation are identical to the approved list. Copy-Paste!
If you are unable to find a subject term, use your best judgment and apply original terms consistently.
To add two or more subject terms, use the green "Add Input" button.
Putting a comma between subjects is not acceptable. That only works when assigning tags.
Usually you will want to add at least two subject terms and no more than six total.
The subject should be derived from the item itself - not your individual research topic.
Usually not more than a paragraph in length, providing information about the item's contents, creation, context, and background.
This is NOT the place for an interpretive essay or a note to yourself, your professor, your students, or your classmates.
Avoid making subjective judgments and claims in this space. Avoid exciting language.
State only what you know and can support with evidence. Note, however, that you should NOT necessarily present your evidence here.
Dates provide a good example of how to write a description. The following statement would be classified as too personal: "Judging by the women's clothing in this picture, I would say this picture is from the 1920s." In this case, using the phrase "circa 1920s" is more than enough to communicate that the date is unknown and that you are inferring based on the evidence before you.
Avoid undue references to the past and present, new and old, before and after, etc. Remember that your images will be online for many years. A statement like "The New Home of the Browns" might sound perfectly acceptable unless you consider that it could actually be referring to a 1999 image of Browns Stadium, a 1940 image of Municipal Stadium or some other stadium that will inevitably be built in the future, all "new" homes of the Browns. Similarly, "Public Square before Renovation" could refer to a time before the many changes made prior to WWII or it could refer to a state of being before the 1970 renovation, or it could be today, as one might assume another renovation will happen at some point. Even a minor statement like "The BP America (Sohio) Building now sits where the Williamson and Cuyahoga Buildings once stood" could be more safely (and specifically) worded as "In 1984, the BP America (Sohio) Building was constructed on the former site of the Williamson and Cuyahoga Buildings." This allows for future change while relaying information about past changes.
It may be helpful to think of the Description as a combination of an abstract and an encyclopedia entry. You should condense the information into concise statements. In the following hypothetical example, the first sentence states what is happening in the image and clarifies the name and time period. The second sentence relays a quote from a newspaper clipping that was attached to the rear or, verso, of the photograph. The remainder of the description provides some additional information that puts the image in the context of local transportation history:
- An electric streetcar emerges from the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, also known as the Veteran's Memorial Bridge, circa 1938. Verso reads: "Cleveland Transit Authority Opens New West Side Trolley Line." Opened in 1917, the bridge connects downtown Cleveland with the the city's west side Ohio City neighborhood. The lower level of the bridge, which once carried streetcars over the Cuyahoga River, was closed after Clevelandâ€™s streetcar system was dismantled in the 1950s.
Format all personal names as lastname, firstname, middle initial
If dates of birth and death are known, use [lastname, firstname, middle initial (birth year-death year)]
For published individuals and corporate, governmental, or institutional authors, search Library of Congress Authorities to determine proper format.
The Creator is the person who took the picture (or wrote the document) -- NOT the person who scanned it or uploaded it, but the person who was operating the camera (or the pen) when it was created.
Remember to invert names according to the following examples:
- Washington, George
- Bush, George W.
- Downey Jr., Robert
Corporate or institutional names are entered according to how they are listed in:
- Library of Congress Authorities, or...
- Legal, copyright, or other authoritative documents (incl. official website "About" pages)
Use only if the item is derived directly from another source, such as with an excerpt from a book, magazine, or website; or a single item from a larger established archival collection.
Established collections from larger repositories are formatted "Repository name. Collection name. Folder Name."
An image from the University Circle folder in the Cleveland Press collection would list the Source as "Cleveland State University. Cleveland Press collection. University Circle."
A page or excerpt from a published book or website would use the Source field to list a bibliographic citation (Chicago style).
Do NOT ever list yourself or your imaginary photo collection as a Source.
List where YOU got the item from, not where the archive got it. We need to track YOUR source.
Do not use
Use format: [YYYY-MM-DD] (e.g. 1999-12-31).
If exact date is unknown, be as specific as possible. You may leave the month or day blank if unknown.
If you cannot find at least a year, add a "circa" date in the Title and/or Description fields and leave the Date field blank or enter the nearest decade.
Do not use
Do not use.
Use Cleveland Memory Project controlled vocabulary for local place names or follow examples below
Coverage is used to describe a GEOGRAPHIC place and NOT a commercial or institutional place.
You must use approved vocabulary terms and ensure that spelling, syntax, capitalization, spacing, and punctuation are correct and based on the examples below:
- City example:
- Lakewood (Ohio)
- Neighborhood example:
- Little Italy (Cleveland, Ohio)
- Street example:
- Mayfield Road (Cleveland Heights, Ohio)
- Park example:
- Purvis Park (University Heights, Ohio)
To add two or more coverage terms, use the green "Add Input" button.
Putting a comma between coverage terms is not acceptable. That only works when assigning tags.
Usually you will want to add at least one coverage terms and no more than three total.
The subject should be derived from the item itself - not your individual research topic.
You should use only coverage terms that apply directly to the item, not because it fits with your research project in some indirect way. For example, you might use a picture of Parma to illustrate suburban flight from Cleveland. However, you would label it as "Parma (Ohio)" and not "Cleveland (Ohio)" even though your own personal research is about Cleveland.
Do not use
Use Internet Media Types and format as [format], [file extension], [file size]
Here are some examples:
- Image, JPEG, 1.34 Mb
- Text, PDF, 214 Kb
Audio, MP3, 4.8 Mb
Choose from drop down menu.
For non-textual images, choose English as default
Use Dublin Core Types
You will almost always use one of the following: Text, Image, Map, Sound
Use only for unique strings that identify the specific object, such as the ISBN or ISSN number assigned to a complete book or journal.
If the item is a website or other published electronic resource, use the URL.
Reference for Dublin Core Metadata Guide
Choose from drop-down menu.
Depending on which Type you choose, a series of additional fields will appear. Fill in each field according to the instructions below.
Rules for Images...
- Original Format
use Photograph, Digital Image, Postcard, or Map (for other types, seek help)
- Physical Dimensions
- for scanned reproductions of film images, record original size in inches (e.g. 5 x 12 in.)
- if you upload your own images from a digital camera, record size in pixels (e.g. 600 x 400 px.)
Rules for Documents...
- Text field
- input transcription of any text in the document (a short excerpt will suffice for long documents)
- Original Format
- use Document, Article, or Pamphlet (for other types, seek help)
You may need to open the file (or right click and choose "Properties") to get information about dimensions, file size, etc.
Image files may be opened in a browser - pixel dimentions will appear in the header of the browser (e.g. 1600 x 1197 px).
Choose appropriate collection from drop-down menu
Student users with administrative privileges must choose a collection from the drop-down menu. Typically, a collection will be assigned at the beginning of a project. To create a new collection, contact your instructor or the project supervisor.
Upload a file using the Browse button
Files are uploaded in the same way that an attachment is added to an email. Simply click the browse button and choose the item's location on your computer terminal or external drive. You may need to wait while the file is uploaded, depending on the size of the file.
You may add more than one file to a record. However, you should only do so if the items are taken directly from the same source, such as with pages from a book. In such a case, before you upload, you should make sure that filenames include page numbers or other information that denotes the intended sequence.
Currently, we are operating with a file size limit of 4Mb. As such, you may need to adjust some image files to meet that requirement. In many cases, you may simply re-save the image at a lower resolution (300 dpi recommended). If your files are in an uncompressed format such as TIFF, re-saving as a JPEG will also help lower the file size. Additional compression options are available in most image manipulation software, often taking the form of a sliding "quality" scale in the "Save As..." dialogue.
While we recommend using Adobe Photoshop for image processing, we realize that it is cost-prohibitive for many students. As an alternative, Windows users (and Mac users with X11 installed) may download GIMP for free at: www.gimp.org. Mac users may want to try Seashore, available for free download at: seashore.sourceforge.net. You may also try the Falcon web-based image manipulation tool, available at: http://aviary.com/tools/falcon.
Enter appropriate tags, separating each term by a comma
Tags are simply unconttrolled terms used to describe an item. Tags are used extensively on blogs, forums, and other websites such as YouTube and Flickr. Tags can be used to describe aspects of the item that may not be appropriately included as subject terms. For example, to tag an image that portrayed a man playing frisbee with a dog in front of Terminal Tower in the summertime, one might classify the subject as Union Terminal Tower or Outdoor recreation, adding the tags dog, frisbee, fun, summer, and public square to describe the image further.
In Omeka, tags display in a "tag cloud" that visually represents the contents of the collection as a whole. The more items that are tagged with a term, the larger that term appears in the tag cloud. This is a quick way to search though a collection to get an idea of what it contains. If you look at a tag cloud and identify, for example, a tag that reads "pamphlets," clicking on it will show you all items tagged with that term. To see the tags on this site: Browse Items by Tag
Find a location on the map (if applicable)
You may search by manipulating the map or by searching for the address.
Double-clicking a location will move the red pin to that exact spot.
Be sure to click "Yes" to save the map location on your screen.
Download the Omeka Exhibit Builder Guide (PDF)
Download the Omeka Exhibit Structure and Planning Worksheet (PDF)