Advice: Authors and their Texts


Looking for some advice on how I might build a digital archive of translated texts using Omeka. For reference, we already have the site running via Wordpress (see here: ACCOT), but it’s an unwieldy Frankenstein of crazy plugins that requires constant tinkering, and I’m wondering if Omeka might be a more natural fit in the long term.

The site revolves around two key kinds of pages:

  1. Translations/Texts (examples: either as embedded PDFs, or as paginated translations): either scanned English PDFs, or the full-text translations of (sometimes quite long) texts which preserve the pagination of the original language so they can be easily cited. On Wordpress, I’ve done this by representing the original pagination visually (see here). There are also clickable footnotes in the text, some bibliographical information, the author’s portrait (which serves as a link to their author page), and importantly, a prominent button to access a scan of the original language document.

  2. Author Pages (example: Fr Marcus Daoud): these are pages that function like encyclopaedia articles on the various authors whose texts are hosted on the site. They consist of a biography, bibliography, photo or two, links, and most importantly, an automatically updated list of all that author’s texts hosted on the site.

  3. Periodicals: Many of the translated texts are single articles from particular periodicals. It would be good to also be able to group the texts by the periodical they come from, and have a encyclopaedia article-like pages for each periodical as well (with a brief overview of its history, founders, and an updated list of all the translated texts from the periodical on the site). (At the moment, I’m currently using this master index page for all the periodicals at once).

There are also lots of fancy taxonomy/tagging/relationship features (connecting authors to other authors based on locations or schools of thought, or grouping texts together by theme) — I’m sure I could get a lot of that done using Omeka plugins. At this early stage though, I’m just wondering how an Omeka expert would go about replicating the sort of setup we have on Wordpress, built around those two main kinds of pages (i.e. authors and their texts).

More specifically, two main questions:

  1. Given these needs, would you recommend Omeka Classic or Omeka S?
  2. What’s the best way to organise authors (and their portraits/bios) and their texts (with their pdfs/full-text of translation)? For example, should I just make an Item type called “Author” and another Item type called “Text” and connect them via Item Relationships? Or should each author’s texts be grouped under a separate Collection?

Hope that makes sense and isn’t too huge a question! Any advice would be helpful!



I would personally create a different Collection for each author, and list all their texts as Items belonging to that particular Collection.

The description of the Collection could be the biography/bibliography of the author. There’s a plugin that allows you to add a picture to the Collection without it having to belong to any Item, I believe.

Tags could help you link to other texts/authors.

My 2 eurocents.