From CUNY Academic Commons



There are several studies that focus specifically on open source digital library software, and it is important to see if this subset of OSS has any specific evaluation concerns.

Comparing Digital Library Packages

Goh et al. (2006) conducted a comparative study of four OSS digital library packages and compiled a checklist to evaluate such programs. The framework they developed breaks down the products into five criteria for evaluation: (1) content management; (2) user interface; (3) User administration; (4) system adminstraction; and (5) other requirements. Each of these major sections is further broken down into features, and each evaluator checks a box if the feature is available. Scores are weighted and tallied and then compared.

Omeka Case Study

The recently published case study by Kucsma et al. (2010) investigates Omeka as a web publishing tool. The authors worked on a project for METRO whose goal was to build a directory of 30 digital collections. Three different digital collection management systems were considered: WordPress, Omeka, and Content DM. Omeka was chosen because it was attractive, easy to install, extensible, and was compatible with web and OAI-PMH standards. (p. 1). While METRO has a long history with ContentDM, the product was not selected because, as the author write, it lacks many of the “characteristics of a modern digital exhibition tool” (p.2). WordPress was not chosen because of its lack of collection building tools and they was not enough time to write a plug-in. The authors provide a good synopsis of Omeka’s functionality and describe the plugins they employed in the process. In general they liked their experience building this collection of collections with Omeka. The weaknesses were primarily with Omeka’s administrative functions. The authors found the “Item Add” function clumsy and time consuming and complained about the lack of support for controlled vocabulary in tag fields. They admitted that these were fixable, but would hesitate using Omeka for a large scale project before the issues were addressed. Search and retrieval functions were found to be weak, by library standards. In general, they found Omeka’s control over data to be “loose.” (p. 8). They also found that documentation of the core processes had lagged behind. The incomplete Codex was felt to be slowed down development of new plugins. Of the many strengths, the authors point out Omeka’s exhibit building ease.


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