Digital community collections – how to build and how to preserve?

Dear fellow bloggers,

the suburban village where I live will soon celebrate its 1200th anniversary, measured from its first mention in a medieval charter. A group of citizens wants to use this occasion to collect documents, photographs or even sound recordings or films on the village history. Many of us have experience with web technology, so the perspective is using WordPress or other platforms in order to enable citizens to scan and upload their content. This platform will supposedly be in private ownership. After the anniverary campaign, we want to make sure the effort is not wasted and transfer the collections to the City Archives as digital objects.

Personally, I see strong legal reasons to keep all of these objects away from the open web in the first place, so Wikimedia or Flickr might not be the proper place to make this happen. Of course, City Archives can (and will) later release a lot of this content  through other channels.

Does anybody know plug-ins for WordPress (or similar) that enable ordinary persons to register, upload self-made scans or sound recordings and to tag these objects with the most necessary metadata (date, place, description, photographer, depicted persons)?

And also, does anybody have experience in extracting metadata and objects from such an environment and ingesting them into another system? This recycling process would need a metadata set for each object, some kind of structural map and the objects themselves, firmly linked to the metadata with identifier-labeled files.

Just send me comments – or meet me at a workshop at a conference in Karlsruhe later this year that deals with tools for digital objects and cataloguing in general. Anybody engaged in this rather experimental scenario should consider taking part in it.

Best Regards, Kai


Kai was born in Lower Saxony. He studied history in Marburg (Hesse) and Paris. Since 2006, he is an archivist at the Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg.

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Kai was born in Lower Saxony. He studied history in Marburg (Hesse) and Paris. Since 2006, he is an archivist at the Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg.

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Eine Antwort

  1. Hallo Herr Naumann,

    möglicherweise könnten wir für das von Ihnen angesprochene Projekt ein digitales Archiv bei, dem Bürgerarchiv zur Alltagsgeschichte, einrichten.

    Die von uns eingesetzte Repository-Software DSpace bietet den Upload von opaquen Bitstreams jeglicher Art ebenso wie die Erschließung auf der Grundlage von Qualified Dublin Core Metadata.
    (Teil)Bestände von lassen sich über die standardmäßig verfügbare OAI-Schnittstelle exportieren.

    Bei Interesse kontaktieren Sie mich gerne per E-Mail.

    Mit besten Grüßen,

    Joachim Räth

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