Saturday, March 01, 2008


I've spent a little time looking at the recently announced online exhibition building tool Omeka from The Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.

I am very interested. This is a tool meant for cultural heritage organizations that I think could be extended into a tool for personal digital scholarship. We've talked a lot at UVA about the conceptual similarity between born-digital scholarly projects and exhibition building, and have long considered the possibilities for a virtual exhibition tool. Our Collectus tool was a start for us in that direction. Omeka allows you to create an archive, organize it into collections, and create exhibition-like presentations or illustrated essays with a RSS feed. "Items" in an archive can be compound objects and include multiple files. Its API support extension with plugins, such as support for COiNS, geolocation, or tagging. Hooks to applications such as Collex or the SIMILE Timeline would add some interesting functionality.

The biggest limit that I see is that its in-browser automatic delivery is currently limited to images, although you can include any type of media. This seems like an excellent opportunity for an institution to work with GMU to extend Omeka's capabilities and create richer media experiences.


Anonymous said...

If you've spent time looking at it, I'd be interested to see if you can get it running.

The digital library world is full of analysts, not doers.

Methinks it's time for people to stop putting up with barely functional code.

Tom Scheinfeldt said...

Thanks for blogging Omeka! I thought I should let you know that we are almost ready to release a plugin integrating the SIMILE Timeline with Omeka. Keep an eye on the Omeka blog ( for an announcement in the next several days.

Tom Scheinfeldt
Managing Director, CHNM
Executive Producer, Omeka