Some Omeka Plugins From Side-Project, US Museums Explorer
So, once in a while I play with building Omeka sites that are not actually part of RRCHNM tasks, grants, or contracts. It's a good way for me to bang on what I help build, and try to understand some of the real, practical needs out there in the world.
One of these side-ish projects is the US Museums Explorer, about which I've written a little bit for the IMLS, since I used their data, and about which I hope I'll write more extensively.
For now, though, this is just some quick thoughts about some Omeka plugins I built for it, in case they might be helpful to other projects.
- Facet By Metadata
This is similar to Search By Metadata, which basically just slaps on a search URL for specific metadata in Omeka. This plugin plays a similar game by creating a search form that lets you check off some boxes to let you say "Search for items that have the same metadata values". In the case of the US Museums Explorer, the idea is that someone might want to dig up other museums in, for example, the same income level and similar geographic area, even across many state boundaries.
- Social Media Element Set
- This is perhaps the wierdest plugin for Omeka, as it presumes that an item in Omeka is a thing that has a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Flickr, etc. whatever. Typically, I find, items in Omeka sites are more likely to be things like vases or sculptures or images -- sometimes, happily! -- events or records of events, or scientific artifacts. Such things aren't likely to have a social media presence. (I'd like to see exceptions to that, like the Philae lander or the wire in Mark Sample's ear as part of our cultural heritage recorded in Omeka -- another rant-in-progress!). But the conception of US Museums Explorer is that items are museums, and those museums are also social (foaf:)Agents that might have a social media presence. And so some feedback told me that I needed to address that as metadata. Thus, here's an element set for Omeka if your items have a social media presence.
- This is the simplest [read: unsophisticated] approach to a problem I see in a lot in Omeka sites. There is a lot of need to get community corrections to wrong or absent or ill-conceived or malformed or -- simply put -- false information about an item. Often, there is a concommitant desire manage the review and status of such community contributions to knowledge. This plugin says piffle. It just opens the door pretty wide open, and it's up to the admin to evaluate, analyse, and assess any submissions. That is, the technology is an open door, and it makes little effort to address an human problems via technological solutions.
"Any medium powerful enough to extend man's reach is powerful enough to topple his world. To get the medium's magic to work for one's aims rather than against them is to attain literacy."
-- Alan Kay, "Computer Software", Scientific American, September 1984