Now that I have decided to use Omeka as my archiving tool, implementation is the next step. Omeka 1.5.3 was released August 1, 2012 and has fixed the two major bugs of the program, which had nothing to do with deployment and implementation of the program. I have requested an Omeka login from the VT Library system, but if they are unable to give me one, I will use Omeka’s public server to start my project then change if needed. Omeka promises to be a one-click installation, but colleagues have had troubles in past with an earlier version. Once Omeka is installed I will be ready to begin learning the ins and outs of the program and practice using it before I really begin to insert the items for the main site. The makers of Omeka and current users agree that “before you start building an Omeka site, it is useful to sketch out wireframes of your new site to help plan the content of your site, and to determine how you want your audiences to access and use that content.”(Omeka.org) In order to do this, I need to decide who my primary audience is and what I want them to get out of visiting the site, and decide what sections the site should include and how to navigate between them, including the search capabilities of the site. This will include creating the archive, possible exhibit pages, organizing content into collections, and allowing each of these groups to be searched independently as well as across multiple groups. Users and administrators can search throughout the entire archive using strings of metadata.
Omeka provides users with all 20 data fields of Dublin Core, as well as a plugin for extended Dublin Core metadata fields. Administrators may use as many or as few metadata fields as they likes, which will be displayed with each item individually, and there is an option to hide all empty data fields in order to maintain simplicity and clarity for each item. The Dublin Core fields include Title, Subject, Description, Creator, Additional Creator, Source, Publisher, Date, Contributor, Rights, Rights Holder, Relation, Spatial Coverage, Temporal Coverage, Language, Provenance, Bibliographic Citation. When using the search function, an admin may search for an item by any one of these data fields, while a visitor using the main search bar will search across all of these fields.
When browsing the items page, Omeka’s default setting lists each item in order of most-recently-added, but this can be easily changed in order to browse by heading or even create a Featured list of items to be viewed first. The easiest search function on most Omeka sites seems to be a small search bar inserted on every page including the main page. This search bar option includes all metadata of each item, so it should bring the most results from an often-used keyword.
If users wish to search more directly, they could enter a specific collection; I’ll the example of the papers of President McBryde, users would enter the McBryde collection page where they then use the large search bar in the middle of the page to comb through the metadata and items including in the McBryde collections alone. Collection creation seems to be a simple mechanism after you have added items to the main archive database. It is basically a drag and drop, in which an admin “adds a collection,” names it, makes it public or private(which can be changed later), adds items individually, then “saves the collection.” Another function for item storage and relating collections to each other is by creating a nested collection using the collection tree plugin. This plugin allows administrators to create collections within collections. (Exp. Newspapers>>Virginia Newspapers>>The Virginia Tech>>1905>>September) After a collection has been created it may be edited or added to at any time through the managing Items tab, but an item may only belong to one collection at a time. This problem is easily solved if you can use the nested collection function.