Angelica reports: Open-Source Digital Archiving Platforms Workshop

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend the “Open Source Digital Archiving: Omeka, CollectiveAccess, and Beyond” workshop hosted at Eyebeam, and led by Hadassah Damien.  The participates in the workshop came from several professional fields and interests. Some of us were students, artists, others worked in major museums, or nonprofits with the common interest in understanding open-soured digital archiving software. The first half of the workshop we talked about the differences between Omeka and CollectiveAccess, but most importantly which platform is better for your need. “Why + Who = What” : Why are you collecting, Who will use the resource you’re collecting/who is producing or managing the platform will determine which platform will be best for you.

As we saw when Seth & Julia from CollectiveAccess visited the class, CollectiveAccess are being used by G.L.A.M institutions (galleries, libraries, archives, museums) which tend to larger projects. Omeka is being used by the digital humanities and are smaller projects compared to those using CollectiveAccess. Some of the Omeka examples we saw were:

Heroes and Villians

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Fist is Still Raised

Hadassah explained Omeka as the WordPress of the digital archiving software world. If you don’t have you’re own server, Omeka has a .net (much like WP’s .com) however it is limiting compared to having your own server. Omeka defaults its metadata standards to Dublin Core, but there are plugins that allow you to change the standards. One of the questions asked is whether the possibility of an “item” belonging to several “collections”, and sadly it cannot. And unlike CollectiveAccess, there is no option to have an “entity” in Omeka, unless you type up a html coding. Although you have more flexibility and choices with CollectiveAccess, it is harder and longer to build.

We spent the second half of the workshop playing with both platforms, which was useful to see the possibilities and differences with these platforms. If you are interested in testing out the platforms, both have a “sandbox” (testing environment).

CollectiveAccess’s Sandbox

Omeka’s Sandbox 

I’m going to be go though some of the suggested platforms Shannon recommended, but if you have any recommendations or already have in mind which platform you want to use please let me know!

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