Item or Collection for multi-image documents


We’re just starting out and trying to figure out at what level we should be organising our collections.

We have scanned images of manuscripts, with up to several hundred pages per manuscript. To me it seems like a manuscript would be a single item containing a few hundred files. This works for Omeka S, but when I try that with Omeka Classic I have problems such as the mirador viewer only showing one page. When I reorganise it so each page is a single item, and a manuscript is one collection, then the viewer works as expected.

Before we go too far into adding items (we’ve tens of thousands of images), can anyone advise which way we should organise things? Our manuscripts are grouped into categories, so I’ve added the Collection Tree plugin for that.

(We’ve not settled on whether to use Omeka S or Classic, although I’m leaning towards Classic for this site.)


You can do it either way. It depends on how you want people to interact with the manuscripts and their pages.

For example, when schools add scrapbooks to Omeka Classic, they often add each page as an item, because on the metadata level they can describe what’s happening on that page (Sports teams, senior class photos, etc). On the other hand, if it’s a novel or something where the pages need to part of a whole, then it might make sense to keep them as files for an item.

How do you want visitors to your site to interact with these manuscripts? What is your goal when they get to the item level? Those are the questions which should help you decide how to move forward.

I think as time goes on we’ll be looking to attach transcriptions and maybe other metadata on a per-page basis, and it’s also very common for people to refer to specific pages of these manuscripts. The manuscript generally only makes complete sense as a single unit, but with so much reference to individual pages it sounds like it’s best for us to create each page as an item, and group them into a manuscript using a collection.

Thanks for your help!

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