The Digital Library Services (DLS) department at UCT Libraries has launched a university-wide showcase platform for digital collections. The site is called Ibali, which is the Xhosa word for ‘Story.’ It runs on a set of semantic web technologies called Omeka S and iiif. Ibali is part of the Libraries’ drive to nurture an Open Access space where collections can be created, curated, published and showcased. As part of the launch, DLS is running monthly workshop sessions on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 pm. Each session will look at a different functionality or collection in the system. This will give participants an opportunity to get familiar with using the new Ibali platform to view and build sites of collections.
Omeka S is a web publishing platform ideal for the use by GLAMs (Galleries/Gardens, Libraries, Archives, Museums), Digital Humanities scholars, but also any other user group who need to create relationships between objects in collections as well as describe them through linked open data resources on the internet. The ‘S’ in Omeka S stands for ‘semantic’, as in connecting to the semantic web, where data in web pages is structured and tagged. Its primary focus is on organising the various elements of a collection (e.g. people, places, media) such that the links in between these UCT items and the greater elements of the internet are strengthened, allowing for much more relevant searches and deeper explorations of concepts and data online.
DLS is working towards creating a GLAM Lab-like collaborative environment where Library staff and collaborators from UCT's community of data stewards can come together and build connections through collections on Ibali. A digital collection showcase on Ibali will allow users to experience their own ‘stories’ by navigating the links between items and through collections. Following its campus-wide launch, members of the UCT community will be able to organise their own collections, build their own linkages, and publish them as shared stories. DLS will provide support and training as well as guidance throughout the process, for appointed data stewards to start building collections for their respective research, teaching and learning communities at UCT.