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Omeka: About

What is Omeka?

Omeka is an open-source web application that can be used to create and display dynamic online digital collections. Developed by programmers at George Mason University, Omeka was designed to be user-friendly, both during installation and setup and during daily usage.

Omeka sites are especially useful for digital history archives, where users want to take advantage of the rich metadata capabilities, timeline, mapping, and crowd-sourcing features.

For this guide, we will be focusing on Omeka Classic, for more information about the different versions, visit the Omeka FAQ.

To learn how to set up an Omeka account, visit the Digital UIC Research Guide.

Omeka Basics

Omeka uses similar logic to a traditional museum exhibition and is organized through items, collections, and exhibits. Items are the building blocks of your exhibit and are much like physical objects in a museum (such as paintings, artifacts, or manuscripts) and like physical objects, uploaded items are accompanied by a series of classifications called "metadata," which help to classify and organize your material. Items are then organized into collections, which are simply a way to group objects around topics such as theme, individuals, or time periods. Exhibits take items, either from the same or different collections, and organize and contextualize them to tell a story or make an argument.  

What can I use Omeka for?

Omeka is best used as a way to present a collection of material or digital items to an audience. It can be used as a visual companion to a research paper, as a final project in a class, or as a virtual art showcase. 

Omeka has a wide variety of uses including...

As an alternative to a final project or a semester-long group project, like this example from the University of Pennsylvania:

Or this example from West Chester University:

As a showcase of your scholarship, like this example from the University of Michigan:


For more examples, visit  the Omeka Classic Showcase.