Introduction to the database

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The database is composed of 5 main tabs, sometimes divided into multiple sub-tabs, linked together by 1-to-n or n-to-n relationships. A tab (or resource template) is a thematic group of items (or entries).

    LOCATION is intended to describe every location, namely sites and buildings, in which timber evidence and structural units have been found.

    SPACE is intended to describe the spaces in which structural units and timber evidence have been found, such as rooms, staircases, roads, corridors, etc.

    STRUCTURAL UNIT is intended to describe structural units. It is divided into 20 sub-tabs corresponding to the different structural units one might encounter in the field.

    TIMBER EVIDENCE is intended to describe timber evidence. It is divided into 10 sub-tabs corresponding to the different timber evidence one might encounter in the field.

    CHARCOALS AND PRESERVED WOOD is intended to describe charcoals and wood resources.

The shortest path to fill in the tabs is the following one:



However, it is not mandatory to fill them all at once. The filling strategy is to be discussed with your team.



Items are single entries corresponding to the description of every location, space, structural unit, timber evidence, charcoal, and preserved wood. Apart from bibliographical references, each item must be given a Unique Key number (see below, Insert values).

Items are listed in the Items tab (the box icon) in the left-hand navigation of the administrative dashboard.

To quickly view the basic information about an item, click the ‘Details (ellipsis)’ button in the row for the item, located next to the edit and delete buttons. This will open a drawer to the right of the list which displays the item’s title, description, visibility, any sites it is used in, and its associated media.

For a more detailed look at an individual item, click on its title in the items browse table or when viewing its details.

To add a new item, see below (Insert values).


Item sets

Item sets are aggregations of items. In Omeka S, items may belong to any number of sets, and an item set can have any number of items. Item sets are managed via the ‘Item sets’ tab (the icon of three stacked boxes) located in the left-hand navigation of the admin dashboard.



The database uses three semantic web vocabularies:

  • Dublin Core for the title of each entity
  • Getty Museum's Thesaurus Art & Architecture for charcoals and preserved wood species identification
  • Timma Project Ontology for all the other fields


The latter has been created for the purposes of this project.  We use interoperable standards (turtle and JSON-LD) in order to make our model of data available to any other project related to timber and wood resources.


Add a new item


To create a new item, click on the ‘Item’ button in the control panel and then on the ‘Add new item’ button in the top right corner of the window.


Select in the ‘Resource template’ list the tab to be filled in.

Example: 1. LOCATION


The same path must be followed for each tab.

  1. You are driven by default to the ‘Values’ panel. Fill the cells following the guideline on the left.
  2. Click on the ‘Media’ button and import as many pictures as you want.
  3. Click on the ‘Item sets’ button and link the current item to its item set.

Example: A LOCATION item must be linked to the LOCATION item set

  1. Click on the ‘Sites’ button and activate or disactivate the publication mode of the current item. The visibility of each item is set by default. This means that the item will be automatically published on the TiMMA website, unless you disactivate it.



Insert values

Unique key numbers

Before creating any new item, make sure that it has not already been created.

To do this, you must refer to the ‘TIMMA DATABASE CODES’ sheet, using this link:


If this is the first time you are using this sheet, you may request access by sending an email to


The sheet is composed of several tabs named after those in the database.








Click on the relevant tab and use the filters to check if the item you are going to create already exists.

If the item does not already exist, you must assign it a unique key number (UK). This will prevent duplicates and give every entry a single identification code.

To do so, use the first available UK in the relevant tab of the ‘TIMMA DATABASE CODES’ sheet and fill in the corresponding cells. Make sure that there are no active filters at this moment, as this could cause duplicates.


Example: the first location item is given the following information










This UK must then be reported to the first cell - ‘Code name (Unique Key)’ - of the tab you are about to fill in (in this case, the LOCATION tab).




Fill the cells

Each cell is preceded by a field label. Underneath is a guideline you may want to read as it defines the kind of cell you are dealing with.


There are three kind of cells:

  • Free text cells

In the cell, type any useful information according to the guideline



  • Items

Link the current item to one or several other items


  • List of values

Choose from the values in the dropdown menu


Add values

Although there is one cell per field by default, multiple cells can be added when several values are required. To do this, click on the ‘Add values’ button.


Example: In the ‘SPACE’ tab, the field ‘Function of the space’ is intended to detail what the space was used for. As spaces can be multifunctional, you may need to add multiple values.


Example: In the ‘TIMBER EVIDENCE’ tab, the field ‘Space’ is intended to link each piece of timber evidence to one or several spaces. In the case of a doorframe, for instance, it is necessary to link the structural unit and timber evidence to two different spaces by adding values.



Add bibliography

The cell ‘Bibliography’ is intended to add bibliographical references. Please note that the database is directly linked to a Zotero group from which bibliographic references are directly imported. To add bibliographical references, click on the ‘Items’ button and choose the ‘Bibliography’ item set in the ‘Filter search’. Type any words from the title or one of the authors’ names in the search bar (e.g., Treuil) and click on the magnifying glass symbol.

Once found, click on the desired bibliographical reference in the right panel and press the ‘Select resource’ button in the bottom right corner.




In case the searched reference is not present, send an email to It will be added almost immediately. If you are familiar with Zotero or wish to become so, feel free to request a contributor role and read the 'How to use the Zotero library' section. You will then be able to add new bibliographical references yourself.

If you want to add a page number, figure number, or plate, use the ‘Text’ button underneath to type the short reference.

Example: Treuil, Schmid, 2017, p.165, fig. 49, pl. XIII.



In the case of several bibliographical references, and to avoid any confusion, ensure that each short reference follows the full bibliographical reference it is connected with.