Omeka: Digital Tool Review

Sara Scannell is a student in Digital Humanities at Belmont University.

Omeka is a valuable resource for anyone interested in digital humanities — both in terms of creation and consumption. The web-publishing platform allows users to create sites that can display collections, create virtual archives and exhibits, make teaching websites, and more. Creating a free site is fairly easy. To begin, a user will upload their gallery or other digital content. The content will be categorized using the Dublin Core system to universalize the site’s metadata. Once all the content is uploaded, putting all the pieces together into a site is also pretty simple. Creating a gallery or exhibit is as easy as clicking and dragging images into the right place. Users can tag different language in their text so that visitors can more easily find what they are looking for. Conveniently, it is also compatible with other sites like YouTube so that users can use multiple mediums on their projects. For site aesthetics, a number of attractive themes are provided. The rest of the site can be modified through a vast number of plugins that do everything from connecting social media to importing CSV data files. In order to give creators full control of their site, Omeka also includes a feature that allows people to give different levels of permissions to different contributors. This is valuable because it can allow for the public to contribute, but prevents the rogue, sometimes unfiltered and incorrect contributions that can dominate sites like Wikipedia. The Omeka forums are a great resource for users with questions, as a number of more experienced users share their expertise regularly. Interestingly, many significant digital humanities projects, like Bracero, use Omeka as a basis for their site. But it is also being used by librarians, archivists, museum curators, teachers and many others. Omeka.org is free and open source for all, although it has some limited functions and is more difficult to make changes to. Omeka.net has the same function but requires the purchase of a plan, with pricing ranging from $35 a year to $1,000 a year.

This video provides a valuable overview if you would like more information.


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