General teaching » Blog Archive » Introduction to Omeka – Lesson Plan

I’ve taught “Introduction to Omeka” many occasions at numerous THATCamps, but I’ve by no means finished more than work from an overview. At present, nevertheless, I wrote it all down, and I am posting it in your edification right here. The textual content is under, and here is a PDF: Introduction_to_Omeka_Lesson_Plan. I’ve marked the PDF with a CC-BY license, and all the content on this website is equally marked, so be happy to share and adapt. You might also be interested within the lesson plan for the workshop Educating with Omeka that I co-taught with Jeff McClurken at THATCamp Pedagogy again in 2011.

One purpose I’ve by no means written this up earlier than is that I’ve taught the workshop so many occasions (perhaps a dozen?) that I felt I knew it from side to side with only a sketchy outline; I’ve not often had the prospect to train something so many occasions, and I need to say that I’ve appreciated the prospect to follow and enhance. It has also taught me to be pleased about the “how to teach technology” coaching I had on the University of Virginia again once I was a “Teaching with Technology Support Partner” — the mannequin they gave us, which I still keep in mind and use, was this: Encourage, Define, Show, Apply. First, you’ve got to persuade those that they want to study this software program and clarify the way it’s totally different from different software program, and present them thrilling examples of things completed with the software program. Then you need to define specific terms that could be unfamiliar, then exhibit key features or tasks, then have individuals follow utilizing the software when you circulate and help them. It’s never as neat as that, in fact — particularly, it’s often greatest to help outline a term by demonstrating its use in context — but I do attempt to comply with that rough model once I’m educating know-how.

In any case, here you go.

Introduction to Omeka: Lesson Plan

by Amanda French –

  1. Preparation

    1. Go to omeka.internet and click on the large “Sign up!” button. Join the free Primary plan. Once you submit the shape, you may be emailed an activation link and a username and password. For those who don’t get the e-mail, verify your spam folder. Be happy to discover Omeka by yourself while I take you through it.

  2. Introduction – What is Omeka? (10 minutes)

    1. Omeka is an easy, free net publishing system built by and for scholars that’s utilized by tons of of archives, historic societies, libraries, museums, and particular person researchers and academics to create searchable on-line databases and scholarly online interpretations of their digital collections. If in case you have a digital assortment of main sources that you want to publish on-line in a scholarly method, you’ll need to contemplate Omeka.

    2. “Omeka” (pronounced oh-MEH-ka) is a Swahili word which means “to display or lay out wares” –

    3. The Roy Rosenzweig Middle for History and New Media began constructing Omeka in 2006; they needed to abstract the technologies they have been utilizing repeatedly to build historical web sites, all of which required establishing a searchable database that was built-in with a web-based exhibit.

    4. One of the first websites to use a proto-version of what would grow to be Omeka was the Hurricane Digital Reminiscence Bank, an archive of private tales and digital data related to the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita: One other was the April 16th Archive at, a commemoration of the 2007 Virginia Tech capturing tragedy. Omeka 1.0 was officially released for public use in June 2009.

    5. The free, open source, downloadable version of Omeka is on the market at This version of Omeka is self-hosted software program that may be put in on a hosting server (not in your private pc, at the very least not until you’re prepared to install a digital server in your PC). Librarians or instructional technologists at your institution could also be comfortable to set up and keep Omeka for you on an organizational webhosting server; should you’d like to buy business website hosting for about $100 per yr and train yourself to use it, you possibly can take a look at the Omeka workforce’s internet hosting options.

    6. As a result of some organizations and people couldn’t or didn’t need to run their very own server or buy business server area, RRCHNM began creating a hosted model of Omeka that requires a lot much less technical information, infrastructure, and labor. The hosted version of Omeka, which was beta-launched in October 2010, is obtainable at omeka.internet.

    7. When contemplating whether to use the self-hosted model of Omeka or the hosted model of Omeka, you want to have in mind the helpful lesson from Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Concomitantly, in fact, “with less responsibility comes less power.” In other words, once you download Omeka from, you possibly can customize it as a lot as you want and set up it as many occasions as you like, however creating and supporting those Omeka websites might take a superb bit of data and time. If you use the hosted version of Omeka at omeka.internet, it’s much easier, however you’ll run up towards certain limits of area and performance. You may also consider self-hosting Omeka as like owning a home, whereas using the hosted model of Omeka is like renting an condo. Shifting from one to the opposite is completely possible, however it’s about the identical degree of problem as shifting home (it is determined by how much stuff you have got, for one factor!). See for extra on this difficulty.

    8. Omeka is a nonprofit venture; its funding comes from federal funding businesses and from personal foundations who help schooling: IMLS, Mellon, Sloan, and Kress. The charges for the premium plans at omeka.internet are used to purchase space for storing in your information from Amazon Net Providers.

  3. Primary Omeka options and definitions (15 minutes)

    1. Right here’s a typical Omeka website: the City of Boston archive – cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/ (linked to from the primary Metropolis of Boston Archives at I’ll define some key phrases and features while taking you thru this website.

