Category Archive for: ‘projects’

Dublin Core (and Omeka): a project prequel

The phrase Dublin Core might well conjure a folksonomy of James Joyce, Sweet Molly Malone, The Pogues (okay, not strictly Dubliners), the Chester Beatty, Jameson and Guinness.

And if it does, this one’s for you.

Actually, the referenced Dublin is Dublin, Ohio, site of the first exploratory Core workshop; the Core itself, 15 basic descriptors to classify, identify, and categorize just about any digital resource on the web. Officially known as the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI), the idea for Dublin Core originated in 1995 when self-described “freaks…geeks, and the people with sensible shoes,” admitted frustration in those pre-search-engine days over challenges of finding materials online. They looked for a solution appropriate to ordering and locating digital resources just as library classification systems (think Dewey Decimal) sort and relate multivariate materials.

The answer was Dublin Core, a metadata schematic with standardized categories to structure descriptions of digital resources across disciplines and among diverse kinds of materials and projects. These standards are developed, defined, and continuously refined via DCMI’s international, cross-disciplinary community.


Dublin Core is extensively documented. Even the most digitally inclined, however, have been known (anecdotally) to mutter some iteration of “What the…?” on first look at the definitions …

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So, what is an historical atlas anyway?

It seems a fair question.  An amazing number of historical geographers (and historians interested in maps) begin books and articles with the basic question, "What is a map?" undoubtedly to clarify that it is a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary object:  image, document, artifact, artwork, a product of history, art, geography, and science, and must be read and researched in multiple contexts. Those contexts, include (but are not limited to) mapmakers themselves, their patrons, authors, and sometimes, intended audience. Maps are not objective representations, but selective interpretive visualizations.

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