Building an exhibit with Omeka this week demonstrated some of the same patterns that were apparent last week working on Google Map Engine. While I already had data on my computer from a previous research project on the U.S. Army Ordnance Department’s treatment of Breech-loading arms in the Civil War, the most time consuming portion of the entire exercise was going through the hundreds of images and finding the ones that would be useful in telling a story in exhibit form.
The next most time consuming part was entering the metadata for each item, which combined several decisions about how to categorize it with the drudgery of entering it. I found myself wishing there was a way to add metadata to a group of items rather than doing it individually for each one, as I found other than title and description, most other entries remained the same for each item. Working with a set of Ordnance Department records and correspondence from the National Archives (no copyright concerns!), I decided to list “U.S. Army Ordnance Department” as the creator and use the date of each individual record for the date. I listed the record group under source to help users locate the originals if they choose, but failed to go the extra step of listing out the full data I used in my record keeping under “identifier” as it does not conform to a standardized system. For the title of each item I used how I would cite it in a scholarly work, leaving a more detailed description for the captions.
I choose gallery as the layout for my exhibit, as it seemed to make the most sense for a simple exhibit like this. I organized the items chronologically, as it seemed the most reasonable considering the purpose of the exhibit in showing change over time, and the contrast between Ripley and Dyer.
Below is the link for my Omeka exhibit on the Ordnance Department and Breech-loaders during the Civil War: