Enhancing heritage content with open source tools

Clémence Almeras

Clémence Almeras

Nowadays most heritage institutions have made at least part of their collections accessible online as a direct result of their digitisation policies.

It is therefore vital to ensure that this material is enriched with editorial content and given maximum exposure to as many people as possible.

There exist tools to make it easier to raise the profile of digital heritage content. The following is a list of open source tools designed to provide free and easy online access to digital holdings.

Your born digital and digitised content can be more easily retrieved and displayed by using mapping techniques, such as:

  • Umap, a system that enables you to use maps produced via Open Street Map by combining a variety of open map data. With Umap it is possible to create interactive maps including different landmarks and flesh them out with information and images of all kinds from your archives. Maps may be customised and can be embedded on your website. http://umap.openstreetmap.fr/en/

You can also add narrative text to your digital content and use storytelling tools to provide access to your collections:

  • Time Mapper, a tool developed by Open Knowledge Foundation Labs that can be used to create maps, which include timelines. You can also customise your maps by adding landmarks and events to the timelines plus texts, photos, videos or audio files. By using a Google Sheets spreadsheet, you should have no difficulty in supplementing your digital content with historical timelines. http://timemapper.okfnlabs.org/

Other software tools are also available to help you display your photographic, video or audio content in more unusual ways:

  • Juxtapose JS, a Knightlab product, is a system that enables you to take two images and superimpose them to show the differences between them. It can be used, for example, to compare two images of the same place, one showing it as it is now, the other as it was in the past. It can also be used in combination with either of the tools described above. https://juxtapose.knightlab.com/
  • H5P is a Joubel software tool that can be used to create HTML5 interactive content and embed it on your institution’s website. Videos can be made interactive by adding text, images or multiple choice questionnaires. This is also possible with videos already published on YouTube, for example, and is a further way to enhance your audiovisual content by making it interactive and entertaining. https://h5p.org/
  • Soundcite is a simple-to-use tool also created by Knightlab to enhance and enrich your audio content by adding inline audio to your texts. You can add the spoken word, music and natural sounds to your stories to guide potential users through your collections of recorded material. https://soundcite.knightlab.com/

Clémence Almeras
Communications Assistant – M.A. student in Audiovisual heritage at INA, intern at ICA