Corinne Kronschnabel, “Gathering Places: Applying Metadata Standards to Religious Communities in Milwaukee”
Mentor: Christopher Cantwell, History
Religion is a complex topic that reaches deep into personal and cultural biases, and therefore is often difficult to categorize. On the other hand, the metadata we use to tag and organize information about religion relies on simplicity and clarity. How can these two things that appear to function in different capacities work together? This presentation explores how metadata standards can be applied to religion by focusing on the project Gathering Places: Religion and Community in Milwaukee. Gathering Places was started in 2018 with the goal of documenting the history of Milwaukee’s places of worship (e.g. churches, mosques, synagogues, sacred sites, and more). Research and findings were recorded on the Gathering Places website (https://liblamp.uwm.edu/omeka/gatheringplaces/) which utilizes the Omeka platform. The use of this platform allows for the data collected in past years to be analyzed and categorized to increase accessibility for visitors to the site, as well as explore how exactly metadata can be applied to religious historical data. Features such as the tagging system have been streamlined, and improvements were made to increase functionality of the site. By improving and condensing different features, decisions had to be made regarding the categorization of religious topics and phenomena, therefore reflecting how exactly religion is perceived in a historical context. The interaction of metadata standards and the Gathering Places project seeks to situate religious information within their global, theological, and social contexts. This project can set an example for future religious projects that seek to document places of worship in other locations across the United States.