sag-harbor-obgc-encoding

Encoding for the Sag Harbor Old Burying Ground website will involve extensive direct linking through hand-encoding to allow ready navigation between name entries in databases, and titles and text for the interactive geographic and image information. Hand-encoding Markup will be used (probably XML makes the most sense?) to make the list of names of the interred discoverable through a general external search engine, although some of this search-ability will be offered through Omeka.

Most of the encoding required will focus on linking markers on the map to names and entries, which seems to require manual keying between lists.

Metadata within an Omeka-driven database for each stone will offer information on what grid location and stone number for each marker, along with birth and death dates for the interred. Age and gender will also be compiled. If a specific category connected to exhibits exists, metadata will include that designation, to allow the records to be searched and narrowed into seperate focal groups. Metadata fields will also allow the type of stone to be recorded, along with any eptitaphs and artwork appearing on the stone. For stones containing local artisan Ithuel Hill's stonecutter signature, this will also be designated in the creator field.

Omeka naturally comes with Dublin Core metadata, and some of this will need to be hacked for the best appearance, since not all stones have all metadata available, and other metadata fields need to be added. Hand-encoded XML will link between tagged items and exhibits featuring the items. Some encoding with CSS will be required to alter the standard Omeka "theme" interfaces" to allow the interactive map to act as the homepage.

The site's primary goal is to offer textual data contained on the gravestones, particularly identifying the interred and their burial locations. The majority of the added value for the site will stem from the heavy coding required to link between the cemetery map, the database information, and the images of stones. Other aspects of the site, such as in-depth exhibits addressing the content of specific stones and themed experiences related to those interred in the graveyard will augment the database. Geographic data (GIS? Is this most appropriate???) will connect the data on the hand-drawn map of the graveyard to the real geographic locations for stones. This will offer increasing value as the stones continue to deteriorate and decrease in legibility. If possible, a later phase of the project will attempt to connect geographic locations of homes—using Sanborn Fire Insurance maps and census data, to owners and residents buried within the graveyard, drawing in additional newcomers.

Practice with Metadata in Omeka:
1. Title: Sally Foster (person interred)
2. Creator: Ithuel Hill (stonecutter, when known)
3. Subject: Sally Foster (person interred)
4. Description: text of stone contained here
5. Publisher: (not applicable)
6. Contributor: (not applicable)
7. Date: (death date)
8. Type: brownstone
9. Format: ?? (not applicable??)
10. Identifier: 46
11. Source: (possibly what list the transcription and data was available from, but probably this needs to be blank)
12. Language: English
13. Relation: House or other themed material
14. Coverage: (theme it relates to): Ithuel Hill, artwork, early deaths
15. Rights: photograph courtesy of Tod France.

Example with images: http://www.aphdigital.org/users/cm18/omeka/admin/items/show/30

1. What are the significant informational features of the document that you want to represent in the digital site?
Most significant are the images of the gravestones, the textual material conveyed on the stones, and the locations of the stones within the burying ground.
2. Who is the primary audience? Do they have special needs that will need to be represented?
Local residents and local visitors, who are really members of the general public. While some of the visitors will be more interested in genealogical purposes, this site should focus on meeting the needs of people interested in local history or the history of the graveyard.
** 3. What functions do you want to provide for your audience; what kinds of searching? What kinds of navigation?
I would like the audience to search for a stone by the name of the interred or the stone's location. I would also like the audience to find featured stones through themed sections.
**4. What are the significant chunks or subdivisions of your document? How important do you consider most of this information to capture?

My documents usually don't have subdivisions. There's really the image and the text of the image. Some documents have epitaphs or artwork, but most just contain basic death information (usually a death date, age, and possibly a family connection).
** 5. List as many as possible of your documents’ significant features that you would want to encode, and provide a justification for encoding these features. Think about audience, likely uses of the information, and the balance of cost and benefit.**

  • stone type: provides information about deterioration and more social-history type materials about trends in stone usage and types, i.e. what types of stones were used when, what stones were the wealthy using, what stones have bug infestations within their cracks.
  • Subject/relation information: provides context for the stone, i.e. related family members nearby, broader themes (children, immigrants, etc.) that the stone has further information about in another section, etc.
  • text of the stone: records fading information about vital statistics
  • stone condition: helps track and target the most damaged stones for follow up, also tracks areas in need of special attention within the grid of the graveyard.
  • artwork/imagery: records and highlights stones with special images like portrait stones or stone cutters' signatures. these stones are particularly unique and are typically featured on tours, but accurate records of the stones are needed before the stones are destroyed.
  • identity of the interred
  • location of the stone (grid, stone number)

** 6. What are the significant presentational features of your document? How much of this information do you consider important to capture?
Stone type, location, identity of the interred, and images of the stone are all important features to capture. I intend to capture all of this, and the above.
7. What kinds of regularization of your document—if any—would be useful and appropriate? Would you regularize silently or preserve the original reading? Again, think about audience and probable use (including long-term use) of the data.**
The most important issue to regularize with my documents will be the images. These images will all be JPEG-6 quality images, meeting standards, however digital images are on a frontier for preservation and are likely to face preservation challenges. However, being that these images serve as something similar to preservation copies and are by no means the original documents, there are fewer issues of authenticity related to their preservation as some other image files.

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