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Using Omeka

Omeka is a web publishing platform to create digital exhibits

Items, Collections, and Exhibits

Item: A digital file (digital photo, map, audio recording, video, manuscript, book cover, etc.) plus the metadata that describes it.

Collection: A grouping of items. All items must belong to a collection. You can arrange your collection however it works best for your site; it can be by creator, by theme, by archive, etc.

Exhibit: A curated showcase of items with narrative text. Items can be included in multiple exhibits.

Item Types - Learn More

Item types are user-defined type of object, with associated metadata. Omeka.net comes with predefined item types with fields specific to the item type, for instance Document includes fields for document text and original format. You can easily edit these item types or add your own from the Item Type tab on the left hand menu of your dashboard.

For more information, see the Omeka Help page for Managing Item Types. Also, see below for definitions of the predefined Item Types in Omeka.

A Few Guidelines for Content

Omeka can display several types of content on the website, including still images, MS Office documents, audio files, and video files (the full list of file types is here).  But the critical factor to keep in mind is file size and storage space:

  • A file can be no larger than 64 MB. Omeka does not display TIFF files any longer so please only load JPG files for image materials you wish to include.
  • The free Omeka.net account only accommodates up to 500 MB of storage.  If you need more storage for your own site, you'll need to upgrade to a paid plan or install Omeka on your own server.

Adding Items

Items are building blocks in Omeka. To build your digital collections website, you must first add items.

An Item contains metadata, or descriptive data about those specific things, based on the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative. Items can belong to a collection, be tagged with many keywords, and used in multiple exhibits. 

For detailed instructions on adding items to Omeka, see the Omeka help page.

Item Types

Item types are user-defined type of object, with associated metadata. Omeka.net comes with predefined item types with fields specific to the item type, for instance Document includes fields for document text and original format. You can easily edit these item types or add your own. (see above for instructions on adding/editing Item Types).

The Item Types predefined in Omeka are:

  • Document: A resource containing textual data. Note that facsimiles or images of texts are still of the genre text.
  • Moving Image: A series of visual representations that, when shown in succession, impart an impression of motion.
  • Oral History: A resource containing historical information obtained in interviews with persons having firsthand knowledge.
  • Sound: A resource whose content is primarily intended to be rendered as audio.
  • Still Image: A static visual representation. Examples of still images are: paintings, drawings, graphic designs, plans, and maps. Recommended best practice is to assign the type “text” to images of textual materials.
  • Website: A resource comprising of a web page or web pages and all related assets (such as images, sound and video files, etc.).
  • Event: A non-persistent, time-based occurrence. Metadata for an event provides descriptive information that is the basis for discovery of the purpose, location, duration, and responsible agents associated with an event. Examples include an exhibition, webcast, conference, workshop, open day, performance, battle, trial, wedding, tea party.
  • Email: A resource containing textual messages and binary attachments sent electronically from one person to another or one person to many people.
  • Lesson Plan: Instructional materials with fields that include duration (length of time involved), standards, objectives, materials, and lesson plan text.
  • Hyperlink: Title, URL, description or annotation.
  • Person: An individual, biographical data, birth and death, etc.
  • Interactive Resource: A resource requiring interaction from the user to be understood, executed, or experienced. Examples include forms on Web pages, applets, multimedia learning objects, chat services, or virtual reality environments.
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