Omeka is a useful tool for digital scholarship as it allows the ability to perform a range of tasks. One can build archives, exhibits, catalog items, add metadata and arrange items and categories as is necessary for the particular project. While Omeka is easy to get up and running, with a number of features, it is tricky to get it to function in a particular way, especially if one has a particular traffic flow or wireframe in ming. Omeka can be useful for organizing and displaying a large variety of projects. But as each digital project brings its own set of nuances, one will often need to customize the project. Coding experience is key if one wants to customize. Additionally, the current install of Omeka seems to be quite buggy, so not just coding experience is necessary, but often extensive CS experience is crucial to launch and sustain successful Omeka projects.
The advantage of Omeka lies in its ability to add metadata to items so that the project is easily accessed by other scholars and interested parties. The benefits and weaknesses of Dublin Core default metadata standard that is applied to all items cut both ways. Clearly it is good to have a metadata schema applied to digital objects for collaborative work, inter-institutional participation, general access and sustaining the archive in perpetuity. But, on the other hand, Dublin Core is a loose metadata standard. One can fill it out sloppily, according to their own rules, or differently for each item, which is, in many cases, renders the Dublin Core metadata schema not particularly useful for outside parties wishing to access and find particular items in a digitally curated archive or exhibit. A project that does a particularly nice job integrating original sources, metadata and contextualizing information to develop a pedagogical tool can be found in Making the History of 1989, a site developed by the Roy RosenxweigCenter for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.
Go to www.omeka.net and click on Sign Up. Choose the Basic plan. Fill in the sign-up form. Check your email for the link to activate your account. Then you will be up and running with the online CMS! If you want to install on a server, this process will be more arduous. I do not advise it.
Leave a Reply.
This is the DH Blog of Britt Paris, a 2nd-year IS PhD student at UCLA.