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New Roots Update

Author Jessica English, Bilingual Documentation Archivist, catches us up on the New Roots/Nuevas Raíces team and their recent projects. 

IT staff has been hard at work…

  • Developing a plug-in that synchronizes objects (PDF transcripts) in CONTENTdm with Omeka. New Roots is one of the first projects to follow the NISO (National Information Standards Organization) ResourceSync framework.


  • Developing a DuraCloud audio streaming plug-in for Omeka.


  • Using the Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) to write scripts that synchronize English and Spanish metadata in both content management systems.



Speaking of metadata…

After briefly considering manually entering Spanish-language metadata and metadata fields directly into the new Omeka site, and therefore separately from the current CONTENTdm-based Southern Oral History Program’s database, New Roots staff has decided to enter all bilingual metadata in CONTENTdm.

The cataloging folks on the New Roots staff had been concerned that duplicating Spanish-language metadata fields in CONTENTdm would be confusing, irrelevant and clunky for the other 5000 English-language interviews in the SOHP database. However, IT staff overcame this challenge with an elegant solution: synchronizing repeated metadata content so that only a couple of new metadata fields need to be added to CONTENTdm, minimizing the confusion and streamlining manual data entry.


Where the CONTENTdm metadata field contents are the same in English and Spanish, the CONTENTdm metadata field [Interviewee name] will feed into two Omeka metadata fields—[Interviewee name] and [Nombre de entrevistado]—and contain the same content [Borges, Jorge Luis].




We are also currently developing a new metadata schema for the project that will enhance access to the New Roots collection in both the Southern Oral History Program database and in the new Omeka site. Some of the additional metadata we are in the process of adding to New Roots records in CONTENTdm include:


  • Abstracts in English and Spanish.


  • Natural language descriptive metadata terms defining interview “subject topics” in English and Spanish. A test search using some of the new subject topics recalled some New Roots interviews. By further populating this “subject topical” field and adding a browse page for the collection, users will be able to find New Roots interviews by subject in the Southern Oral History Program Database, as well in English and Spanish as on the Omeka site.


  • “Country of birth” and “Places of residence.” Right now these are useful as text based descriptions, but we also hope that these new fields will allow us to easily transfer interviewee’s migration paths to an interactive map in the future.



Other exciting updates to the new Omeka test site:


  • The full transcript package (everything in a record’s PDF in CONTENTdm) will be full-text searchable.


  • Titles are improved by containing both the interview number and the interviewee’s name.

And the drumroll, please…


  • The Omeka test site allows users to dynamically toggle the entire site contents from English to Spanish. This includes the site navigation, metadata fields, as well as the metadata itself!



Stay tuned for more exciting updates!