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Building Digital Exhibits and Digital Scholarship in Omeka-S: An Introduction

This tutorial outlines workflows for core digital content-building processes in Omeka-S.

What is Omeka-S?

Omeka-S is a free, open-source web-based content management system and publishing platform designed to publish digital collections and works of digital scholarship. Omeka has been used frequently by scholars, students, and researchers to build engaging, interactive digital exhibits, digital collection and image galleries, digital publications, interactive timelines, and interactive maps.  

Ball State University Libraries provides access to free Omeka-S accounts to students, faculty, and staff to publish collections and scholarly works as a service to the Ball State University community.  Interested in building an Omeka site to showcase your scholarly work or to build a digital exhibit or collection?  Contact the Ball State University Libraries Office of Digital Research and Publishing at odrp@bsu.edu.

Detailed information about the platform can be found in the Omeka-S User Manual freely available online.  

Organization of an Omeka-S Site

Omeka-S uses a hierarchical structure to construct digital exhibits, digital collections, and works of digital scholarship.

An Omeka site is a distinct online scholarly work with a unique url that is created by a defined group of creators or single creator.

Omeka sites are built around a collection of items, individual pieces of media that are uploaded to the site by the site's creator or creators.  Items are associated with descriptive information, or metadata, that provides useful information about the item for the user.  Metadata can describe the format of the item, the date it was created, the creator of the item, etc.  Photographs, maps, posters, video, and artwork are types of items that are frequently uploaded to Omeka sites.

Item sets are a group of items associated with a particular Omeka site.  An Omeka site automatically creates a browseable and searchable collection from the set of items associated with that site.

In additional to the browseable and searchable collection of items in the item set, Omeka users can create pages to communicate or visualization information. An Omeka user can use a page to highlight images or media from the collection, provide text commentary, embed interactive maps, present interactive timelines, etc.

Pages contain individual blocks, which provide unique modules for adding content to the individual pages a user creates within an Omeka site.

About this Guide

This guide presents an overview of the basic functions that a site creator might explore to build a digital exhibit or work of digital scholarship in Omeka. Use the tabs at the top of the page to explore a core set of functions and the Omeka workflow associated with each function. 

To gain access to Omeka-S and to create an Omeka site, Ball State University students, faculty, and staff may contact the Ball State University Libraries Office of Digital Research and Publishing at odrp@bsu.edu.