Importing metadata for item from another digital collection

Ok, a very functional question here: I have students working on hosted Omeka installations, building exhibits. Some of the items they want to use are from other digital collections, like LOC or Internet Archive. If they add an item from these digital collections to their Omeka, is their only option to hand-copy over all the metadata from the original archival item? I feel like this is crazy, since it obviously could be automated. I keep feeling like I am missing something… then I had hoped this is what the Zotero importer plugin did, but no dice.

Or perhaps I am thinking about this the wrong way; for items that originate in other collections, is it considered best practice to just link back to the original item, and only add metadata for items that are actually held by the individual/instution publishing the Omeka site?

Am I making any sense? Not sure, but would appreciate your help.

bumping my original Friday afternoon post in hopes of getting some feedback. Thanks!

Depending on the other archive, you might be able to import the data (there are plugins like OAI-PMH harvester).

But yes, in some cases you do have to copy over metadata. One way to think about it (and to frame it for your students) is that this is a chance to think critically about metadata, both what comes from the original archive and what they are generating. Do you need all the data from the LoC? Or maybe just the title and date, because your description field is going to be more focused on the item in the context of the theme of the site, rather than the terse description in the original source. How do you credit materials from existing digital archives anyway? All of this is part of the intellectual work of making an Omeka site (or digital project), so surfacing it can be a useful exercise for everyone involved.

You might also look at how other Omeka projects have dealt with this question. Histories of the National Mall uses items from digital repositories/archives and they link back to the origin using the property dcterms:source, as does Making Modern America (example). The items in How to Track a Bear in Southwark all correspond to records in the Early Modern London Theatres (EMLoT) database.

Hope this helps.

Thanks very much - that’s helpful. And I hadn’t thought about the task as useful from a pedagogical perspective.
Finally, “How to Track a Bear in Southwark” has to win some sort of an award for project name :slight_smile:

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