    2. Gadgets – An “item” is the essential unit of an Omeka website. It could be a photograph with a single hooked up picture file, a three-page letter with three hooked up image information (one for each page), or a report with no hooked up information (resembling a “person” report). Omeka can handle all the main digital file varieties for paperwork, pictures, audio, and video; audio and video information show as an embedded Quicktime participant in order that the consumer can pay attention or watch. Example: See this website’s 77 gadgets at cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/gadgets

      1. Metadata – Knowledge about knowledge; details about an merchandise. Bibliographic metadata is the title, writer, writer, date and so forth of a publication, as an example. Omeka encourages you to describe each merchandise with a lot of metadata, which is part of what makes it a scholarly system. Instance: cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/gadgets/present/77

      2. Dublin Core – Dublin Core is a metadata normal used by libraries and archives for digital gadgets that consists of 15 primary fields that can be utilized to describe any digital object, it doesn’t matter what it’s. Such primary fields embrace Creator, Topic, Description, Date, Rights, and so forth. “Dublin” is Dublin Ohio, not Dublin Eire; “core” is identical sense as “core curriculum” — the identify comes from the 1995 meeting in Dublin, OH the place librarians and pc scientists first formulated this shared commonplace set of important info needed to describe digital objects. Omeka does additionally permit including further normal metadata fields and creating customized metadata fields, however this will likely make it harder to switch your knowledge to and from Omeka and other methods, since these methods need a shared vocabulary to “talk” to each other. However the truth that Omeka is built on Dublin Core signifies that your knowledge is likelier to last more, as a result of it may be moved to other methods later. There are prompts inbuilt to Omeka that may allow you to understand what info to put in each Dublin Core area, but it’s also possible to consult the Dublin Core Consumer Information section on Creating Metadata (version 2).

      3. Superior Search – Every Omeka website comes by default with a primary keyword search and an Superior Search display. Any info entered in an item’s Dublin Core metadata fields shall be findable when a consumer searches for it, and the Superior Search lets a consumer slender by specific metadata fields. Instance: Go to cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/gadgets/advanced-search and search for Date → accommodates → 1942 to find gadgets from the yr 1942.

      4. Item Sort – By default Omeka gives 12 kinds of gadgets, including “Document,” “Still Image,” “Sound,” “Moving Image,” “Person,” and extra. You can too define custom item varieties, perhaps one thing like “Coin” or “Poem” or “Quilt,” and you may define custom units of metadata fields to go together with those item varieties. As an example, when you define the item sort “Poem,” you may define a metadata subject comparable to “Rhyme Scheme” where you’ll be able to enter that info (reminiscent of A’bA” abA’ abA” abA’ abA” abA’A” for a villanelle). Remember, though, that creating customized merchandise varieties and metadata fields might make it harder to change knowledge between your Omeka archive and different present methods. Example: Go to cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/gadgets/advanced-search and Search by Sort = Document to discover 7 documents within the archive (as opposed to pictures, as an example).

      5. Tags – Tags permit you to link gadgets together with terms of your selecting. When any two gadgets have the identical tag, the tag mechanically turns into a hyperlink. Omeka websites permit you to browse gadgets by tag. Instance: Go to cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/gadgets/browse/tag/ and click “Hyde Park” to see gadgets tagged with that time period.

      6. Featured Gadgets – Omeka websites by default have a space on the home page for lately added gadgets and for “featured” gadgets which are notably fascinating. You’ll be able to mark gadgets as “featured” once you add them (or afterward). Instance: Go to cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet to see the featured merchandise. (This website presently has just one featured item, so it never modifications; websites with multiple featured merchandise will load a brand new one randomly when the location is refreshed.)

    3. Collections – Collections are methods of organizing gadgets, moderately like file folders in your pc, or like collections in archives corresponding to “Papers of William Faulkner, 1929-1965” within the Special Collections of the University of Virginia. Collections provide a approach to manage your gadgets into separate, logically coherent teams. Gadgets wouldn’t have to be in collections, however once an merchandise is in a set, it could’t be in another assortment. You can also make as many links as you want between gadgets in several collections, although, with tags and reveals. Instance: cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/collections

    4. Reveals – Reveals are the place the scholarly rubber hits the Web street, as it have been. Whereas a March 2010 survey of Omeka users discovered that the majority Omeka websites surveyed consisted of just a searchable “collections catalog” of their gadgets, the subsequent highest use of Omeka was for its capability to build and publish “narrative exhibits.” Upon getting constructed an Omeka archive with sufficient gadgets, you’ll be able to then use reveals to interpret these gadgets for the web public. Think of reveals in a museum: a large museum might own 100,000 gadgets, however at anybody time only maybe 1,000 of them are on show, and a single exhibit might have solely 25 or so gadgets. These things have been rigorously chosen and arranged by curators, who also typically write interpretive textual content for panels mounted on the wall and for the exhibit’s official catalog. You can too consider Omeka reveals as multimedia essays created using the gadgets in your archive. Many web sites about scholarly or quasi-scholarly subjects typically decontextualize the pictures and documents they show, and the reader who needs to know the place a specific image came from could also be out of luck. This never occurs with Omeka reveals, because any merchandise displayed within the exhibit may be clicked on, and the reader shall be taken to the item document with its full complement of Dublin Core metadata. Instance: Go to cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/reveals and click on the exhibit about Jesse Harding Pomeroy, arrested in 1874, Massachusetts’s youngest killer (solely 14 years previous!). Go to the exhibit page at cityofbostonarchives.omeka.internet/reveals/present/pomeroy/pomeroy and click on on any picture, and you’ll be taken back to the merchandise report for that file.

