Digital Archive terminology

This page explains the terminology used in this documenation and within the Digital Archive.

  • Within an entry, words in italics are defined in this glossary
  • Words in parenthesis following an entry name indicate the context in which the entry is used

This glossary is under development and is not complete.


AvantLogic Corporation is the company that developed and currently maintains the Digital Archive. Omeka plugins that begin with Avant were developed by AvantLogic.


Amazon Web Services


The database items for one organization.

Common Vocabulary

Subject, Type, and Place terms that are common to all shared Digital Archive sites.


A database is an organized collection of data, generally stored and accessed electronically from a computer system. The Digital Archive uses MySQL as its database.


A technology hosted on AWS that makes fast, shared searching possbile.

Element (Omeka)

An element is a container for a single metadata value. When you are editing an item, you enter data into metadata fields, one for each element. Examples of elements are Title, Description, Creator, and Date.


Facets are terms used to aid in discovery.

definition of facets

Facets panel

The area on the far left of the Digital Archive search results page that displays facets.

Index (Elasticsearch)

An index is like a table in a database.

Item (Omeka)

An item contains information about an object in a collection including its metadata, attached images and documents, and a record of when the item was created and by whom. The metadata for an item is stored in elements.


Any word in item metadata and text attachments.

Left admin menu

The menu on the left side of every page when logged into the Digital Archive as either an archivist or administrator. Some left menu items only appear when logged in as an administrator.

Results from just one collection.


Associating a vocabulary term with a facet term


Metadata is data that provides information about other data. For example, the metadata for a book is not the contents of the book itself, but information about the book such as its title, author, and publisher. The metadata for a photograph is not the image itself, but information about the image such as where and when it was taken and by whom.

Nomenclature 4.0

Nomenclature is a structured and controlled list of object terms organized in a classification system to provide a basis for indexing and cataloging collections of human-made objects. Nomenclature is used in the creation and management of object records in human history collections within museums and other organizations, and it focuses on objects relevant to North American history and culture. Nomenclature is the most extensively used museum classification and controlled vocabulary for historical and ethnological collections in North America.

Visit the Nomenclature website


Omeka provides open-source web publishing platforms for sharing digital collections and creating media-rich online exhibits. Omeka is a project of the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, and George Mason University, with funding from multiple organizations.

The Digital Archive uses Omeka Classic as its foundation.

Visit the Omeka website


A museum, library, historical society or other entity that makes its collection available online using the Digital Archive.


A plugin is a software component that adds or modifies features of existing computer programs.

Comingled results from multiple collections.

Super user (Omeka)

An Omeka super user is someone having an Omeka login that allows them to do anything and everything in Omeka. Super users are the only users with access to the top navigation tabs for Plugins, Appearance, Users, and Settings.


A word or short phrase in a vocabulary or facet.


Terms that classify and index collection items.