Judging Omeka

Please excuse my delay on posting this, I was in Iceland and this post was held in draft form for no apparent reason!

Please also excuse any duplications of thoughts, I wrote this before most blog posts were up.


I chose to look into the qualities that Pyrounakis and Nikolaidou set out for the other CMS choices and applied them to Omeka. I didn’t include a number rating because it seemed fairly arbitrary.

Object Model

In Omeka, owners build items and assign them to specific collections.

Collections and relations support

Multiple collections, items can only be in one collection, but can also be in the featured items simultaneously.

Metadata and Digital content storage

Dublin Core without the ability to add additional fields from the current interface. There is a plug in that allows you to add further elements. Can include multiple entries for each element. The list of item types, though, is configurable.

Search and Browse

Advanced search options allow you to search within each of the DC elements specifically, within specific item types, by tag, by item ID or by keyword. Users can also browse the collection from the front page where designated “featured items” are displayed.

Object management

Items can be imported as long as you have the import plugin and your data set out as a CSV file. There is also a plugin that allows Omeka to harvest data from an OAI-compliant repository. This means that it cannot be done through Omeka.net. Items can also be created one by one through the we interface or through the downloaded software. Editing is performed through the same GUI

User Interfaces

The default web interface allows basic keyword search and the ability to open an advanced search window. From here all of the search functions listed above are available. Items that are designated by the owners as default items are displayed on the home screen and can be opened from the home screen. The items display with all of the Dublin Core elements and any files that are attached to the item. These items can also include social media hyperlinks if the site has the appropriate plugins.

Access Control

There are multiple levels of access that can be assigned to users through the Settings screen. Super users can access all of the pages and change settings as they see fit. They can also update user privileges and add plugins. Admin users can access anything except the settings button. Contributors can create items, collections and exhibits, they can also edit or delete records that they have created. Researchers can view all of the items, collections and item type pages but can’t change any of the information. All of these types of users have access to unpublished items and collections.

Multiple Languages support

The Omeka interface is available in some other languages (specifics here: http://omeka.org/codex/Configuring_Language) . Since the Dublin Core fields and the item types are free text, most languages are supported as long as you have the keyboard to match your desired alphabet .

Interoperability Features

As I mentioned above under Object Management, Omeka supports OAI-PMH. Omeka also allows users to export as XML, again through a plugin.

Level of customization

Although users are limited to Dublin Core, the list of item types is customizable. There are also a lot of plugins available to customize the way the users sites act and feel.


Extra Credit points

Omeka has an amazingly detailed forum with a devoted community and active admins. They seem to really care about their customers and ensuring that the software is working for their customers. Their work on localization was well documented in the forums, and the amount of work and love they put into this product is pretty evident, as is the same dedication and love they’re receiving from their users.


I don’t think that we can necessarily call Omeka as a better or worse choice unless we know about the collection that needs a platform. If the collection has unique or complex metadata that doesn’t really conform to DC, Omeka might not be the best choice. If they have a large collection with an established database in a format that isn’t supported, it might not be the best choice. If objects need to straddle collections, Omeka might not be the best choice. But for collections with either OAI or CSV databases and DC metadata, Omeka is a great choice.


2 responses to “Judging Omeka

  1. This is a good analysis that aligns with my experience with Omeka. I would like to add that items can be added to multiple exhibits as well as collections.
    They do deserve bonus points for their community, they have always responded to me quickly.

  2. Glad to have you back, Librariems, and glad for this rich and thoughtful post and evaluation. A strong user community, as listed under extra credit, is often a line of defense whose importance is underestimated until that critical moment when its utility becomes indispensable – like at a point of failure at a time when all systems are go. I have based personal and professional decisions around platform adoption (e.g., Ubuntu; Drupal – names I know are familiar to many of you) around this very issue. Great post.

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