This week, we got to start playing with Omeka. It reminded me a lot of our Drupal unit. The themes and plugins seemed very similarly structured. A little searching dug up this post in which an Omeka developer commented that the code bases are structured very differently, but from an initial user perspective, it had a similar front-end feel.
I think that approachable feel is really important. For example, although we didn’t look at Joomla or WordPress in this class, making the experience easy and visually appealing is part of why those tools are so successful. One thing I’ve noticed in comparing the different platforms in this class is that things that are visually appealing and approachable on the back end tend to be so on the front end when implemented, too. Okay, that wasn’t the greatest sentence in the world, but hopefully you’ll get what I mean: something like Drupal that has a really slick, intuitive, and approachable interface just tends to power better sites than something old and clunky-feeling like DSpace.
This week’s blog discussion is about cataloging. I admit, cataloging is not something that I find incredibly appealing. As I mentioned in this week’s discussion, there are a lot of issues inherent to judging, placing, and describing anything, as well as deciding where it fits in a larger collection, and it’s very hard for the person creating a single record to have enough perspective to make it fit into the big picture, or be the right choice in hindsight. For example, early on in this class, we read Clay Shirky’s famous essay, Ontology is Overrated. It discussed the perils of classification, and gave an example of the religious bias inherent in the Dewey’s system, in which Christianity dominates nearly the entire section, leaving a few meager subheadings for “Other religions”:
Dewey, 200: Religion
210 Natural theology
230 Christian theology
240 Christian moral & devotional theology
250 Christian orders & local church
260 Christian social theology
270 Christian church history
280 Christian sects & denominations
290 Other religions
Another example that a coworker gave me was of a colleague who looked up “interrracial” in the LCSH and was disturbed to find out which sections were next to it: incest and insanity.
So, bringing this post back to my collection, I have felt quite tentative and experimental in my categorization of my small collection. After trying LC for this week’s EPrints assignment, I rather wish I’d picked out LCSH terms all along, instead of using rather vague DC. On the other hand, outside the library world, LC is less meaningful, so perhaps from an interoperability standpoint, DC is better, it’s just a question of more complete and more accurate DC metadata?
Since this week’s blog assignment is open-ended, I decided to look into something I was curious about: how DSpace’s Manakin themes compare to Drupal’s themes.
Here’s an example of some very attractive DSpace themes utilizing the xmlui interface: http://staff.lib.muohio.edu/~tzocea/files/dspace/
However, unlike with Drupal, there seems to be much more of a “roll your own” emphasis on this from the web developer’s perspective. Yes, there are some themes on GitHub and some how-tos that one can Google, but there isn’t that same plug-and-play experience you get with Drupal, where someone can change the theme without really getting into any of that back-end stuff.
For this unit, we installed a new VM to use the DSpace digital repository software. It was a pretty similar process to the other Ubuntu Server VMs that I’ve created for this class and 672. The notable additions were Tomcat and PostgreSQL.
It was very easy to follow the installation instructions. The only thing that I fudged was instead of creating a file on my primary system and using Fugu to transfer it to the VM (I suppose I could have used scp, too, but I never remember the right way to do those filepaths — any constant blog readers wanna help me out?), I just used Nano on the VM. I suppose the reason the instructions didn’t say to do that is that there would be no way to copy and paste the text in the config file directly from the host machine to the VM. Luckily I was using ssh to make copy/pasting a bit easier, so that wasn’t an issue.
When I looked over the alternative installation instructions (https://wiki.duraspace.org/display/DSPACE/Installing+DSpace+1.7+on+Ubuntu and http://wiki.lib.sun.ac.za/index.php/SUNScholar/Dspace), they seemed pretty similar. There were some small differences. For example, the former used a different version of Java, and the latter used the command line to do all the user configuration. Overall, though, it seemed like a very similar process. Since those instructions are both easily found online, I’m pretty sure I would be able to do an installation of DSpace myself at a later time by following those instructions.