Omeka used for access to output from large digitisation project in UK

This is just a quick note to say that I have just helped to launch - an Omeka-based website used to provide access to over 31,000 digitised historic photos, films, and audio recordings from across Cornwall, in the far south west of the UK.

Omeka has proven to be an excellent choice, not least because of its excellent base features, but also because of the friendly development community and great plugins to extend its functionality.

Given that there were many hundreds of spreadsheets, the CSV Import plugin deserves a special mention, and I'm very grateful to the authors.

If you're interested in Cornish history, do visit and have a browse.



Thanks much! The site looks great. Any chance of sharing the theme?

I used the sckls-omeka theme by Interactive Mechanics ( with their kind permission, and then I modified it for our needs.

I forked it here, but it has lots of hard-wired modifications for our specific requirements (and I was learning to use PHP/Git/GitHub, so please be gentle - it was a great learning experience, and hey - it works!) so it's no longer really a theme in the fullest sense:

Before using anything I've done, it's best to check back with InteractiveMechanics regarding reuse.



Awesome - thanks so much for sharing. My archive's collection only houses about 4500 photos for digitization, but I agree that CSV Import has proved to be a valuable tool. We're still working through our scanning and cataloging process, as well as refining the user experience for our visitors, so I really appreciate you sharing your site!

The Corrections plugin is also working overtime - well - I am, thanks to it!

In the week that our site has been live we have received 20 corrections and amendments. I have kept the Corrections form simple by keeping a single comment box, but I may review that given how busy it has been. I haven't had to reject any suggested extra information and we will be feeding back suggested changes to the collectors, archives and museums who have contributed media to the project.

Tom, that's especially good to hear, since Corrections was kind of a quickie that I wanted for a side-project.

That is a good idea - I could probably use Corrections to help identify people in our photos. I need to think about that a little (I created a separate google form/spreadsheet).

I'am testing Omeka right now for a similar project here in Belgium. We are using a API based collection management tool and we want OMEKA to use it's data via harvesting to present them in a website with galleries, exhibits, etc. In fact it might be possible to create different sites starting from one Omeka site if I understood it correctly.

Could you tell me how you got all the items in Omeka? Did you use CVS import or Harvesting via OAI-MPH?

@patrickmj - Corrections - quickie or not - is a fantastic idea and it works well. We can't get every description correct and it allows us to value and engage with our audiences who are often experts in their own areas. Thank you for making it.

@georgiawebgurl - That's a nice idea for the plugin. We are also going to batch tag "unknown" portraits and provide links to the tag to make it easy to group/flag photos we need particular help identifying.

@Corfromleuven - Omeka could certainly be used that way. Omeka can export from one to another (although I'm not sure if files will move across too). I used CSV Import (and OpenRefine to do some quick cleaning of the data and to formulate a URL for each file to be imported) for every items. We had many collections to add, and some of the larger collections had to be split into smaller batches. The digitisation project was fairly simple - a folder structure with Masters (TIFF), Edits (TIFF), and Access (JPG), and a LibreOffice spreadsheet to describe each file (which also had a unique ID, which was also the filename). In the future we will use a DAM which can connect to Omeka (hopefully ResourceSpace).

Another digitisation project I help to run, Omeka is the DAM (on a LAN with Archive Repertory plugin & original files stored on alternate server) as its requirements are very simple.

@Tom: I don't think that Omeka has a plugin for this moment allowing interaction with a full fledged API. It's not in the strategy until now: it's Omeka to Omeka or OAI-MPH in strickt Dublin Core format. I doubt if Omeka will ever allow users to create their own database tables/record logic as is the case for instance in Wordpress. Would be a great asset, but I doubt it.
I hope, though, that they would create plugins for other XML types or JSON than OAI-MPH in the near future.

The DAM connection I'm thinking of would be very simple and certainly using Dublin Core. Omeka can already connect to Fedora so perhaps someone can work it out, or develop OAI-PMH for ResourceSpace... Maybe one day :-)

For new db tables and logic, that could be a matter of a new plugin, depending on the details.

For API interaction, Omeka has a REST API, supporting POST and PUT. Either a middle layer or a plugin that knows how to read the remote API should be able to handle most needs -- with a little work! :)