THATCamp Bootcamp Intro to Omeka

Sheila Brennan

Notes on Intro to Omeka Session.

Omeka self-install vs. is essentially the same distinction as with and

The Omeka Codex includes Site Planning Tips. would be great for student projects.

If you have an facsimile of a letter and a transcription, is that one item or two?

Depends — if the letter is the item, then the facsimile and the transcription are parts of the item, rather than separate items.

Omeka has CSV importing, that allows you to map columns from a csv file to item types, elements, tags, or files.

Customizable output formats — atom, json, omeka-xml, rss-2 — for export. Issue of long-term sustainability.

Adding items.

Dublin-Core has 20 basic fields. And there are extended fields as well.

Also, 12 or 13 item types built-in. Best to use those, but it’s all customizable.

Item types are made of elements, and you can add elements to the basic types to customize them as well.

An item can belong to only 1 collection, but to endless numbers of exhibits.


Omeka was modeled on museums. I think it’s interesting to see how this initial mindset impacted the ontology of the system– which goes beyond the notion of item, collection, exhibit I think. Might make for an interesting discussion on how stage-one decisions significantly shape downstream realization of a project for a methods/historiography class.

Sheila comments that though Omeka designed for museums, they’re finding that very few museums seem to be using it. Hmmm. Wonder why.

Geolocation plugin — literally mapping items.


Exhibits are collections of items.

Exhibits have sections, which are made up of pages. The linked page just above has a nice diagram explaning this.

You don’t have to use collections. But, when using a CSV import the decision is all or nothing, just as making items public at that moment is all or nothing.

What about citation? Important question for use with students, but also for projects. It’s a sticky process because of the DCMI model for all items.

User rights — super, admin, contributer, researcher

Getting historians to think like curators, and blend that with narration makes audience and outreach/public orientation core concern for constructing publication. That’s an interesting element for rethinking academic communication.


Associate Professor of Early Latin America Department of History University of Tennessee-Knoxville

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2 comments on “THATCamp Bootcamp Intro to Omeka
  1. […] from the three bootcamp sessions I decided to attend, on the most novice track: Intro to CMSes, Intro to Omeka, and Project Management. The hack track offered sessions on HTML5 and CSS3, hacking WordPress […]

  2. […] ngram viewer for the Latin American history classroom. Finally, I posted session notes on CMSs, Intro to Omeka, and Project Management from this year’s THATCamp Prime, as well as a roundup of my […]

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