This report covers the development and design decisions made by the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition project team and distills some observations about the usefulness of Omeka as a digital publication platform for documentary editions. It is published in accordance with the terms of National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant PE-50007-15.
What is Omeka?
Omeka is an open-source digital publishing platform developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. It was designed to allow libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions to display digital content with as little web development overhead as possible, lowering the bar to creating and curating digital content.
Omeka utilizes the Dublin Core metadata standard to organize and provide access to items in the edition. Omeka can sort by item type and group items into collections that reflect their archival organization. Omeka also features a growing set of plugins which allow easier collection management, deeper and more complex analysis and interpretation, and enhanced user engagement with the presented material.
Omeka can be downloaded and hosted in an environment capable of running Linux, Apache, MySQL5 and PHP5 or can be hosted and operated on Omeka.net servers (free initially, with scaled, annual pricing plans that add storage space and features). Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition operates on a Linux virtual machine.
Documentary editors should be encouraged to have such a powerful and popular tool available to them when they look to digitally publish content. Editors should keep in mind, however, that Omeka is a publisher, not an editor. It displays and facilitates the discovery of information, but the editorial work that precedes publication still must be managed by some other means.
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