Archive for the ‘Partners’ Category

Omeka is for Art Historians

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

We recently wrapped up a small development grant from the Getty Foundation that allowed the Omeka team to work directly with a group of art historians to design three new themes and two plugins that address some needs for doing art history work with Omeka.

Omeka for Art Historians Working Group

Omeka team on the left, art history working group on the right

Beginning in October 2015, we created a working group of art historians already using Omeka, and convened the group at the College Art Association conference in February 2016. Over the course of one year, each working group member advised the Omeka team on plugin development and theme design. They did this by testing on a development site and responding through online surveys and email conversations.

We are grateful for the time and effort invested by the working group: Michele Greet, Kimon Keramidas, Barbara Mundy, Meghan Musolff, Miriam Posner, Daniela Sandler, and Nathan Timpano .

While we worked with a targeted group of users, all of the products from this grant are available for the entire Omeka community to use, and are available now.


Kim Nguyen, Omeka’s lead designer, created 3 beautiful new themes:

Omeka developer Patrick Murray-John developed 2 new plugins:

  • VRA Core adds a metadata element set useful for describing visual resources
  • Editorial allows for feedback on drafts of exhibits

Specifications for the Editorial plugin came directly from needs articulated from working group member Kimon Keramidas who teaches with Omeka regularly. He wanted to offer feedback to students while they drafted exhibits directly within the Omeka platform. To help others integrate Omeka’s narrative building capabilities in a workflow that works for a semester-long course, Kimon wrote up a short case study. He offers a workflow for using Omeka, the Exhibit Builder, and Editorial plugins together.

We are very grateful to the Getty Foundation for their support of this initiative that was a direct outcome of their digital art history summer institutes. We hope that through these new themes, plugins, and documentation, we are contributing to a growing body of digital art history work.

Beta Release: Omeka Everywhere Collection Viewer

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

We are happy to announce the beta release of the Omeka Everywhere Collection Viewer!

What is it? The Omeka Everywhere Collection Viewer (OECV) allows you to connect an existing Omeka Classic installation to a multi-touch table or tablet for an in-gallery experience.

Who is it for? OECV is for museums, historical societies, special collections libraries, and anyone with an exhibit space who wants to provide an in-gallery experience to connect visitors with their collections.

How does it work? Using the built-in API in your Omeka site, OECV pulls content from a collection of your choice to your multi-touch table or tablet. Visitors then browse by tags, which are organized alphabetically in a drawer at the bottom of the screen or the long edges of the table. Each time a visitor selects a tag (up to three at a time), items with the tag load in the drawer. Visitors can select items to go up on the stage, where they can pinch to zoom, flip the item over to view its metadata, and even push the item across the table to a friend on the other side.

Where can I find it? Download the beta release from Ideum’s GitHub repository. Please note that you will need a multi-touch table or a tablet running Windows 7, 8, or 10 in order to use the beta. Technical documentation, including requirements, is available from Ideum and Omeka-specific documentation is available on

Omeka Everywhere is a collaboration between the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Ideum, the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media and Design Department, and is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

IMLS funds Omeka Everywhere

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, in partnership with Ideum and the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media Center, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a National Leadership Grant for Museums from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences to create Omeka Everywhere. Dramatically increasing the possibilities for visitor access to collections, Omeka Everywhere will offer a simple, cost-effective solution for connecting onsite web content and in-gallery multi-sensory experiences, affordable to museums of all sizes and missions, by capitalizing on the strengths of two successful collections-based open-source software projects: Omeka and Open Exhibits.

Currently, museums are expected to engage with visitors, share content, and offer digitally-enabled experiences everywhere: in the museum, on the Web, and on social media networks. These ever-increasing expectations, from visitors to museum administrators, place a heavy burden on the individuals creating and maintaining these digital experiences. Content experts and museum technologists often become responsible for multiple systems that do not integrate with one another. Within the bounds of tight budget, it is increasingly difficult for institutions to meet visitors’ expectations and to establish a cohesive digital strategy. Omeka Everywhere will provide a solution to these difficulties by developing a set of software packages, including Collections Viewer templates, mobile and touch table applications, and the Heist application, that bring digital collections hosted in Omeka into new spaces, enabling new kinds of visitor interactions.

Omeka Everywhere will expand audiences for museum-focused publicly-funded open source software projects by demonstrating how institutions of all sizes and budgets can implement next-generation computer exhibit elements into current and new exhibition spaces. Streamlining the workflows for creating and sharing digital content with online and onsite visitors, the project will empower smaller museums to rethink what is possible to implement on a shoestring budget. By enabling multi-touch and 3D interactive technologies on the museum floor, museums will reinvigorate interest in their exhibitions by offering on-site visitors unique experiences that connect them with the heart of the institution—their collections.

Omeka 1000

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Just before the launch of the Omeka public beta in late February, my colleagues and I had a brief conversation about metrics for the project and what would constitute success. The number we settled on for the three year lifespan of our IMLS grant was 1000 downloads. A little modest maybe—10,000 was our pie-in-the-sky figure—but considering Omeka’s primary audience consists of cultural heritage institutions (as opposed to individual end users) we thought 1000 institutions in three years would constitute a fairly big splash.

