William O. Lee Jr. (1928-2004) was a prominent Frederick County citizen, active in local education, politics, civic associations and his church. After his death in 2004, Lee’s papers were given to the Historical Society of Frederick County (HSFC). The materials within the William O. Lee Jr. Collection are those gathered or created by Lee through the course of his life and include photographs, documents, ephemera and memorabilia, video, and three dimensional objects. The collection documents Lee’s personal, professional and political life, late 19th and 20th century African American life in Frederick County and Frederick County history.
For my digital project, I will create a website for the archival collections of the HSFC and a collection guide for the William O. Lee Jr. Collection, collection MS0080 of the Historical Society of Frederick County’s Archives and Research Center. Using Omeka I will display the collection’s finding aid and exhibit collection items. The Lee Collection is the only collection belonging to the HSFC which documents the lives of African Americans; a wonderful collection that gets very little use. Creating an online guide for the collection would increase user access to the collection and hopefully result in greater interest in the Historical Society’s Archives and Research Center.
At the Fall 2014 meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) I attended a half-day workshop on building a “catablog,” or an online site designed to share finding aids using blog technology (see p. 8 of the MARAC Baltimore Program for a description of the workshop). The instructor was Lindsey Turley of the Museum of the City of New York. During the workshop we used WordPress to build practice online catalogs, posting finding aid content and photographs. WordPress provides small institutions like historical societies with limited resources, easy and affordable ways to host online finding aids. Omeka, as a platform designed to display collections and build online exhibits, provides similar opportunities for small institutions.
The WordPress catablog of the Museum of the City of New York will be a guiding influence for the organization of the HSFC site. A site will be created for the archival collections of the HSFC and the William O. Lee Jr. Collection will be added as a “collection.” Using Omeka I can then add materials selected for digitization to the collection as “items.”