Integrating a calendar in Omeka


over the last couple of months, we’ve been working to improve the way Omeka classic handles time periods. Two calendars have been implemented, which are now accessible from this page:

At the IBCC Digital Archive, our approach is to have two calendars in place, with different granularity levels. The first covers the whole of the 20th Century by month; the second one covers the Second World War per day.

Both have been developed in-house by using HTML. The idea is to link each item by day/month/year of its coverage by using a relevant Omeka query. It requires dates in temporal coverage to be indicated according to ISO 8601, in which values may be dropped from the least to the most significant. We’ve followed a minute-to-broad approach: cataloguers are instructed to capture temporal coverage aiming at yyyy-mm-dd; when not possible, it is entered as yyyy-mm, or yyyy. Longer time spans are captured by repeating the temporal coverage, at year level, as may times as necessary – ten is considered the upper limit, which is enough for most Second World War resources.

We are aware that this a workaround and it may not work for every project, but if someone wants to do the same, we are happy to provide support and assistance.

Alex Pesaro
IBCC Digital Archive

Hello, Alex.

Interesting approach. May I submit a couple of suggestions for your consideration?

  1. As you point out, “not all dates return hits”. So, as it is hard to find which dates return a hit, you could maybe add a"hits counter" in every single cell of the calendar, if there was at least one hit (e.g.: [Tue 5])
  2. The granularity chosen for the WW2 page creates a very long list of monthly calendars. Maybe, a different graphic approach would be easier to read, like those widgets showing a single month and allowing to move back or forward in time by arrows and dropdown boxes (think of airline websites, for instance).

One final question: as the date format seems to be very important for your whole system to work, are you using anything (plugin, code change, etc.) to make sure dates are matching such a format?

My two cents.