Omeka Basics

Why Might You Want to Use Omeka?

Omeka is an open-source tool for creating online collections and exhibits.  Therefore, Omeka can be useful for projects that involve identifying images, audio, and video related to a central theme and telling a story about them.  It can also be used to publish an essay or digital dissertation, share primary source collections, and collaborate with others in the creation of digital scholarship. Additionally, Omeka can be useful for projects with temporal or spatial aspects.

How Can Faculty Use Omeka in a Course?

Professors at W&L have used Omeka several different ways in their courses. Molly Michelmore had students in her fall 2014 History 269A: The American Century course use Omeka to create exhibits based around themes of their own choosing, such as civil rights, W&L’s May 1970 protests, and advertising.  Through this process students actively explored themes relevant to the course.

Two students doing an independent study under the guidance of Professor Paul Youngman used Omeka to create The Leipziger Illustrite Zeitung Project, an online, public collection of the photographs and imagery in an illustrated newspaper, published in Leipzig, Germany from 1843-1944.  The students tagged the photos based on theme, location, and symbolic meaning.  Then they used the Neatline plugin to plot the photographs on a map.  By color-coding each photo thematically, they were able to see trends correlated to certain cities or countries and discovered some patterns they had not expected.

In addition to allowing students to explore the main course subject in different ways, which can lead to alternate and potentially more thorough understandings of the material, Omeka based projects also provide a vehicle for teaching students about the storytelling process, organization of information concepts, information literacy concepts, scholarly communications issues, such as the various modes of digital scholarship and copyright, and the complex nature of digital media.

If you are interested in learning more about Omeka, have questions or ideas for how it might be used in your class, or need help working in Omeka, please contact Digital Scholarship Librarian Alston Cobourn.

Omeka Documentation

Before beginning your project, we recommend looking at the Getting Started With Project Planning section of the Omeka Documentation webpage, specifically Site Planning Tips and Sites Using Omeka.  Written Instructions and video tutorials for using Omeka exist in the Working with Omeka Admin section of the main Documentation page.  W&L hosts Omeka version 2.0+  We recommend Managing Items 2.0, Managing Files 2.0, Managing Collections 2.0, and Building Exhibits.

We’ve also written for a few sets of instructions:

Embedding Video within Omeka

Helpful Tips

Documentation from UVA about Omeka and Neatline

Other Neatline Documentation

On the Neatline Documentation webpage, we recommend looking at Creating New Exhibits in the Working with Exhibits section as well as the tutorials in the Records, Text Tab, Map Tab, and Style Tab sections under Working with the Neatline Editor.


We can add more features to Omeka through plugins.  See a full list of 2.0 compatible plugins



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