Omeka

Omeka is the latest addition to VicNode’s services and sits at the crossroads of Web Content Management, Collections Management, and Archival Digital Collections Systems. The term ‘Omeka’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘to display’ or ‘to lay out wares; to speak out; to spread out; to unpack.’

Table of contents

Overview

What—Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of archives, library, museum, and scholarly collections and exhibits. It allows users to create complex narratives around collections, which are then shared with viewers in unique and interesting ways.

Why—Omeka uses a simple and flexible templating system, designed with non-IT specialists in mind. This means that users can focus on content and interpretation rather than programming. Omeka can handle large archives of metadata and files (over 100,000 items), making it extensible and scalable with the only limitation being your own server.

How—Omeka uses Web 2.0 technologies and approaches to cultural and scholarly websites to foster greater user interaction and participation. By adhering to Dublin Core standards, Omeka allows users to generate insightful and interesting narratives out of their archival materials, whether those be photographs, interviews, artefacts, or scholarly writings. Further, its large open-source developer and user communities work to keep Omeka stable and sustainable.

When—Now. Omeka is ready to go!

Omeka Technology Ecosystem [image source: http://omeka.org/about/]

Omeka User Ecosystem [image source: http://omeka.org/about/]

Making a collection accessible using Omeka

Omeka’s ‘five-minute setup’ makes launching an online exhibition as easy and straightforward as launching a blog. Users can populate an Omeka site by adding items individually or by ‘batch,’ using data migration tools such as the OAI-PMH harvester, and CSV, EAD, and Zotero importer plugins. Omeka accepts and stores all file types, including: images, video, audio, multi-page documents and Pdfs, and Powerpoint presentations.

Managing access to your collection

Visitors to an Omeka collection are able to access the site from a variety of web browsers and internet bandwidth since its packaged themes are designed to be ADA compliant. Upon arriving at a collection, visitors are given multiple access points from which to browse content via items, collections, tag clouds, Google maps, exhibits and more.

Omeka’s advanced searching capacities allow visitors to conduct simple keyword searchers or to refine searches to any Dublin Core metadata field, for example: collection, tag, or item type. Further, Omeka’s pre-packaged design themes provide interesting, logical website architecture for easy site navigation and access to collections.

How Omeka is used

In the past, scholars and cultural heritage professionals looking to publish collections-based research and online exhibitions of all kinds required either technical IT skills or funding from outside sources; sometimes both. By giving users access to a straightforward, standards-based online publishing template, Omeka allows academics, researchers, cultural professionals and others to use its archiving system without the need for prior training.

The Omeka showcase

To introduce Omeka to new users, a showcase has been compiled to demonstrate the types of sites that have been created with the platform already. This showcase shows the diversity of content, institutions, and designs possible with Omeka.

Have a look here: http://omeka.org/showcase/

There is also a wiki pages for “Sites Powered by Omeka”: http://omeka.org/codex/Sites_Using_Omeka

Further information and downloads

For further information, download the Omeka features list: http://omeka.org/files/docs/Featurelist.pdf