  4. Selected Omeka websites (15 minutes)

    1. Steepletop Library: The Books of Edna St. Vincent Millay – (my website; I’m utilizing Omeka as a guide catalog)

    2. Montgomery County Reminiscence – montgomerymuseum.omeka.internet (a website used to publish gadgets brought in to the Montgomery County, VA public library and digitized as a part of an NEH Widespread Heritage venture)

  5. Harlem Congress on Racial Equality – (website built by a scholar in my Creating Digital Historical past course in the NYU Archives and Public History MA program in 2009)

  6. Carnet géologiques de Phillippe Glangeaud – (uses Geolocation plugin)

  7. Inventing the Map: Frances Henshaw’s Ebook of Penmanship – (uses Neatline)

  8. Europeana –

    1. Artwork Nouveau –

  9. DPLA –

    1. Indomitable Spirits: Prohibition in the USA –

  10. Robert & Monnoyer: French Botanical Artists of the 17th Century – robertandmonnoyer.omeka.internet/ (hosted website, no reveals, however pretty footage)

  11. The Appalachian Dulcimer Archive – dulcimerarchive.omeka.internet/ (hosted website, no reveals, but a Simple Page of “Histories” that substitutes for the Exhibit; has audio information of dulcimer enjoying; uses Geolocation plugin so have to be a minimum of Silver plan)

  12. See information.omeka.internet/showcase/ for an additional choice of hosted Omeka sites

  13. See for an additional choice of self-hosted Omeka sites

  • Working with Omeka Demos – amandafrench.omeka.internet (10 minutes)

    1. Themes – Themes management the feel and appear of your Omeka website: the colour, the font, the format. There are (at present) 4 themes included with the free primary plan for hosted Omeka sites; these themes may be configured to some extent with customized banner photographs and totally different colours and so forth. There are more than a dozen themes for self-hosted Omeka websites at You may also design your personal theme for Omeka, as most of the larger and more advanced Omeka sites do. The NYU Archives and Public History program received a curricular grant of about $4000 to rent a designer for the Greenwich Village History website, which college students in Creating Digital History contribute to, for example. Demonstration: Change the theme and refresh amandafrench.omeka.internet to see the distinction.

    2. Plugins – Like themes, plugins are separate “add-ons” to Omeka, however whereas themes change the feel and appear of an Omeka website, plugins change the performance of an Omeka website — they modify what it might do. There are (at present) 10 plugins packaged with the free Primary plan on Omeka.internet, however there are more than 50 very cool plugins for the self-hosted model of Omeka listed at that do the whole lot from enabling anybody on the internet to contribute gadgets to your archive (with the Contribution plugin) to tweeting out an announcement every time a new merchandise is added (with the Tweetster for Omeka plugin). Some of these plugins are developed by the Omeka group at RRCHNM, but numerous them are developed by people who find themselves customizing Omeka for their very own functions and contributing their code to the bigger group. Demonstration: Activate / deactivate the Paperwork Viewer plugin and go to amandafrench.omeka.internet/gadgets/present/18 and refresh to see the distinction.

    3. Users – You’ll be able to add as many users as you want to an Omeka website, even once you only have a free Primary plan on omeka.internet. You’ll be able to add users in four roles:

      1. Super – can do every part

      2. Admin – can do the whole lot with gadgets and reveals and so on., however can’t access Settings

      3. Contributor – can add gadgets and create reveals, but can’t publish them, and may’t modify gadgets added by different Contributors

      4. Researcher – can only see gadgets, however can see all gadgets, together with personal gadgets that aren’t revealed to the online. Observe that each one gadgets you add to Omeka are personal by default; you should deliberately verify a checkbox so as to publish an item to the online. That is helpful once you want to embrace an item in your archive but don’t need to publish it to the online, as for example when the copyright status of an merchandise is unclear. Customers who’re logged in can see each personal and public gadgets in Omeka, so the “Researcher” position allows you to let chosen individuals see however not edit your gadgets.

    4. Demonstration: Add an merchandise

  • Workouts (10-20 minutes)

    1. Sign up for the free Primary plan on omeka.internet should you haven’t already; once you submit the shape at www.omeka.internet/signup you’ll be emailed an activation hyperlink and a username and password. In case you don’t get the email, examine your spam folder.

    2. Log in to your hosted Omeka website on omeka.internet and create a website.

    3. Add an item.

    4. Create a set.

    5. Start creating an exhibit.

    6. Or check out any of the other features you want. Increase your hand when you’ve got a query and I’ll come around to help.

  • Assets

    1. Omeka.internet help documentation – information.omeka.internet/

    2. assist documentation –

    3. Forums –
    4. The Dublin Core Utilization Information –

  • Also revealed on Medium.