Skip to main content

Building an Omeka Exhibit at the Fisher Fine Arts Library: Site Structure and Plugins

A guide for using Omeka and Neatline in the humanities


Omeka Site Structure

Omeka sites are organized using items, exhibits and collections.

  • Items consist of an image or other media file and its metadata. These are the basic units in Omeka.
  • Exhibits organize items into public presentations. They allow you to group selected items, add text, and arrange them on pages to highlight their features. Images can be used in multiple exhibits at a time.
  • Collections gather all related images in one place and display them as a group. Images can be put in only one collection at a time.

A Note on the Structure of Explore Fisher

Explore Fisher uses Omeka to create a guide to the history and renovations of a particular building, the Fisher Fine Arts Library. It draws on research in several library and archival collections at the University of Pennsylvania. The site uses Omeka exhibits to organize the research according to theme, adding images to different exhibits individually from the entire pool of images collected during research. As such, it does not use Omeka collections to organize or present images from a particular library collection, which may be a slightly different use of Omeka than some other libraries or museums have employed.


Explore Fisher uses several plugins. Information and instructions for installation can be found in the Omeka Classic Users Manual.

COinS--to make pages readable to citation managers like Zotero

ZoteroImport--to import a library into Omeka. I experimented with this but ended up not using it much.

Escher--crucial plugin that allows you to add further plugins and themes

CSSEditor--Gives you the ability to add CSS styling to the site, or to target individual pages with particular styling. It is necessary to know some HTML/CSS to make this work, but it gives you some more space to customize your site.

ExhibitBuilder--another crucial plugin that allows you to create exhibits with multiple pages and features.

SimplePages--Allows you to create basic pages that can be styled in a number of different ways using HTML. Necessary for Juxtapose images and Timeline images.

SharedShelf Link--Necessary to import items from JSTOR Forum.

Shortcode Carousel--Create image carousels easily using Omeka's custom shorthand codes rather than HTML. The home page of Explore Fisher used this tool.