100 · Representative Documents: Collection Descriptions and Policies
Documenting Ferguson. Project Explanation and Purpose
Project Explanation and Purpose
Documenting Ferguson Statement of Purpose
Documenting Ferguson is a project of Washington University Libraries which seeks collaborative partnerships with local
universities, cultural heritage institutions, and community organizations to preserve both local and national history
surrounding the police killing of Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown on August 9, 2014. As an institution with a
strong regional presence, the Libraries feel an obligation to the people of the St. Louis, Missouri region and to future
research and scholarship of cultural events in our area. The project will document and create a permanent record of
experiences related to this tragic event, including citizen protests and rallies community reactions, meetings, and
memorials and capturing cultural events via social media.
As we solicit content from the community, we are committed to building better relationships with our partners and with
surrounding communities. As entrusted stewards of the shared content, our goal is to ensure that the community’s
voices and perspectives are accessible and not forgotten. Through this partnered effort to create a community sourced
repository of primary documents, we strive to facilitate dialog and encourage educational outreach and community
reconciliation within greater St. Louis.
Specific Components of Documenting Ferguson Project
Technical Development
Collecting Digital Content
Omeka -The Documenting Ferguson collection is currently delivered via Omeka digital exhibition software.
Omeka provides basic functionality for creating items with basic Dublin Core metadata and associated media
files. Items can then be organized in a thematic collection or a curated exhibit. Omeka also provides many plug-
ins to expand on its fundamental functionality. Using Omeka’s Contribution plug-in, we have provided a form for
contributors to fill out, which allows them to select an item type for contribution, including story, image, video,
audio and upload their media. Users fill out very basic metadata (title, creator, data, description, and geographic
location) and provide their name and email address. Contributors must agree to the Terms &Conditions of the
collection, written by Micah Zeller, Copyright Librarian and approved by WUSTL’s Office of General Counsel. The
Terms &Conditions ensure that contributions do not violate any person’s copyright and gives WUSTL the right
to archive, preserve, and use the material for this collection and for other purposes, barring profitable use.
Should a contributor wish to share a large number of media files, they may send files to Digital Library Services
via dropbox (http://www.dropbox.com) with a corresponding file containing metadata for each item. Thus far,
contributors have expressed satisfaction with the process, and when suggestions arise, modifications have been
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