Metadata is data that describes dataIn our case, most of our data is historical documentary material, both primary and secondary, in addition to some resources made by members of the project team. For the material, I am collecting information on these different documents to help describe it to be seen and searched on the website. Because historical material relating to Black lives is often obscured by metadata and description, I have made an effort to put these individuals at the forefront of the metadata. For example, individuals in households are often obscured by the head of household in metadata—names of women, children, or other household dependents are not in descriptions of these documents. It is important to the project to not just center collecting around Black lives and experiences, but metadata as well. I have created a spreadsheet local to my own computer in order to organize the different types of metadata I have decided to record for collected material. This can then be downloaded as a CSV file and imported directly into OmekaS. 

We are considering the documents and material that has been collected as a part of the Recovering Black History of the Monadnock Region for Keene as our items in this OmekaS site. These are our ‘entities’. It is important to be cautious of what it means to label certain individuals as ‘items’. The focus of the digital collection is to organize the primary source material. To highlight the individual histories, the OmekaS exhibit functions will be used.

When adding items into the site, it is best to try to fill in as much information as possible in order to describe the different items that have been collected. We must also recognize the power that comes with this description of our data.

The different types of metadata I have included for the individual items are as follows: 


  • Title of record
  • Short further description of entity of interest (ex. Include individual’s name in title, not just title of record)


  • Longer description of source
  • Focus description on Black individuals in the record, even if they are subjects, not creators


  • Whoever published the source


  • Dates recorded within the material


  • Names of the volunteers and research assistants who helped locate resource


  • Format of the particular type of record, ex. PDF, HTML


  • Languages the material records.


  • Actual file name, if applicable. This does not end up as a field in OmekaS, it is for tracking purposes of attached media to the corresponding metadata. 

Bibliographic Citation:

  • Citing where the resource is found, who published it. Includes links when applicable


  • Any locations listed in record
  • For future, this may also record latitude and longitude for mapping purposes, when knowing a more precise location than just a town or city at large. This data can also be entered into Omeka's Mapping function. 

Transcript/Partial Transcript:

  • This is a custom ontology created for the purposes of this project, as this field is not populated through standard OmekaS fields
  • Partial or complete self-made transcription of the record
  • Attempting to add this for all items that cannot be OCR’ed with the extracted text function of OmekaS

Individual Mentioned:

  • Name or identifier for individual mentioned in the item
  • Uses middle names, birth dates, death dates, or any other descriptor to disambiguate between individuals with the same names. For example, Reed, William (father) is disambiguated as father, while his two children are differentiated by their birth and death dates, Reed, William (b.1791) and Reed, William (d.1791).


  • These can be made browseable. I have selected thematic and temporal subjects to tag items
  • These include:
    • Century: 18th Century, 19th Century,  20th Century,  21st Century
    • Decades: Decade — ####s
    • Antislavery or abolition movements
    • Enslaved persons 
    • Theatre
    • Escaped Ads (also known as Runaway Advertisements)
Item sets act as collections or subjects within the broader collection. I have sorted these primarily by type of record, rather than by theme. I started by creating two comprehensive sets, Historic Documents and Recovering Black History Reports and Resources to delineate between primary source material collected and material created by the project. I then created more specific item sets related to type of record. 

Items can belong to more than one item set. Most material will belong to Historic Documents and some other item set, such as Vital Records. To see descriptions of each item set, select "Browse Item sets" from the main menu bar. 
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