Software for Online Collections: Which Tools for What Purposes?

There a lot of different tools at this point that serve a range of different purposes for organizing, storing, preserving, presenting, exhibiting digital collections. My quick initial list would include, DSpace, Omeka, Greenstone, ContentDM and Viewshare. I would likely also include more generic content management systems like WordPress and Drupal, and some sites like Flickr and Historypin that can be used to serve similar purposes. Libraries, Archives, and Museums are using any and all of these tools (and more) and it can get a bit overwhelming and a bit confusing. Which tools are useful toward what ends?

head scratching

I would be interested in talking through what tools participants are using and to what ends. We could make good use of the time by trying to talk through the situations in which one would want to chose each of these tools. As a result, I would love to leave with a straightforward short document, or draft of a document, that lays out what each tool is best used for and which tools can play nice with each other. Alternatively, we could work through pulling together a set of examples of successfully uses of each of these tools (and any others) as a kind of tour of these different software tools in use. My hope would be for everyone who participates to learn more about these (and other) tools for working with digital collections and that we could share some of the things we learn with anyone else who might be interested.

I am particularly interested in the potential for developing guidance on how these collection tools can be used to complement eachother. For example, see this draft documentation I am working up on using Viewshare and Omeka together.

So please suggest any of the following in the comments:

  1. Your general interest
  2. Other tools we should consider
  3. Ways you would like to categorize or organize these tools
  4. Examples of the tools in use that you think exemplify their best use cases
  5. Other approaches to organizing the session
Categories: General, Session Proposals |

About Trevor Owens

I’m a Digital Archivist in the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the Library of Congress and a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University. Before coming to the Library of Congress I was the community lead for the Zotero project at the Center for History and New Media and before that I worked for the Games, Learning, and Society Conference. I’m interested in how learning and knowledge work in online communities, video games and culture, and software tools for humanities scholarship. My training is in the history of science and science communication and digital history.

7 Responses to Software for Online Collections: Which Tools for What Purposes?

  1. Emily Pfotenhauer says:

    I think this is a great idea and producing some kind of working document that provides an overview of these tools would be extremely valuable. I have somewhat extensive experience with CONTENTdm and would be able to speak to its pluses and minuses for cultural heritage materials. Another platform that might be interesting to add to the list is PastPerfect Online, which is primarily marketed to small, local history organizations.

  2. Cathy Stanton says:

    I love this idea, Trevor. It strikes me as the kind of thing that would make a really good “History@Work” post or series of posts, perhaps with some links to examples of existing projects that are combining these tools, to show some of the possible permutations.

  3. Sarah Corso says:

    I would be very interested in a session like this. I am not really acquainted with digital collections management, so your suggestion of creating a document with information about the various digital tools sounds like something I would be happy to have.

  4. Briann Greenfield says:

    I am adding my name to the chorus of folks interested in this topic. I do a lot of work with the Connecticut Historical Society and am interested in helping them develop a greater online presence with their collections.

  5. Serge Noiret says:

    Would definitively be interested in looking at pro & contras of some of these instruments you mention Trevor (would love to hear more about your viewshare) and especially from the viewpoint of their capacity to activate large meta-data’s interoperability between different digital projects in cultural institutions and to better answer user’s queries for information/documentation retrieval and needs. I was thinking about what Europeana is implementing with the Assets for Europana project for example ? Would this be another way to reach the same goals ?

  6. Trevor Owens says:

    Here is a link to the google doc we worked up in the course of the session feel free to keep going on it.

  7. Pingback: All these different software options for digital collections have got me all buggaboo. « JANINEVEAZUE

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