Omeka or WordPress?

Hello all!

This week we are learning how to use sites Omeka.net and WordPress.com. Both share similar attributes though each have their strengths that separate them, as you may have learned in the final reading for this week.

OMEKA

Without further ado let’s talk Omeka.net. This site is perfect if you are looking to build a digital exhibit or historical presentation. You basically get to build you own site! It’s customization abilities allow you to add a variety of items or documentation (artifacts) as Brown breaks it down for us in Communication Design. Let’s start! As shown below, you select Add Site (you only get one for the free plan).

Once you’ve made your site you can customize it with a choice of two themes if you pick the free plan. Go to Appearances in the menu running across the top right of the page. See below.

Then before you start building the content for your site, you need to install a few plugins. Plugins are basically add-on software that allows for more customization. For example you will go in and add the Exhibit and Simple Pages plugins which will allow you to build an exhibit on your site, and house the items and collections you build in a customized way. You will find the Plugins next to Appearances in the upper menu.

Now for the fun part! Let’s add some content. Select Item in the menu running down the left side of the screen. Then Add Item. From here you get to describe and detail what your item is including its title, subject, description, creator, source, publisher, date, contributor, and more. This information is also known as Dublin Core, which is the metadata element set used by Omeka records.

To save space I won’t include a picture of each step. But from here you also dictate the type of item it is, for example, a still image, hyperlink, email, etc. Then you add your file! Finally you add tags that you want attached to your file. Tags are part of the metadata behind that item, words to help classify, organize and relate items based on what they are about. For example I added a picture of the cover of a dating advice literature book and my chosen tags were, “dating,” “advice literature,” and “teenagers.” These tags will tie that image to these words and create a sort of index for all items that fall under certain tags. Remember consistency is key for organization, for example if you tag an item with the phrase “dating advice books” you need to use that across the board for other similar items and not change it to say “dating advice literature.”

From here you Add Item and then you can view Public Page and see your item on your website!

Now you can further organize your site but grouping items into collections. Select Collections on the menu running down the left of your screen. Add Collection and then you get to detail it like you did for the items, adding in the metadata. Once created, go back to the items and select the boxes to the left of the items you want included in this collection. Then click Edit and choose collection!

Amazing! Now let’s make that exhibit. First, yes you guessed it, select Exhibits, then New Exhibit. Now name it and add the slug, which is basically the part of the url that explains the page content ( or the title but without capitals or spaces). Then Add Page within your exhibit and name it, so in my case, “Advice Literature” and then you can select your chosen layout. From there you can add items and a text block describing those items if you like. And that is how you work with Omeka.net.

WORDPRESS

Let’s switch gears for a second and turn to WordPress.com. WordPress similarly allows you to build your own site. Though there are a handful of differences. For one, it is not as ideal as Omeka for building an exhibit to house items and collections of items. Instead there is a lot more room for customization when it comes to themes, organization, and building of content. It isn’t ideal for organizing metadata like Omeka.net. WordPress is most ideal for blogs because you can post and there is a place for other to reply or comment on your work. Thus this site allows for more interaction between creator and audience.

Let’s explore this by walking through how to use the site. First make an account and select the free payment plan. Similar to Omeka.net there are limitations to only using the free plan and not paying but it still works.

So signup and start your account! Then you get to select your theme, choosing from about 12 different themes. Decide on the name of your domain, which is the site address url (this is limited based on your plan though and suggestions are provided). Then you can select desired features as shown below and then your payment plan (free).

Now you can edit directly on the site and decide when to go public! By selecting My Site in the top left hand corner you are taken to the backend of your site where you will see a menu running down the left side of your screen.

As you can see there are many options to click. There’s Stats, which breaks down the activity on your site from traffic to posting. Then Pages, Posts, Media (images, videos, docs and audio), Comments (interact with your audience), Feedback, Jetpack (a spam filtering plugin that I selected at the beginning), and Design, which allows you to further customize and update your site whenever you like. You also can customize social media links, which will connect your site to an even wider audience through multiple internet mediums. Finally you can select Visit Site in the right hand corner and view what your site will look like as it comes together and before you make it live. Keep in mind once it goes live you still can edit and update it on the go.

Thank you all for your patience in reading through this lengthy post, but I figured including them both together would be best to show their pros and cons side by side. The possibilities with both these sites are extensive and filled with creative opportunity. Please follow up with any questions and I will do my best to answer them. Also feel free to explore the sites on your own too! Otherwise I will see you all next Wednesday!

Thank you!

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