Given that I didn’t realize there was a difference between omeka.org and omeka.net (or even that omeka.net existed prior to conducting this practicum, I started off my research with a quick Google search comparison. This is what came up:
At first glance, I thought, “why would anyone choose omeka.net over omeka.org? But once looking through it (and setting up a trial site for myself), I can definitely see the benefits of using omeka.net for smaller collections projects. This would be useful if you were, say, a small house museum looking to digitize your collections so a larger audience could access it.
First, it took me all of five minutes to get a trial site up and running—it is as simple as creating a user account and then choosing a name for your site. Within another five-ten minutes, I had already creating a collection and was adding still images of Baby Yoda drinking bone broth for the audience’s viewing pleasure. To be fair, I didn’t fill out complete metadata for each of the items, but if you are an institution of any size, you might (and arguably, should) be keeping up with the metadata for your collections, and so you could quite easily copy that information over into the Dublin Core (DCMI) template. I won’t go into Dublin Core too thoroughly here, but in short, it is a schema or framework for standardizing metadata across the digital presences/websites that use it. By offering specific “tags” (essentially the what/when/where/how/why) information about a collection/object/etc., Dublin Core allows for the metadata used on a given site to be more searchable and streamlined. But honestly, if you’re just looking to set up shop with omeka.net and do very little in terms of modification, you really don’t need to know much about Dublin Core other than it is the template you’re using to fill in information.
But back to omeka.net! As I mentioned, I was able to create a site very quickly and add wonderful Baby Yoda content. The resulting site (which you cannot find online because I have not/will not make it publish because these images aren’t likely to be covered by Creative Commons (CC) licensing and also I plan to delete it) looks like the following:
And then if you click on the collection:
Yes, it is ugly. Yes, the only appealing part(s) are that I changed “Baby” to “BB” and included images of Baby Yoda in my collection. Yes, I chose one of the two available theming options for the base level of omeka.net and then did the base amount of work to get a collection up.
BUT THE POSSIBILITIES.
Again, for smaller institutions balancing many plates amongst very few, omeka.net offers a quick, cheap, and relatively user-friendly (at least on the back side) option for making collections and exhibits (which I didn’t get into here but are included in the capabilities) available to a broader audience. It also provides additional options for customization at the higher levels and is hosted online so doesn’t require a server. Bottom line, it’seasy.
And while I did the absolute LEAST, some institutions have created really impressive sites using omeka.net, so please don’t take my word, take theirs.
HERMOUPOLIS DIGITAL HERITAGE MANAGEMENT (HERMES) through the National Technical University of Atherns and Municipality of Hermoupolis. It’s essentially a database system that enables the recording and indexing of the historic buildings pathology profile” and incorporates items, exhibits, and an interactive map. This site uses the “silver” plan.
The Latina History Project (LHP) through Southwestern University is “is a faculty-student research project that provides resources on Latina/o and Chicana/o feminism and activism in Texas since the 1960s.” The site incorporates collections and exhibits and uses the “platinum” plan.
So there you have it, omeka.net! Let’s see how it compares to omeka.com.