Now Omeka.org!

Now that Omeka.net and the difference between the two sites has been covered, let’s delve into Omeka.org. After all, much like Excel, you’ll want to at least know the basics if you’re going to bluff about knowing Omeka on your resume.

First of all, Omeka.org is useful because of the clear difference between it and Omeka.net. Right off the bat, Omeka.net is accessible by logging in online, whereas you have to download Omeka.org and use it as a platform on your computer. Once you’re hired and asked to use Omeka for the first time, you can just claim you actually only have experience with the other one. “Oh Omeka.org? I’m only familiar with Omeka.net, but I’m confident I’ll pick this up quickly!” = Points for knowledge AND adaptability.

WWJHD? (What Would Jim Halpert Do?)

Now that we’ve honed our professional BSing skills, let’s do a quick refresher on the difference, and get started on the details.

Great! Now that we’ve pretended to understand the other differences between the two based on those lists, let’s go to Omeka.org.

Immediately, you’re confronted with another choice: Omeka S versus Omeka Classic.

Thankfully, they’re more clear about the differences here: Omeka S is geared towards institutions who need to share resources among a number of people on more than one device. Omeka Classic is for individuals and educators.

Let’s start with Omeka S. Presumably because it’s meant for institutions, Omeka S offers the opportunity to test it out online in the “Sandbox” before actually downloading it.

This is what you seen when you log in using one of their demo emails!

Omeka S lets you create a webpage based off your collection. Once you choose a theme and create pages and a navigation system, you can populate them with the collections you add to the site.

How does Baby Yoda fare on Omeka.org?

It took me very little time to set this up. It’s a fairly intuitive system, especially if you’re not looking to start out with anything too complicated. Once you get the hang of it, I’m sure the more complex stuff becomes more apparent. There are also a lot of options to include metadata, which I ended up not doing, but they’re there. For institutions or individuals actually setting up digital archives, it’s important that metadata is built so integrally into the system.

Let’s see how the actual site looks…

Well. It could use some work to not look so “graphic design is my passion,” but it’s a good start! You can see the potential.

Unfortunately, the demo page wipes everything every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, so this is goodbye to the Baby Yoda page. Probably for the best given the copyright laws.

Bye, bud

How about Omeka Classic? There’s no Sandbox so we’ll have to download it.

Here’s what you get on a Mac

So it becomes pretty obvious that it’s a little more complicated than it looks. There’s no clear way to open it. I can’t even access the ReadMe. Thankfully, most product websites have instructions.

But not this one!

Apparently if you don’t understand it, you’re not quite smart enough and probably should just sign up for Omeka.net instead. Admittedly, I don’t know the first thing about running a server, so I appreciate the moxie. (There is actually a User Manual elsewhere on the site if you click around a little more, but it does involve setting up a server and I’m just definitely not about that.)

Even if we didn’t get to take a look at the Classic version, it’s probably safe to assume it’s pretty similar to the Omeka S sandbox. Going off of that, Omeka.org is pretty cool. It might take some time to get to know all the details, but it’s a nifty way to not only create a digital archive, but to design online exhibits as well!

Recap: Who is Omeka for?

  • Are you an institution creating a simple digital collection and exhibit? Then yes, use it!
  • Are you an individual setting up your own archive and want to make a website for it? Yes, go ahead!
  • Are you someone who has very little time but still wants to make a page dedicated to the sweet, sweet boy, Baby Yoda? Sure, have at it! (Although Omeka.net is apparently the better option here)
  • Are you just creating a personal website? Well, then probably no. There are easier sites that don’t require quite so much metadata input.

Omeka.org probably has its flaws and frustrations, but it does what it says it does and it seems easy enough to use. Overall, it’s a cool tool to create a simple digital archive and website to exhibit the material. In practice, it seems hard to differentiate between which sites were made with Omeka.org and which with Omeka.net, so to avoid repetition, see the Omeka.net post for examples from museums who use Omeka!

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