Issues With Contributor User Role

We have a few teachers who are planning to build exhibits in Omeka with the Our Marathon project, and because of the number of students in these courses, we're a little hesitant to give out Admin privileges to them all. We figured that the "Contributor" role would suffice: these students will be creating exhibits with items that are public, and they'll also be adding their own items.

In testing out how these Contributors might interact with the site, we've encountered two issues so far:

-Contributors are able to see Items marked "Private" in the Items list on the back-end of Omeka (they can also see these private items in the "Recent Items" list. While they can not edit the content on an item's page, they can delete these items (which we're not crazy about). In the list of Contributor features from this page:

It says that Contributors "cannot see items by other contributors that have not been made public." So we're wondering why these issues are popping up.

-The second major issue we're having has to do with the creation of Exhibits. Because students will be working on exhibits over the course of a semester, we don't want these exhibits to be public. However, once a contributor changes the setting of an exhibit from public to private, they receive the following error message:

Omeka has encountered an error
Omeka_Controller_Action_Helper_Db: No record with ID # 22 exists

#0 /var/www/html/marathon/application/libraries/Omeka/Controller/AbstractActionController.php(171): Omeka_Controller_Action_Helper_Db->findById() #1 /var/www/html/marathon/application/libraries/Zend/Controller/Action.php(516): Omeka_Controller_AbstractActionController->editAction() #2 /var/www/html/marathon/application/libraries/Zend/Controller/Dispatcher/Standard.php(308): Zend_Controller_Action->dispatch('editAction') #3 /var/www/html/marathon/application/libraries/Zend/Controller/Front.php(954): Zend_Controller_Dispatcher_Standard->dispatch(Object(Zend_Controller_Request_Http), Object(Zend_Controller_Response_Http)) #4 /var/www/html/marathon/application/libraries/Zend/Application/Bootstrap/Bootstrap.php(97): Zend_Controller_Front->dispatch() #5 /var/www/html/marathon/application/libraries/Zend/Application.php(366): Zend_Application_Bootstrap_Bootstrap->run() #6 /var/www/html/marathon/application/libraries/Omeka/Application.php(79): Zend_Application->run() #7 /var/www/html/marathon/admin/index.php(28): Omeka_Application->run() #8 {main}

The exhibit is still visible to Admins and SuperUsers.

-Finally, Contributors seem unable to delete exhibits: when I've clicked "Delete" as a Contributor, Omeka doesn't respond (no error message, no notification, no new screen). I've tried this on a few different computers, so it doesn't seem like an issue with Cookies.

It seems like students will have to keep exhibits public while they're working / editing / revising them, which we're not crazy about (because visitors to the site will see drafts / incomplete exhibits: and we don't currently have many exhibits on our site, so they won't be buried / hidden from view).

I know that making students Admins is a work-around to these problems, but again, we don't want students we don't know to have that much access to the site. Weirdly, the Contributor user settings do seem to work in our Neatline plugin (i.e. students can make exhibits private and edit them, and basically do everything they're supposed to be able to do as Contributors).

Any advice would be appreciated. I'm not sure if these are general issues with the Contributor User role (has anyone else encountered these problems?) or issues unique to our project? Apologies if these matters have already been discussed: I looked around on the forums prior to writing all this stuff up, but I couldn't find anything.

Also, we're using Omeka 2.0.3, Exhibit Builder 2.0.3, and Neatline 2.0.0. Thanks!


I think there's a lot of different things going on here:

  • The description on the Codex of what Contributor users can see is out of date. For several Omeka versions, Contributors have been able to see all the items, including the non-public ones.
  • Though they can see the other users' non-public items, contributors shouldn't be able to delete them. There's a old bug in Omeka that caused the Delete button to show up, but users wouldn't actually be able to delete, even if they'd see the confirmation popup. This bug was fixed in Omeka 2.0.4 (and so is also fixed in 2.1.1), but it's important to note that it's cosmetic only.
  • A bug in the Exhibit Builder kept Contributors from seeing and working with private Exhibits, even their own. This was fixed with Exhibit Builder 2.1 (bundled with Omeka 2.1+).
  • As for deletion, that looks to still be a problem with the Exhibit Builder. The problem is just that Contributors aren't given permission to see the "Are you sure?" confirmation dialog page, so they can't delete stuff, even though they have the proper permissions to do so.

Summing up, I'd take a look at upgrading to Omeka 2.1.1. It should solve several of the problems you've identified. Your post here helped us identify the last problem, with deleting in Exhibit Builder, so that should be fixed in relatively short order also.


Hi! Thanks so much! I'll pass this info along to the rest of our team.