Digital Exhibits: Omeka
Omeka is a free, open-source content management system for online digital collections. As a web application, it allows users to publish and exhibit cultural heritage objects, and extend its functionality with themes and plugins. A lightweight solution in comparison to traditional institutional repository software like DSpace and Fedora, Omeka has a focus on display and uses an unqualified Dublin Core metadata standard. (from Wikipedia)
If you are within SUNY, you can get Omeka via SUNY Create. If you are not part of SUNY, you can download and install Omeka Classic (best for individuals) or Omeka S (best for institutions) on your own server, or you can use the hosted version at Omeka.net. They have a free, limited version, as well as a range of plans at varying costs.
Examples of Omeka Projects
- University at Buffalo Libraries Digital Collections uses Omeka.
- Omeka Classic Showcase
- If you want to find Omeka collections for a particular topic, add the phrase "Proudly Powered by Omeka" surrounded by quotes to your search query to find Omeka-powered sites which touch on your search topic. This will work if the site administrators have not removed that text from the footer of their site.
Learn to use Omeka
Resources for learning Omeka
- Omeka Classic User Manual
- Omeka S User Manual
- Omeka Sugar
- Omeka Resource Guide from the University of Rochester River Campus Libraries
- Getting Started with Omeka - A Tutorial (video)
- Creating a Digital Exhibit with Omeka (video)
- Creating an Omeka Exhibit - Programming Historian
- Digital Art History and Visual Culture Research Lab - they have a number of videos on using Omeka itself and on using the Omeka plugin Neatline
- Searching "Omeka tutorial" will get you loads more information. There is also a discussion forum for Omeka users where you can get answers to many common questions.
Considerations when Using Omeka
While Omeka is fully functional upon installation, it can be enhanced through the installation of plugins. For example, the CSV Import plugin allows you to batch import items, tags, and files from CSV files. If you have a large number of items to import to Omeka, this can be a huge time saver. If you want to build exhibits in Omeka, rather than just collections, you will need to install the Exhibit Builder plugin. If you are using a local installation of Omeka, or if you're using Omeka through SUNY Create, you can install an unlimited number of plugins. However, if you are using Omeka.net, you are limited in the number of plugins you can use based on the level you pay for.
Note that, while plugins are generally well-behaved and do what they're told, they may not always act as they should. To make sure a plugin both acts as expected and doesn't mess up your site, install one plugin at a time and test it before installing another plugin. It can be tempting to install a bunch of interesting plugins at once, but control that urge so that you can more easily troubleshoot problems that may come up.