Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Fun New Things for Omeka 2.0 (Part 1)

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The Omeka dev team has been hard at work making many changes and improvements to Omeka in anticipation of our next major release, 2.0. We will make a release candidate available in mid- to late- October for testing.

We want to alert the community of the changes coming, in hopes that it will help users plan their projects and prepare for theme and plugin development work. The most significant changes in 2.0 will effect sites with customized themes and plugins, and we will outline those changes in Part II.

Administration

While much of the work for 2.0 occurred under the hood, web designer Kim Nguyen tackled the challenge of refreshing and improving the look and functionality of the administrative interface. Users will notice that the theme is completely rewritten.

The new Omeka Admin Dashboard is streamlined to improve workflow, management, and overall usability of the administrative side of Omeka. Some notable improvements include:

  • Easier access to main admin functions and site settings from the Dashboard.
  • Cleaner, more efficient item editing page — no more scrolling to the bottom to click “Submit”!
  • Ability to annotate Dublin Core element descriptions, and other element set fields to provide guidance on interpreting fields.
  • Option to re-order the admin display of Dublin Core elements, and other element sets, for item metadata entry.
  • Easier user management with bulk operations on users.
  • Easier customization of site navigation.

Here is an “exclusive” preview of the new Admin Dashboard:

Experienced Omeka content creators may need a day or two to get used to a slightly different layout, but we think that everyone will find the changes improve their experience when working with content in the Admin.

Search

The search facility in Omeka 2.0 is vastly improved. Search functions across all of your Simple Pages and Exhibit content in addition to item metadata, as was previously the case. Moreover, plugins can easily add their own content to the search mechanism. If you will be upgrading from an existing Omeka installation, the search index can be easily updated from the administration pages to make sure users can find what they are looking for.

File Handling

Depending on how your server is configured, Omeka 2.0 will generate jpeg derivatives of many more file types, including PDF files and videos. These thumbnail images will appear in browse and exhibit pages. Additional metadata about files will also be available.

These changes will be most visible to project and content managers. For changes effecting designers and developers, stay tuned for Part II.

Mon Dieu! Omeka is coming to your language!

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

The next release of Omeka will include internationalization, which gives our loyal Omekans one more way to contribute to the project: by helping us translate Omeka into your favorite non-English language!

We are using the Transifex.net site to manage our translations, which will then be shipped with the next version of Omeka. To work on a translation, just register for a free account there, and go to the Omeka project page. Translation work is organized into teams for each language, so click the teams tab to see what languages have already been started. If someone has already started working on your language, follow that link, and ask to join that team. If not, request to create a new team for your language. Additional information is in the Translate Omeka page in our documentation.

Have some spare time over the holidays? Want to contribute to Omeka while you exercise your language skills? Then sign up for a Transifex.net account and help us bring Omeka to an even wider audience!

Sharing themes and plugins on Omeka.org

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The Omeka Team is happy to announce some changes to how we produce our lists of themes and plugins to make it easier for third parties to have their hard work listed there. These changes are intended to support our community of designers and developers, as well as make it easier for users to find help when using third-party addons.

Designers and developers will now be able to create a page about their plugin on omeka.org and upload their addon to share it with the world.

Designers should read the Designing a Theme page, and plugin developers should read the Building a Plugin page. Both designers and developers will also want to read the details about Preparing your addon for the omeka.org addons lists.

We hope that this will help our community expand and learn from each other, while also helping designers and developers publicize their hard work.

Please keep in mind that the system is new, and surprises could happen. Please help us improve the system either by asking about it on our dev list, or by submitting an issue about it on GitHub.

Do you share your data?

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Since 2009, any Omeka website may make their data available by activating the OAI-PMH Repository plugin and may harvest OAI-PMH data sets with the OAI-PMH Harvester. Now, the OAI-PMH Harvester plugin is available with every Omeka.net site. Are you sharing and harvesting?

Some online repositories expose their metadata through the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), an “initiative to develop and promote interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content.”

We here at CHNM developed Omeka with interoperability as a key feature from its early stages. We also envisioned that Omeka would facilitate the sharing of digital collections and archives across institutions and individuals. For example, a regional cultural consortium could highlight collections in an Omeka site featuring digital objects from local museums, galleries, and libraries focused on on thematic topics or for the purpose of celebrating a local anniversary or special event.

Never tried this sharing thing? All you need to do is to install the OAI-PMH Repository to expose data, and tell someone–either through our list of harvestable Omeka sites, or with the OAI community. The plugin reads an Omeka collection as a set. If you have no collections, your entire archive may be exposed.

If you’re interested in testing out the OAI-PMH Harvester plugin, try these examples of harvestable sets. (Don’t worry, you may delete the harvest when you’re done testing.):

The page of harvestable sets is small and we would like to see it grow. Sign into the wiki, add your base URL, and let the Omeka community know if you are exposing your data. Thanks for sharing!

Help Us Make Omeka Better

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

We are well into our fourth year of the Omeka project and are very pleased that there is a strong community of users and developers working in Omeka.

Thank you to those who already help in a variety of ways:

  • helping fellow users on the forums and developers’ group;
  • tweaking existing Codex pages that you think need a little love;
  • chatting with fellow Omeka developers on the #omekaIRC channel;
  • sharing your finished Omeka projects in the Showcase wiki.

In our continued efforts to ensure that this open-source project belongs to and is cared for by the community and not solely by CHNM, we are seeking volunteers from the community to help improve the documentation by forming a new Documentation Working Group.

We convened such a group over a few phone calls in 2009, and as a result we reorganized the Codex and added many more pages and documented many more functions.

This time around, we want the group to identify areas that need attention in theming and plugin development and customization. Such work may include defining helper functions, identifying useful patterns for plugin and theme development, enhancing explanation of the theme API, adding use cases for customizing specific design elements, or contributing other pages and elements to improve the depth and coverage of the documentation. We want members of this group to be active and regular contributor/editors to the codex and to the community, even if this is your first step toward becoming an Omekan.

We plan to conduct most of the working group discussions on the forums in the Documentation Working Group category, and anyone may subscribe to the discussions. While we will appreciate suggestions, we may ask users with many suggestions to help in the process of documenting.

We all benefit from the community’s participation and the variety of ways that you help fellow Omekans. We hope that through this effort to improve the documentation, we can expand the community of participants.