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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?

Small Archiving Project [Pt 1]

As many of you know, last year I inherited a small archiving project of and relating to New Orleans opera in the mid-1900’s. As of two days ago, this “project”, which has consisted of a giant box of mildew-scented newspaper clippings, has come to life. (Immediately I feel a rush of “GAH!” as I realize I have no clue where to start.) I have yet to take an archiving course, although I hope to at some point, even if it has to be a DIS. Regardless, I need to invest in some texts or friendly conversation with those “in the know” regarding the methodology.  So… I have a giant box of old newspaper clippings. Now what?

I suppose I should talk about the clippings for a moment. I inherited the box from a music library in New Orleans which didn’t harbor the means/resources to give it the time of day. It had been given to the library as part of an estate and I can only assume this is because the owner was getting on in years or perhaps passed away. So here I am.

…no clue who the “owner” was (i.e. who assembled the box of clippings), or their relationship to the articles they clipped. The articles themselves range from 1930-1984, and they discuss two particular opera stars from New Orleans who rose through the ranks toward the Met, then came back home  [to New Orleans] during their final years (from what I can see thus far). It’s not simply a survey of opera in New Orleans via media clips. It’s an intimate portrait of two particular people, as if a mother was saving every newspaper clipping of her rising star children.

This is going be like the board game “Clue” for the next few weeks.  Step one was to pull them out of the box and glance them over. I’m about halfway done with this step (there’s a few hundred articles and they’re frail – give me a break!), and I have been taking notes as I peruse them: particular questions I’ll need to answer, people/places/dates that keep popping up, etc. Once I’m done with this, I suppose I’ll continue picking through and asking questions as I put them together chronologically.  Then it gets tricky. I can further split them up via location, musician, opera, role, or even critic. After that I’m not quite sure which direction to take. I know there’s a story to tell here. I just have to unravel it.

Of course these clippings can likely all be found in digital  [or other] archives, and perhaps I won’t come to any conclusions at all with this small project of mine, but it gives me something to do for the next month and I need to brush up on the 20th century opera scene in New Orleans anyway. For now, back to playing Clue