Little did we know that we would reach our goal in matter of 10 weeks. By May we had passed our target of 1000 downloads, and our current count stands at more than 1300.

At the same time, we know that number of downloads isn’t a perfect measure of success. When it comes to assessing use of the software, just as important as how many is how well. We know we have to make sure that test installations don’t sit unused. In this regard, we are encouraged by the increasingly heavy traffic in our user forums, our Google Groups developers’ list, and our “sandbox” public test installation. People are really banging on the software, pushing it to its limits, finding and fixing lots of bugs. That means they are really using it, which is exactly what we want. Yet we also have to make sure that people are using those installations to full effect. Here we are working hard to improve our documentation, to provide a comprehensive set of screencast video tutorials, and to build and release a host of new, freely downloadable design themes and plugins. Finally, we are taking the tremendous amount of feedback we have received, both through these channels and through the many presentations and workshops we have given, and incorporating it into a major rewrite of the software itself—Omeka 0.10.0 is scheduled for release in late summer or early fall 2008.

In February I said that Omeka is intended for all. Some have said this is wishful thinking, that Omeka is still too complicated to be used by the smallest of institutions or individual enthusiasts, students, or scholars. Obviously I disagree, and I would make two arguments in response.

First, a big part of our plan is a hosted version of the software. Our model is WordPress. On the one hand, people with access to a server (or an account of one of dozens of shared hosting services) and some relatively modest technical skills can set up their own Omeka installation, just as they can download and install the WordPress server application. On the other hand, beginning in 2009, people without a server or the necessary skills will be able to sign up for an account at and we will host the software for them, just as they can sign up for a hosted blog at

Second, we’re going to try. We’re not willing to write small institutions off. To this end we are working one-on-one with small institutions such as the Laurel Grove School, which with our help will publish a document-based curriculum and virtual tour using Omeka. We are also reaching out more broadly through state humanities councils. Last month, for instance, I spent a day with Margie McLellan and Mark Tebeau at the Ohio Humanities Council presenting Omeka to a group of about 50 representatives from small and medium sized cultural heritage institutions from across the state. We are now engaged in further talks with the Council about ways to connect small institutions across Ohio with experienced Omeka users and developers in the state to form partnerships that will extend their capabilities. Our hope is that we develop a model that can be reproduced in states across the country, fostering not only wider use of Omeka and more professional online exhibitions, but also new partnerships between small cultural heritage institutions, humanities councils, local web designers, state colleges and universities, and others.

We don’t expect everyone to be able to use Omeka on his or her own. But collaboration has always been key to all digital humanities and cultural heritage work. Thus we’re working directly and indirectly to facilitate new models of collaboration around Omeka, and we hope these models will let let any institution or individual, in partnership with us or a third party and using the technologies and resources we make available, build standards-based, professional-looking, rich-content online collections and exhibitions.

That’s our goal and we’re sticking to it.

[Crossposted from Found History]

Omeka at NYPL: Eminent Domain

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

I’m pleased to announce the New York Public Library has released its first online exhibition using the Omeka platform. Eminent Domain is a photographic installation chronicling the changing nature of urban space in New York City today. NYPL Labs is planning a series of projects using Omeka and its developers have become very active on the Omeka forums and dev list. I think I can speak for the entire team and say we’re very grateful for their help and impressed with the results of their first foray with Omeka.

[Crossposted from Found History]

Partners Meeting in MN

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

We have returned from a very productive meeting organized by our great partners at the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) in St. Paul. We worked, listened, and discussed Omeka 0.9.0 with folks from MHS, along with others from the Great Rivers Network, University of Minnesota libraries, Science Museum of Minnesota, Carleton College library, Northfield Historical Society and Public Library, Stillwater Public Library, and Hennepin County Medical Center History Museum.

Our goals for this meeting were threefold:

1. To introduce Omeka and projects built upon its base.

2. To demonstrate how Omeka works by building and shaping an archive and then pulling items together for a mock curated exhibit.

3. To discuss concerns and listen to feedback on Omeka’s user interface, overall functionality, and potential new features.

Our working group was incredibly lively and talkative, which pleased us. We took copious notes and are sharing them with the entire Omeka team.

While Omeka is flexible for many projects, we are particularly concerned with meeting the needs of smaller museums and libraries who have fascinating collections to share, but lack an inexpensive and easy way to publish them online. One workshop participant volunteers at the Stillwater Public Library and works with their special collections. She wants to digitize many of their documents and publish them in a system that is fully searchable and easy to access, because she knows that many researchers do not know the breadth of their collections. She liked using Omeka and hopes that it can provide the library with an affordable solution for accomplishing their goals.

Other participants came to the meeting with collaboration in mind. A group of libraries and museums from Northfield, MN envisions using Omeka to aggregate data stored in different collections and content management systems. Omeka not only offers this group a database for publishing their resources online, but will eventually provide plugins to make batch importing of records from different CMS’s into installations possible and easy.

The most recent report from IMLS found that adults trust museum and library websites more than other sources of information, including government sites. So, why not publish more content? We think Omeka can expand the amount of content available in the current museum- and library-sphere, and can increase the presence of medium and smaller museums and libraries who want to share their expertise and collections with eager online audiences.