I Say O-MEK-a, You Say O-MEE-kah, Let’s Call the Whole Thing AWESOME: Introducing Our Digital Exhibits Platform

omeka-post-headerWe’re always looking for new ways to connect the unique content in the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections with our many and multi-faceted publics. So when it came time to find a way to create digital exhibits based on either a.) formerly physical exhibits or b.) entirely digital content, we settled on web publishing platform Omeka – specifically, a hosted omeka.net account.

As a small staff with plenty of work to do digitizing, curating, preserving and cataloging the items in our care, we needed a solution that would allow for template-based, low-cost entry into the digital exhibit creation game. Omeka’s hosted solution was the perfect fit. Going hosted meant we didn’t have to install and maintain yet another piece of software and using its template-based approach means no time lost writing code for a custom solution.

Once we settled on a solution, we set about creating our first digital exhibits. The first – and most elaborate so far – was for the physical exhibit created for the Armstrong Browning Library’s “Uses of ‘Religion’ in 19th Century Studies” conference held in March 2016. The physical exhibit featured numerous artifacts curated around the many ways the word (and concept) “religion” were used in the 1800s; topics covered include social issues, literature, religious discourse and more.

Next up was another ABL exhibit, this one inspired by the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carrol’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The exhibit, titled “A World of Their Own: Children’s Literature at the Armstrong Browning Library,” focused on examples of children’s literature held in the ABL’s vast collections, including numerous examples of first editions, fanciful illustrations and morality tales used to educate 19th century youth.

We shifted gears fairly radically with our third exhibit: Visions of Rapture. We came up with the idea for the project – using Baylor art students to design covers for American black gospel songs that had been released without accompanying cover art – and proceed to mount both a physical and digital exhibit featuring their work.

Our most recent collaboration is with the Baylor Collections of Political Materials, an all-digital exhibit titled, “Poage’s Passport.” It focuses on the world-traveling expeditions of Congressman W. R. “Bob” Poage, namesake of the Poage Legislative Library and long-time member of the House Agriculture Committee. The exhibit is the first to fully integrate materials from a collection housed in CONTENTdm, meaning that all of the images from the exhibit link to full item records in the Digital Collections system. This integrated approach will be the preferred way of creating digital exhibits moving forward, as it provides an additional inroad into the Digital Collections without adding duplicate records in another system (i.e. Omeka).

Future exhibits will be coming online in the near future, with exhibits on the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, American involvement in World War I and Baylor athletics on the drawing board. For now, we encourage you to click on the exhibits below to view them in Omeka, and let us know what you think. We look forward to using this helpful platform for many years to come!


ARMSTRONG BROWNING LIBRARY

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.56.29 PMA World of Their Own: Children’s Literature at the Armstrong Browning Library

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.56.52 PMThe Uses of “Religion” in 19th Century Studies


BAYLOR COLLECTIONS OF POLITICAL MATERIALS

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.55.53 PMPoage’s Passport


ELECTRONIC LIBRARY / DIGITAL PROJECTS GROUP

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 3.57.32 PMVisions of Rapture: Art Inspired by the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project