Omeka!

So now that my digital humanities class is in full swing, each “team” has to make a presentation about the software they are using. (I put team in quotation marks because not every team is made up of multiple people – a few of the programs are run by just one person, like me!) This week, I presented first! Here’s a transcript of what I talked about. 

Hi everyone! My name is Emily, and I’m on the Omeka team for our chapel project. I chose to work with Omeka because as I did a lot of reading about digital humanities and talked with twitterstorians,  Omeka was one program that kept coming up. It seemed like this essential, basic tool that I just had to learn more about if I wanted to investigate the field. 

According to the Omeka website, Omeka is a Swahili word meaning to display or lay out wares; to speak out; to spread out; to unpack. Those definitions have very different implications, and Omeka meets all of them.

At a first glance, Omeka sounds like a digital museum – it has “exhibits” and “collections.” And in some ways, that’s exactly what Omeka is. It’s a software combination that uses web content management, collections management, and archival digital collections systems. That sounds like a lot, right?

When I asked on Twitter, here are some of the definitions I received:

Patrick Murray-John (Omeka dev team manager): Web publishing for people who love them some metadata.

Michelle Kassorla (Digital Humanist): Omeka is an open source archival-quality digital curation tool. It’s built to archive standards so that data can be read in the future.

Website: “Omeka is a software tool that enables you to create dynamic online exhibits that showcase collections of digital images, text, and other multi-media formats in one seamless site.” It’s great for realistically anyone – scholars wanting to share primary source collections or dissertation, museum professionals who want to show sensitive materials, librarians to show off an online catalog, educators, enthusiasts, or archivists!

For us, it’s a great tool to organize and display the documents or artifacts we find about the Old Chapel! Specifically, it allows us to display these items, tell a story with these items, and preserve complete information (just like we did with the metadata team last week!)

Omeka organizes content in two ways: Items and Collections. They’re fairly self-explanatory – items are individual files, while collections are grouped items. You can have sections (equivalent to a museum room) and pages (equivalent to the walls of a room.)

Here are some cool examples of what our Omeka site could look like:

http://silveragecomics.omeka.net

http://tmsarchives.omeka.net/collections

This is what our class page CURRENTLY looks like: 

http://honors391spr2014.omeka.net

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