dream lab x minimal computing

working on metadata & item data for your collection



  • i.e., collection assets
  • comprises the digital files representing the source object
  • e.g., a JPEG, PDF, MKV, CAD
  • many file formats include their own technical metadata within the spec; boundaries are porous!


  • i.e., collection records
  • "data about data"
  • generally text-based
  • can be descriptive, structural, administrative
  • e.g., label or keyword; page number or file path;  ISSN or copyright
  • can be stored and restored in many formats, e.g., XML, CSV, JSON, MARC


collection items

"collections as data"

Wax tries to follow a "collections as data" model by separating canonical data from prose and styling and by using open formats for re-usability.

See: 50 Things --- Always Already Computational: Collections as Data (https://zenodo.org/record/3066237)

wax examples

See examples at


wax data & metadata

what does a CSV *actually* look like?

tips & gotchas

  • Gotcha: Avoid Microsoft Excel! It uses custom, hidden newline characters than can break your character encoding
  • Gotcha: Avoid styling within metadata as much as possible (e.g, a bold phrase within a description)
  • Gotcha: Use UTF-8 whenever possible for your metadata and text editing. It'll support diacritics and special characters with less chance of breaking something
  • Tip: Pay attention to quotation marks! They are functionally significant in many file formats
  • Tip: Use linters like CSVLint, JSONLint, and YAMLlint to troubleshoot formatting problems

preview: what will wax do with this data & metadata?

  1. Use your high quality images and PDFs to create derivatives: i.e., copies and transformations of the files that are optimized for online viewing & sharing
  2. Use your metadata records to:

a. automatically generate 1 web page per item

b. add alt text where appropriate

c. populate the search index

d. and more

Dream Lab x Minimal Computing 1

By marii

Dream Lab x Minimal Computing 1

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