Cultural Heritage Informatics Metadata Initiative for Archaeological Research (CHIMERA)

The digitization of the MSU Archaeology Collections has entailed the building of a digital repository for the management and outreach of archaeological collections being curated by the anthropology department. This has ultimately meant the development of a metadata scheme for the management of archaeological collections and the incorporation of this metadata schema into KORA, a digital repository application. This metadata schema was named CHIMIRA: The Cultural Heritage Informatics Metadata Initiative for Archaeological Research. This metadata scheme allows for the flexible description of data pertaining to collections, artifacts, documents, actors, sites, and other cultural heritage. This data can then be entered into the KORA digital repository along with any digital resources associated with that data including: 2D images, 3D models, video, audio and documents.

The combination of this metadata scheme, along with KORA’s structure allows for these data to be then associated with each other. Artifacts, for example, can be associated with their collections, the sites they were excavated from, the actors who processed them and the photographs that have been taken of them. Data were initially entered from the Butterfield collections, but data entry will continue to take place for all the collections being curated. Besides the management of collections, the eventual goal of this repository is to make these data more accessible to both the public and researchers.

The initial stages of this project have focused on the development of the digital repository and not the building of a website for displaying the data. As such, the digital repository is not accessible to the public. Therefore, this project links to the GitHub containing the documentation for CHIMIRA. The immediate next step, however, will be the development of a website which can display data from the repository. Additionally, this website will provide the ability to create “digital exhibits” that provide interpretations from students and faculty about the cultural heritage within these collections. Overall, a flexible and comprehensive database was developed for the intuitive description and management of cultural heritage assets with the future goal of making these data more accessible through online web access.

Zachary J Francis-Hapner

2018-2019 CHI Grad Fellow Cohort

PhD Student, Department of History