The following page is meant to help people new to Omeka get a sense of how others have used Omeka for projects, and inform you how to read a site using Omeka to understand what choices the site builders made.
Histories of the National Mall interprets the National Mall's rich past by offering historical maps, a chronology of past events, short bios of significant individuals, and episodes in the Mall's history. The site is built on Omeka, designed and written for optimal reading on a smartphone or tablet.
The team behind Histories of the National Mall wrote a comprehensive explanation of the process behind the project, from planning to building to outreach, and everything in between. "Building Histories of the National Mall: A Guide to Creating a Digital Public History Project" serves as an extended case study in building an Omeka project.
How to read an Omeka site
While not every Omeka site makes use of every feature, there are common threads that make it possible to recognize an Omeka site in the wild.
The easiest of these is the message "Proudly Powered by Omeka" in the footer, which is there by default but may be removed in custom themes. Even if that message is missing, there are clues that a site is built in Omeka which can help you understand the choices the site creators made as the built the site.
Look at the address bar Omeka sites will almost always have the same slug for certain pages:
- browse items is siteurl/items;
- browse collections is siteurl/collections;
- exhibits are siteurl/exhibits.
Even if the site creators have changed the label for these pages in their navigation menu, the urls will generally be the same. Checking the address bar to see what function (item, collection, exhibit, etc) the site is using will help you get a sense of how the creators have structured the site.
Know your themes
Familiarize yourself with the standard themes for Omeka - where the menu is located, how the pages are laid out, and other visual markers of the theme. You will be able to identify frequently-used themes even when colors are changed.
Skim the navigation
- pay attention to urls (exhibit, collection, item, item type, tag)
- identify plugins by menu navigation label
How are others using Omeka?
- Use Omeka to share primary source collections, publish a series of essays, and collaborate with others in the creation of digital scholarship.
- Features and plugins you might like: design themes, exhibit builder, tagging, DocsViewer, Geolocation, Image Annotation, Text Analysis.
- Examples: From Farms to Freeways: Women's Memories of Western Sydney; New Roots: Voices from Carolina del Norte; Intemperance Archive.
- Use Omeka to share collections and build online exhibits to accompany or enhance physical exhibits.
- Features and plugins you might like: Dublin Core metadata standards, W3C and 508 compliant, design themes; Exhibit Builder, Posters, Contribution, Reports, Social Bookmarking, CSV Import, OAI-PMH Repository, and Omeka API Import.
- Examples: John J. Audubon's Birds of America; Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum.
- Use Omeka as the publishing tool to complement your online catalog or launch a digital exhibit.
- Features and plugins you might like: Dublin Core metadata standards, W3C and 508 compliant, extensible and customizable item fields, Posters, Library of Congress Suggest, CSV Import, OAI-PMH Repository, and Omeka API Import.
- Examples: DIY History; Virginia Tech Special Collections Online; Isaiah Thomas Broadside Ballads.
- Use Omeka to share your collections, display documents and oral histories, or create digital archives with user-generated content.
- Features and plugins you might like: Dublin Core metadata standards, W3C and 508 compliant, Exhibit Builder, extensible and customizable item fields, Dublin Core Extended, Docs Viewer plugin, tagging, CSV Import, OAI-PMH Repository, and Omeka API Import.
- Examples: Florida Memory; Digital History Archive of São Roque (in Portugese); Saint John's College Digital Archives.
- Use Omeka to create lesson plans with accompanying primary sources, have students engage in the practices of public history and archival science, or serve as an alternative to written essay assignments.
- Features you might like: different user roles, ability to annotate Exhibit Builder, Editorial, Image Annotation, Text Annotation, Simple Vocab.
- Examples: Fifteenth-Century Italian Art; Goin' North; Ice Age Flood Explorer.
- Use Omeka to share you personal research or collections with the world, build exhibits and write essays that showcase your expertise.
- Features you might like: design themes, Exhibit Builder plugin, Contribution plugin, tagging, social bookmarking plugin.
- Examples: A Shoebox of Norwegian Letters; Square Dance History Project.
Teaching with Omeka
Omeka has been used in classes at the undergraduate and graduate level, as well as by high school students. In addition to the information in the Educator use case (above), the following resources may prove helpful for those wanting to use Omeka in their classroom:
Blog posts and articles:
- Amanda Visconti, Teaching with Omeka DH Consultation Notes, Literature Geek, August 19, 2016.
- Alston Cobourn, Spreading Awareness of Digital Preservation and Copyright via Omeka-based Projects, The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, March 28, 2016.
- Jeffrey McClurken (Associate Professor and Chair of History and American Studies at the University of Mary Washington), “Teaching and Learning with Omeka: Discomfort, Play, and Creating Public, Online, Digital Collections," Learning Through Digital Media Experiments in Technology and Pedagogy, 2011.
- Jeffrey McClurken (Associate Professor and Chair of History and American Studies at the University of Mary Washington). “Teaching with Omeka". ProfHacker blog, Chronicle of Higher Education, August 9, 2010.
Amanda French, Introduction to Omeka Lesson Plan, November 12, 2013.