Managing documents with Omeka

Earlier on in the year we started a project which involves digitizing and making available online a large number of newspaper clippings.  We had originally looked at Greenstone for the collections management software but it seemed too clunky for what we needed.  Likewise Drupal wasn’t ideal as it needed a fair bit of customization in order to be useful for this project.  After some deliberation, we decided to go with Omeka, a relatively new publishing platform, but one that had been generating a lot of interest in the libraries and heritage industry in the US.

After using it for a few months, and as the digital archive takes shape, it looks like we made the right decision.  Omeka easily handles a large number of documents, which can be organised by collection.   Each document can also be assigned a series of tags, creating a folksonomy that can be searched across collections.  The default metadata for each item is Dublin Core, while you can also include Document Type metadata.  All of this information is searchable.  The actual document, loaded as a machine-readable PDF, can be viewed directly in the browser from the item page (along with the document metadata) or downloaded and viewed on your computer.

All in all, a promising start to what looks to be an exciting project.

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