Online Exhibits with Omeka

Lincoln Mullen

About the workshop

Aims of the workshop

  1. Build / make / analyze / visualize
  2. Learn how to learn DH skills
  3. Real humanities data whenever possible
  4. Flexible in terms of content
  5. Ask questions at any time, please


  1. Online collections with Omeka
  2. Deep/narrative mapping in Omeka with Neatline
  3. Visualization with the grammar of graphics
  4. Networks
  5. Introduction to mapping
  6. Data mapping


Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions.

  • WordPress for scholarly collections.
  • Like WordPress does for websites generally, it provides a template for a basic problem in DH work.

Example Omeka sites

Making the History of 1989

Histories of the National Mall


Pick two or three sites from the list of Omeka sites.

  • What are these sites used for?
  • What are the individual units in the site?
  • How are those units aggregated and framed?
  • Are they visualized or mapped in any way?

The ideas embedded in Omeka

Content + Metadata


Paulist Mission Chronicles
Paulist Mission Chronicles

Metadata for manuscript

Title: Chronicle of the Missions Given by the Congregation of Missionary Priests of St. Paul the Apostle

Format: six manuscript volumes

Archive: Office of Paulist History and Archives, North American Paulist Center, Washington, DC

Content + Metadata


Paulist Mission Chronicles
Paulist Mission Chronicles

Metadata for event

Location: Princeton, New Jersey

Date: January 23 to January 31, 1859

Pastor: Alfred Young


  • Isaac Hecker
  • George Deshon
  • Francis X. Baker

Communions: 570

Converts: NA

Source: Paulist Missionary Chronicles

Fundamental unit in Omeka: the item

Items can be described by

  • Dublin Core metadata
  • Item type metadata

Items are aggregated by

  • Collections
  • Exhibits
  • Neatline exhibits

Our Omeka site for the workshop


Exercise: create a collection

Working in groups of two or three:

  • Create an Omeka collection
  • with several items
  • using Dublin Core metadata,
  • as well as a custom item type.

Ideas for collections:

  • Use items (sources, events, places, paintings, people) from your own teaching or research. The best collections will have a spatial component.
  • Use Benozzo Gozzoli’s seventeen frescoes from the life of Augustine.
  • Create the biography of some person whom you have studied.

Exercise: Create an exhibit in Omeka

Working with the same group as before, use your Omeka collection

  • to create an exhibit
  • featuring at least two pages
  • and two different layouts.

You may wish to first explore the exhibit builder, then plan out your exhibit, then actually build it.

Exercise: Create a visualization in Neatline

Option 1: Work with the rest of the workshop to create a deep map of Helsinki. See the suggested questions on the workshop page.

Option 2: Translate your Omeka collection into a Neatline exhibit. You may choose to use the Neatline Waypoints plugin or the Neatline Text plugin.