Building Digital Narratives with Omeka

In this workshop we are introducing Omeka –  a powerful tool for developing narrative around collections of digital objects. We will explore the concept of metadata, with particular attention to the Dublin Core, a general purpose and highly extensible standard. We with then complete some hands-on exercises adding items to Omeka and finally creating an exhibit combining a variety of digital objects to relate to a larger narrative.

[box] During our hands on workshop we will be introducing Omeka as an tool for constructing shared online digital narratives. It allows for the collection and curation of digital objects such as photographs, video and audio clips.
In the first session we will collectively work though a tutorial in which you will each be instructed in creating a digital objects and exhibitions on
To facilitate our hands-on time, please create a free account at Omeka in advance of our workshop.
1. Visit
2. Choose Sign Up (the big red button)
3. Choose ‘Try the Free Basic Plan’ (it’s towards the bottom of the screen – and rather hidden away).
4. Fill in the form presented and remember your username and password.
5. Once completed, will email you a conformation and you should click the link to confirm.

If you experience any problems with this, check your spam folder in your email for this confirmation email.[/box]

Whether for your own use or to make your research outcomes available for a wider audience, increasingly scholarship in the digital humanities involves developing a narrative around collections of digital assets. This workshop will provide participants with a working knowledge of the decisions and choices available to share and disseminate knowledge by collecting and developing narratives around digital objects. During this workshop we will explore a number of possible vehicles that can help you to share your research outcomes including hands-on exercises in Omeka, and discussion of some additional powerful, standards driven tools that can augment Omeka for managing collections of digitised objects in an interactive and user-driven fashion.

This workshop will provide participants with a working knowledge of Omeka for managing collections of digitised objects in an interactive and user-driven fashion. Increasingly scholarship in the digital humanities involves developing a narrative around increasing rich collections of digital assets. OMEKA provides the user with an opportunity to engagingly curate collections.

omeka_logoThe workshop assumes very limited familiarity with web technologies and basic HTML.

The session is complementary to other digital humanities skills-based workshops data visualisation, textual analysis and mining, data and digital collection management.

On completion of this workshop attendees will be better equipped to judge whether a digital collection management and curation platform such as OMEKA would be of benefit to their research project, be aware of the various ways to extend this tool and be conversant in discussing the technical parameters involved in using this platform to create narratives around collections of digital objects.

Omeka ((Omeka is a Swahili word meaning to display or lay out wares; to speak out; to spread out; to unpack.)) is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions. It enables you to create dynamic online exhibits that showcase collections of digital images, text, and other multi-media formats in one seamless site. Omeka was developed by the Roy Rozenweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. It is designed with non-IT specialists in mind, allowing users to focus on content and interpretation rather than programming. It brings Web 2.0 technologies and approaches to academic and cultural websites to foster user interaction and participation. It makes top-shelf design easy with a simple and flexible templating system. Its robust open-source developer and user communities underwrite Omeka’s stability and sustainability.

Until now, scholars and cultural heritage professionals looking to publish collections-based research and online exhibitions required either extensive technical skills or considerable funding for outside vendors. By making standards based, serious online publishing easy, Omeka puts the power and reach of the web in the hands of academics and cultural professionals themselves.

There are two versions of Omeka: If you run an independent website on your own server, you can set up a full installation of Omeka on your website and the software is available to download at But if you’re new to Omeka, you may choose to use where you can build an Omeka website hosted for free on the servers. The free account does have fewer functionalities than a full installation or subscription, but it provides you with enough tools to test the Omeka waters! We will explore the differences between these services.


  1. Gothic Past
  2. Slavery at Georgetown
  3. Cork360
  4. Cork Rising Illustrated
  5. Dublin Core Generator
  6. Digital Curation Centre
  7. Exercise 1 : Items and Collections
  8. Exercise 2: Exhibits
  11. KnightLab Projects
  12. TimeLineJS
  13. StoryMapJS
  14. TimeMapper

The Presentation

Day One: Introducing Omeka

Day Two: Constructing an Exhibit

We will be using two tutorials:

  1. Introducing Omeka : Items and Collections
  2. Building Omeka : Creating Exhibits


We have had an opportunity to merely scratch the surface and gain a broad familiarity with the potential of Omeka as a research delivery tool. To follow up on this workshop and extend your skills the following are provided:


Extending Omeka

Additional Resources

Examples of Exemplary Digital Narratives:


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