Page Layout with List of Collection Items Sorted by Date

We use Omeka (2.0.3) for student-built projects. The students create Exhibits using either documents from our Library's Special Collections department, images of works in our campus museum (Fleming Museum), images they have harvested from the web or photos they have taken themselves. In general we want to highlight the Exhibits and the accompanying student-produced narratives, so we do not have an easy link to the standard (and in our case, multiple) Collections pages although determined visitors can get there by drilling down to an Item and finding the Collections link there. We're not averse to showing the Collections page--we just want the narrative contexts of the Exhibits to be the focus.

Recently, however, some students have so enjoyed the discovering, scanning, metadata encoding process in working with historic documents that they have added more documents to a Collection than they actually use in the Exhibit narratives. They would like to make sure their work on those documents is not wasted, and we would like to provide visitors an easy way to see those documents as well.

I would like to display a list of all Items in a Collection sorted by the Dublin Core Date field. In looking through our Omeka folders/files I see the show.php and browse.php files as mentioned in Bob Speray's reply to a Forum post last year ( so I'll try editing them to to display that list. However, these are in the Collections folder at the admin level. I don't want to change the Collections page display for all Exhibits, just for some.

So at last, here's the real question:
Can I build a Page Layout that displays this list? That is, in an Exhibit I want to Add a Page and choose a Page Layout that will display a list of the Titles of all Items in the Collection, in Dublin Core/Date order (ascending), with the Title being a link to the Item, and no thumbnails/images. (With over 400 docs in this collection that all look about the same--mostly typewritten letters--we really don't need the thumbnails!) An added bonus would be to include the first 10 or so words of the Description field. How would I, or is it even possible, to make a Page Layout that does this, especially so I can use it in multiple Exhibits? And, just to be clear since I see some other Forum discussions on the topic of sorting: I'm not trying to give visitors a way to sort as they choose--I want the resulting list to always be sorted by date order.

Caveat: I've hacked my way through editing Page Layouts before but hacking, in my case, means whacking away at things with a trial-and-error machete, not wielding a scalpel with great skill and expertise, so novice-level (i.e. dead simple?) advice is appreciated. Then again, if you look at the site you may notice the theme the students like to use is a variation of Rhythm that we updated for 2.0 and rearranged to allow for nested sub-sections so I'm willing to try anything!

Here's a link to the draft site:

You'll notice that the documents' titles include the spelled out date (U.S. form) but the DC Date fields are entered as YYYY-MM-DD (or at least they all will be once we get the students to clean them up).


First, congratulations that your students are getting so into the metadata!

Depending on the details of site structure and organization and how people find their ways to that list of items in a collection, there are a couple different options.

If the primary goal is just to have that list available, and a link from somewhere in the Exhibit is sufficient, then you could just make a link to items/browse page, with some parameters like so:,Date&sort_dir=a. Since it doesn't look like you are using the items/browse page elsewhere, you might be able to just make that link to give credit, and edit that file's theme page as needed for the changes you describe.

On the other hand, if it is important to have that list displayed within the exhibit itself, that moves you into the more complicated territory of writing a plugin following this guide. Your plugin would create a new layout which would then, essentially, recreate that items/browse page.

If seems like you'd get the most value for effort to go with the first option, unless there are other considerations that I'm missing.

A long overdue thank-you! I'll use the link you provided and start tinkering.