Platform & Data Model

This website runs on Omeka S, an open-source platform that allows us to publish linked open data and connect it with digital archival sources. The site currently uses the Freedom theme.

The New Jersey Slavery Records project began with the descriptive model created by On These Grounds (OTG). The OTG model applies anti-racist principles and lessons from Black digital humanities scholarship to develop classification and terminology for describing Events, Persons, Organizations, and Places found in archival records. The Scarlet and Black Research Center has worked extensively to test this data model through our partnership with On These Grounds. Documentation for this data model and the associated controlled vocabularies can be seen on the On These Grounds website and in this useful OTG Documentation GitBook. Our website uses version 1.1 of the OTG model.

Events are the central building blocks of this model. Persons and Organizations are linked as participants in Events, while Place records provide location data linked to Event records.

We have extended the original OTG data model to include an additional Event Participation record class, which allows us to connect multiple core participants to an event and capture age, freedom status, and enslaver information for each core participant (the original OTG model assumes one primary participant per event).

Additionally, we use a Bibliographic Resource record class to publish digitized facsimiles of archival documents that serve as Sources of data for event records. The work of digitizing the archival documents for this project is ongoing. We use the Source Vocabulary created by Enslaved.org to describe document types.

We use OTG's extensive controlled vocabulary of Event Types as the starting point for coding events. As we continue to develop the database and encounter new information in the archives, we sometimes find it necessary to add new event types that do not exist in the original OTG controlled vocabulary. Our Event Types page provides a list of all the terms currently in use in the database, along with examples and usage notes.