Omeka plugins: Contribute, Geolocation

So I’ve added the two plugins ‘Contribute’ and ‘Geolocation’ to my Omeka installation. The data that I’m using in this test is from a heritage survey of my local Municipality. One of the things we tried to do during that survey was solicit memories and information from the public. I published notes in the local papers, went to people’s homes, tape-recorded and scribbled notes madly.

Had we had Omeka in 2003, I think the ‘Contribute’ plugin would’ve been exceedingly handy. This municipality’s greatest export over the last 100 years has been its people, so I imagine I would’ve reached far more people with access to a greater range of materials than I ultimately did.

Here‘s what it looks like on my test site (and if you happen to have a personal connection to Bristol, Quebec, or some materials about the place, why not submit them now? I’m continually astounded by the heritage of this little place!) The information submitted gets slotted into the proper categories in the archive, and a tab on the admin screen keeps track of all of your contributors and what they’ve coughed up. On the contribution screen itself, a catchpa or similar might be useful – I wonder if it will accumulate spam… Other thing that was somewhat problematic, is that in its original formulation, it asks contributors for their ‘race’. I removed that from the form – in Canada, people’d likely get very touchy over that…

Now, as for the geolocation plugin: This adds a field to the entry of items in the Omeka archive, producing a Google map. If you know the street address of the place you’re interested in, it will grab that from Google Maps, and put a wee map in your entry. You can even search your archive by panning around the map. Handy enough for the back-end, but I have yet to figure out how to get the map into my front-end. I’d like users to be able to click on an item, and have it mapped. I’m sure it’s probably just a matter of embedding something in the theme/stylesheet… thoughts, suggestions? Once I figure that out, I think all of the pieces would be in place to have a British-style ‘sites & monuments record’ publicly available. (I did a heritage inventory recently of Gatineau Park: imagine having all of that information available to the public! Currently the NCC has no plans to do so.)

Finally, I’d like to get messing with the themes & stylesheets a bit more. I’d love to convert the wordpress theme “Brandford Magazine” to Omeka (I swear I’ve read somewhere where someone’s done something similar)… but that’s probably a wee bit beyond my abilities. Dare to dream!

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