Bat Altankhuyag (GMU intern), Tim Smith, and Kathleen Ingoldsby

Adventures in Omeka Database Software

This past June, with the assistance of a George Mason University graduate student intern, Tim Smith and Kathleen Ingoldsby began the process of developing a new online access tool for the vast collection of historical data now held at the Old Church Gallery oral history and collections archives.

We first corralled the types of information into a structured index, which would serve as the eventual basis for an online menu.  Large manila sheets were diagrammed in the process, complete with arrows, underlines, and ideas, and, after much back and forth, we landed on a very complete archives category scheme.

Bat Altankhuyag (GMU intern), Tim Smith, and Kathleen Ingoldsby
Bat Altankhuyag (GMU intern), Tim Smith, and Kathleen Ingoldsby. Item pictured on iMac screen is of a feedsack quilt from the current exhibit. Photo: Wanda Combs, Summer 2019

Bat Altankhuyag made two site visits to the Gallery and was able to help with many online work sessions off site. We determined that by entering one sample item in each field or category, we could then refine those, heading off any problems or issues as we went along. This worked well, and we managed quite a few fixes in the process of navigating our final product.

When complete, Floyd Folklife Gallery & Archives will showcase our oral history and permanent collections with image, media, and information displays. Although the site is “not quite ready for primetime,” we are well on our way, so please do stay tuned!

Summer 2021 Update

After spending some time and effort working with the Omeka system, we decided instead to use a custom-made WordPress system for our new web presence. This is the site you’re looking at now!