Archiving Frustration

A few months ago I started a small archiving project (see my last post about it by clicking here). It’s been a slow process due to procrastination, but I’ve physically gone through each piece of material that needs to be archived (there are hundreds), and I’ve decided to store it digitally. What this means is that instead of just storing everything in a box and having it all sit in an excel file, I want to create a digital online collection or exhibit of the material. I have categorized the materials by format medium and correspondence type, and I’m ready to start inputting. So here’s my problem…

I’ve sat here for three hours today searching online for a free or low-cost exportable software or web-publishing platform that includes the following:

  • ability to import images and scanned files [as images if need be]
  • ability to link these items in order to create categories or collections that are publicly viewable
  • a utility that allows me to create a timeline based on already-uploaded images and their metadata element sets, which brings me to:
  • the ability to create an element set for each uploaded image (i.e. to add a field for dates to create the above timeline, location, contributors, tags, etc)
  • ability to use HTML within those above fields in order to add relevant links and tags OR have a ‘related links’ field or plug-in

I have discovered Omeka, ePrints, ScholarPress, Scribe, and  LifeSnapz.  I want the ease of Omeka mixed with the academic integrity of EPrints, the thoroughness of Scribe, and the aesthetics of LifeSnapz. The ScholarPress site is down so they aren’t even in the running. If I had to narrow it down even farther I’d want an Omeka mixed with LifeSnapz assuming Omeka would allow me to edit the dublin core’s look on the public site (see I’ve learned all kinds of things today)… but I can’t stand any of them enough to warrant the number of hours I’ll have to spend with whichever platform I choose.

I just found something called Memory Miner… and that’s exactly what I’m looking for… except it would do nothing for all of the newspaper clippings I’ve got… and I need to share it publicly (and with a largely academic community).

So – that’s where I am – someone shoot another option at me… please?

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5 comments

  1. you are making it all too difficult for yourself. Start with the box and the spreadsheet, then once that is completed simply make digital photographs of the clippings. Then any old blogging or web-hosting software that suits can be used to showcase *some* of them. The work involved in making them ALL accessible on line is, for the present, too much hard work for you to undertake. The labour involved would be prohibitive and prevent you from completing other essential tasks.

    However, don’t give up on that idea entirely, merely shelve it for now.

    I know this seems like a cautious option, but do start with the basics otherwise I fear that you will end up with an incomplete project.

    1. I appreciate your comments here, however I’m not sure working with the box and spreadsheet are the most productive means to continue. What is the point if once I’ve spent hours creating said spreadsheet, I’d need to create a digital repository anyway? Which after all, is the point. It doesn’t help anyone sitting in a box.

      I know this isn’t going to get done overnight, and I don’t expect it to. I’m not sure you realize how much material I’ve got here. I’m not planning on finishing this year, especially when I’ve got a thesis to contend with.

      At the moment, I’m just asking for software or web-based platform suggestions. You’re right in that you did give me a cautious option, and again I do understand why, however it is already an incomplete project, and was for years prior to it falling into my hands. Any progress I make now is just that.

      (p.s. I can’t think of a single blogging or “web-hosting software” that would do it justice)

      Once again, thank you.

      1. I understand a little better now that I know the project is not supposed to be completed this year. I was concerned because I know how you take a project on, start things with enthusiasm, and that sometimes the project seems to run out of impetus – this isn’t meant to be a criticism but an observation – and I didn’t want the same thing to happen to this one because it is so fascinating. I had the impression to begin with that it was a summer vacation project, or maybe summer vacation plus semester spare time (what spare time?) project, and that you were looking now for the equivalent of drawing your magic wand and shouting “Papyrus Organiso!” Well, here’s hoping someone more IT savvy than I am will have the answer to your needs.

  2. Again, thank you… though I will say that just because I do not finish something publicly doesn’t mean it has run out of impetus 🙂

  3. Go D.A.! Archiving is such an important, thankless task. I don’t have any suggestions, because as you know, I am not tech savvy at all. I just want you to know you are * Loved! *

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