THATCamp Lehigh Valley–Omeka

Next up at THATCamp Lehigh Valley is a workshop on Omeka.



Why would you want to use Omeka?  Use Omeka when you want to create an online archive.  Although a blog will keep an archive, it is generally archived in chronological order.  A more traditional archive will describe and arrange your archive in a more meaningful manner.

For this workshop, we will look at an Omeka site in Pennsylvania:  The Land of Penn and Plenty.

Three terms to know with Omeka: items, collections and exhibits.

  • Item: is a content building block in Omeka.  You can describe items using metadata using the Dublin Core standard, which provides a standard set of metadata for that item, such as title, source, publisher, etc.
  • Collection: a set of items.  An item can only be in one collection, but items can be in more than one exhibit.
  • Exhibit: organizing items in context, with description or interpretation.

Every Omeka site has a built in search, including a good advanced search.

Looking at an exhibit on the The Land of Penn and Plenty site, Native American foodways in Pennsylvania:

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 11.26.18 AM

Here, they use items in a certain context with additional descriptions and interpretation.  Clicking on any item in this exhibit again takes you to the information about that item:


Omeka has been developed by academics for academics.  It is mostly funded by an IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) grant.  There is a hosted version on and a self-hosted version on

Creating an Omeka site is very similar to that of WordPress.  There will be a dashboard where you can adjust general settings, select a theme, plugins, etc.


  • COinS: Adds COinS metadata to item pages, making them Zotero readable.
  • CSV Import: Imports items, tags, and files from CSV files.
  • Docs Viewer: Embeds a Google document viewer into item show pages. PDF documents, PowerPoint presentations, TIFF files, and some Microsoft Word documents are supported.
  • Exhibit Builder: Build rich exhibits using Omeka.
  • GoogleAnalytics: A small plugin to include Google Analytics JavaScript code on pages.
  • Library of Congress Suggest: Enable an autosuggest feature for Omeka elements using the Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies service:
  • OAI-PMH Harvester:  Harvests metadata from OAI-PMH data providers.
  • Simple Pages:  Allows administrators to create simple web pages for their public site.
  • Social Bookmarking:  Inserts a customizable list of social bookmarking sites below each item in your Omeka database


  • Super users can access all available pages in the admin, and manage the site’s settings, including: adding and deleting users; changing themes; managing plugins.
  • Administrator users can access all pages in the admin except those under the “Setting” tab.
  • Contributor users can add, edit, and delete Items, Collections, Item Types, and Tags that they contribute. They may also create exhibits using all items in the archive.
  • Researcher users can see all of the Items, Collections, and Item Types pages, but cannot edit.

After creating your Omeka site, you can start adding items.  How easy is it to add an item?  Very: if you’re interested, here is a link to a quick video on adding items.  (The video was created without sound since it was done during the workshop).

Want some examples of how Omeka is used?  Check out the showcase or the showcase.  You can also find example by Googling Omeka.  There is a lot more you can do when you set up your own installation of Omeka (through

Some other digital tools (not necessarily to use with Omeka) mentioned during the workshop include:  MediaThread and Neatline.

How would you like to incorporate multimedia in your teachings?

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