Yet, until this past weekend, I failed to understand the value of the Dublin Core “Description” field when adding Items to Omeka. From the common Dublin Core elements, I usually employ the “Title”, “Subject”, and “Contributor” fields. I have always chosen, instead, to put my descriptive content into the Item Type metadata.
It was while reading up more on the “Display Random Featured Item” function that I noticed the snippet way at the bottom of the codex page about the Contents of this function…which include a reference to an “item-description” <p> class. This instantly made me think of the Dublin Core “Description” field…the one I always ignore. So, I opened up one of my Items and played around with adding content to the “Description” field, and…viola! This content magically populated key parts of my site:
- The Featured Item boxes displayed on my home page.
- The Featured Item boxes on my Browse Item views.
- The map marker box on my Geolocation map view.
The output from this “Description” field, combined with a thumbnail image attached as a File to an Item, really makes for a much more visually engaging site, especially on those otherwise drab Browse Item views. Text of any length can be added to the “Description” field, but for aesthetics purposes, I like to use a short tagline like the Description and Excerpt fields in WordPress.
What I don’t know is if the “Description” field also feeds the”description” attribute on web pages, which is what gets displayed on search engine listings. I’ll have to wait for Google to crawl my Omeka site again, then search for some of the Item Titles, and see what is displayed in the Google search snippet.
For now on though, when I teach Omeka workshops, I will definitely stress the value of using the Dublin Core “Description” field.