The Visual Resources Association Foundation organized a series of workshops that were hosted across the United States in 2018 through 2019. Fortunately, one of these took place right here in Chicago, and the University of Chicago hosted it. The one-day course was focused on Omeka and how it could be used for digital humanities projects. I attended with the hopes that this platform might be a useful tool for publishing online some of our image archives at the museum.
We were given a helpful background in the differences between the versions of Omeka - including both classic versions and Omeka S. Most of the workshop focused on the classic versions, and the hosted Omeka.net platform was our testing environment for the day. We covered the main components of building a site: items, collections, and exhibits.
I was happy to see that platform has batch upload functionality for both images and corresponding metadata. The built-in tools to link to outside media, resources, and geospatial metadata result in richer exhibitions. The accessible metadata standards (Dublin Core with support of PB Core and VRA Core through a crosswalk), user-friendly user interface, and helpful plugins make this a great solution to get projects off the ground and onto the web. There are options for third-party hosting, and the how-to resources seem exhaustive. Additionally, the Omeka Everywhere suite of tools translates this functionality into additional user experiences. The collection viewer, mobile app, and digital tablet or table viewer for in-gallery viewing all provide greater accessibility and visibility of items published to the corresponding Omeka site.
It can be challenging finding the resources to build out custom portals to publish our unique holdings, and there are limits to what our existing infrastructure can do. This is where I think Omeka might be a great fit for our needs - it is a nimble, intuitive platform that would help make more accessible our archives.