OMEKA is an open source web-site builder that was designed by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University with folks in mind who need to produce a digital collection of items that is fairly complex or intricate and needs to function as a digital archive or museum or library exhibit or perhaps even a scholar’s web site.  I’m particularly interested in the possibilities of OMEKA to build a site to share scholarship with other researchers as well as to use in teaching.  The most current version of OMEKA, as of July 14, 2104, is 2.2.2.  Though I have not yet used this software, I have begun investigating what others have done with it and what they have to say about it.

The following are a few things I’ve discovered.

Several example web sites built with OMEKA:

Martha Washington Biography site: Project developed by George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

The Making of the History of 1989 site: Project developed by German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.

Florida Memory site: Project administered by the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services.

Center for the History of Medicine site: Harvard University

 Here’s a link to a video from the OMEKA web site giving a tour of the software. (Note: this is for the 1.0 Version)

Below is an article evaluating an early version of OMEKA:

Using Omeka to Build Digital Collections: The METRO Case Study by Jason Kucsma, Metropolitan New York Library Council; Kevin Reiss, City University of New York; Angela Sidman, City University of New York published in The Magazine of Digital Library Research, 2010.

An excerpt from the article:

“Our interest in deploying a feature-rich digital exhibition tool next led us to consider Omeka, a relatively new open source collection management system that was created by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University. Omeka’s developers appear to have taken design inspiration from WordPress’s success as a general purpose open-source content management system. WordPress is widely known for its ease of installation and high-level of functionality. In this vein, Omeka developers have touted their platform as a “next generation web publishing platform for museums, historical societies, scholars, enthusiasts, and educators.” Our project team thought libraries might also fit into that family; particularly smaller libraries with limited technical staff or financial resources to build and deliver digital collections online. The simplicity of installing and configuring the Omeka system rivals WordPress’s ease-of-use, leading CHNM Director Dan Cohen to suggest Omeka is “WordPress for your exhibitions and collections.” Omeka also utilizes the same theme and plug-in mechanisms as WordPress to provide its users with a means of customizing and creating new system behavior.

Another feature which project staff found attractive was Omeka’s strong and flexible approach to metadata representation. Libraries can work with either the default Dublin Core set, import other metadata sets of their choosing, or create their own customized metadata vocabulary. Additionally, according to the CHNM website: “Omeka provides cultural institutions and individuals with easy-to-use software for publishing collections and creating attractive, standards-based, interoperable online exhibits. Free and open-source, Omeka is designed to satisfy the needs of institutions that lack technical staffs and large budgets.” This fell in with METRO’s goal of exploring new systems as vehicles for collection building and exhibitions that could be recommended to METRO members and other small and medium libraries and archives. Our exploration of potential digital collection management systems overlapped with the Fall 2008 release of the 0.10 beta version of Omeka and the digitalMETRO team decided to join the growing number of projects using the system in beta.”

 There are several posts on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker Column that give a good view of how OMEKA can be used and is being used in the academy.

 A 1-2-3 introduction to OMEKA from 2010.

Also from 2010—an idea from several profs of teaching with OMEKA.

Here’s information (from 2013) about the more recent version:  OMEKA 2.0.

And information (from 2014) about Plugins for Omeka

Finally, here’s an interesting blog post by a history professor at Wheaton College, Kathryn Tomasek, discussing OMEKA and other things she’s doing with digital humanities.  I found her blog in a Google search about OMEKA, and not only discovered info about her recent forays in beginning to use OMEKA, but I also discovered interesting posts about the digital humanities for both teaching and scholarship.  Her blog particularly “spoke” to me, so I’ll be reading more of “Doing History Digitally.”

And I’m going to take a look at a book about writing that Tomasek mentions on her blog:

Wendy Belcher’s Writing Your Journal Article in 12 WeeksBelcher’s web siteHere’s the book’s table of contents from Belcher’s site:

Week 1: Designing Your Plan for Writing

Instruction: Understanding feelings about writing. Keys to positive writing experiences. Designing a plan for submitting your article in twelve weeks. Exercises: Selecting a paper for revision. Choosing your writing site. Designing your writing schedule. Anticipating and overturning writing obstacles.

Week 2: Starting Your Article

Instruction: Types of academic articles. Myths about publishable journal articles. What gets published and why.Abstracts as a tool for success. Getting started on your article revision. Exercises: Hammering out your topic. Rereading your paper. Drafting your abstract. Reading a model article. Revising your abstract.

Week 3: Advancing Your Argument

Instruction: Common reasons why journals reject articles. Main reason journal articles are rejected: no argument. Making a good argument. Organizing your article around your argument. Exercises: Drafting your argument. Reviewing your article for an argument. Revising your article around your argument.

Week 4: Selecting a Journal

Instruction: Good news about journals. The importance of picking the right journal. Types of academic journals: nonrecommended, questionable, and preferred. Finding suitable academic journals.

Exercises: Searching for journals. Evaluating academic journals. Matching your article to suitable journals. Reading relevant journals. Writing a query letter to editors. Making a final decision about which journal.

Week 5: Reviewing the Related Literature

Instruction: Reading the scholarly literature. Types of scholarly literature. Strategies for getting reading done. Identifying your relationship to the related literature. Avoiding plagiarism. Writing about others’ research. Exercises: Evaluating your current citations. Identifying and reading the related literature. Evaluating the related literature. Writing or revising your related literature review.

Week 6: Strengthening Your Structure

Instruction: On the importance of structure. Types of structures. Article structures in the social sciences and humanities. Solving structural problems. Revising for structure. Exercises: Outlining a model article. Outlining your article. Restructuring your article.

Week 7: Presenting Your Evidence

Instruction: Types of evidence. Writing up evidence in the social sciences. Writing up evidence in the humanities. Revising your evidence. Exercises: Discussing evidence in your field. Revisiting your evidence. Shaping your evidence around your argument.

Week 8: Opening and Concluding Your Article

Instruction: On the importance of openings. Revising your opening and conclusion. Exercises: Revising your title. Revising your introduction. Revisiting your abstract, related literature review, and author order. Revising your conclusion.

Week 9: Giving, Getting, and Using Others’ Feedback

Instruction: Types of feedback. Exchanging your articles. Exercises: Sharing your article and getting feedback. Making a list of remaining tasks. Revising your article according to feedback.

Week 10: Editing Your Sentences

Instruction: On taking the time. Types of revising. The rules of editing. The Belcher diagnostic test. Editing your article. Exercises: Running the Belcher diagnostic test. Revising your article with the diagnostic test. Correcting other types of problem sentences.

Week 11 Wrapping Up Your Article Instruction:

On the perils of perfection. Finalizing your article. Exercises: Finalizing your argument, related literature review, introduction, evidence, structure, and conclusion.

Week 12: Sending Your Article!

Instruction: On the importance of finishing. Getting the submission ready. Exercises: Writing the cover letter. Preparing illustrations. Putting your article into the journal’s style. Preparing the final print or electronic version. Send and celebrate!

Week X: Responding to Journal Decisions

Instruction: An exhortation. Waiting for the journal’s decision. Reading the journal’s decision. Types of journal decisions. Responding to journal decisions. Exercises: Evaluating and responding to the journal decision. Planning your revision. Revising your article. Drafting your revision cover letter. Requesting permissions. On the importance of persevering.

Cheers and Happy Writing—whatever platform, Amanda Gable