Museology Master of Arts Program

November 13, 2019

Preserving Voices: Creating Custom Metadata for Oral Histories

Project by Tory Feeney (2019)

As museums acquire more digital materials, there is a rising need to store and organize these assets in accessible ways. While libraries have been focusing on making digital collections available to the public for over twenty years, museums are only just beginning to tackle this problem. By utilizing the methods used by libraries and adjusting them to suit the needs of museums, digital assets can become better organized and create a framework for the future of accessibility. This project created a metadata dictionary and controlled vocabulary for the Oral History Collection for the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP). This was done in two phases. The first phase researched case studies for accessible collections from museums and libraries, as well as metadata schemas used in other projects. The second phase developed the metadata dictionary and controlled vocabulary through collaboration with the curatorial staff of MoPOP and the metadata team from their sister company, Vulcan Productions. This dictionary and vocabulary are a jumping off point for making all digital assets available to internal staff with the potential to be built out as a public facing web portal. Beyond MoPOP, this project can be used as an example of how museums can learn from the techniques used in libraries and utilize them on a more customizable scale for their own digital collections.

Keywords: oral histories, oral history, museum, museology, project, class of 2019


Feeney, V. (2019). Preserving Voices: Creating Custom Metadata for Oral Histories. Unpublished master’s project, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.