How to create an Omeka Collection

4/24/13 Presentation to UCLA Spring Quarter 2013 General Education Cluster 66CW about building an Omeka Exhibit

My sample Omeka site: alexitc.omeka.net

General Questions:

  • What is the point of using Omeka? One word answer: exhibits.

Key Terms:

  • Dublin Core – a standard list of metadata fields used by archivists worldwide to describe items
  • Items – objects – be they photographs, sculptures, books, ideas, etc. – that you are documenting
  • Collections – An item can be part of a collection of like-items, for instance “Collection of pen nibs.” Items cannot be in more than one collection. Think of the collection as a room in which you store your items – you can’t store an item in two separate rooms!
  • Exhibits – Omeka makes exhibits. Creating an exhibit in Omeka is akin to curating an exhibition in a museum. Exhibits consist of “Sections” (various rooms in the exhibition) and “Pages” (the walls of particular rooms in the exhibition).
  • Sections – These are the “rooms” of your exhibit. They can be used strategically to organize “Pages” on which you will arrange like “items.”
  • Simple pages – You can use this feature to create pages unconnected with your items. Examples include “About” pages, links to resources, links to other websites pertinent to your site, and so forth.
Here's a visual rendering of the relationship between Exhibits, Sections, Pages, and Items in Omeka.
Here’s a visual rendering of the relationship between Exhibits, Sections, Pages, and Items in Omeka.

Steps:

  • Create an Omeka.net account, create a site, and then in you Dashboard, go to Settings > Manage plugins and “Enable” your “Simple Pages” and “Exhibit Builder.” (For a very good tutorial on how to do all this, check out Miriam Posner’s instructions here.)
  • Start adding “Items.”
  • Fill in the Dublin Core metadata for your items.
  • Add “tags” to your items to help categorize them.
  • Make items “public” when you want them to be seen on your site.
  • Organize like items into “Collections” (which can be browsed by site visitors).
  • Design your “Exhibit(s),” drawing from your collected items to tell a story, make an argument, or synthesize information for your visitors.
  • Organize your Exhibit into various deliberate “Sections” and within these sections, arrange “Pages” that center around a particular idea or point.
  • Final considerations: themes that suit your exhibits, an “about” page (use “Simple pages” to make one), roles of co-curators, and what items/collections/exhibits you want to “feature” on your home page.

Resources:

  • Here’s a link to a video tutorial about creating an Omeka collection.
  • Here’s a link to Miriam Posner’s excellent first post on Omeka site creation (from which I draw heavily here). And here’s a link to her second post on the subject.
  • Here and here are Miriam’s also excellent handouts about Omeka which you might find helpful.

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