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Omeka: Teaching with Omeka

A Guide to Omeka, a web publishing platform for web content management and exhibits.

Omeka in the Classroom

Using Omeka in the classroom can allow your students to create work for a public audience and can provide avenues for discussions about constructing knowledge, from researching objects and creating original documentary materials to recording metadata and crafting online exhibits.

Omeka has a range of settings for access and privacy, which make it flexible in developing assignments.


Getting Started with Omeka in the Classroom

If you are interested in teaching with Omeka, please contact our Omeka Team to set up an initial consultation at least one month prior to the semester when you would like to teach the course. We can discuss whether Omeka is the right fit for your class, set up a course site, offer Omeka workshops to you and your class to introduce you to the site, and provide support throughout the semester.

One of the key features of Omeka is metadata -- information about the materials in the collections. 

The process of adding metadata is simple: fill in the form with information about the item -- title, description, creator, geographic location, time period, etc. You can add as little or much detail as is helpful.  There are ways to add further format specific metadata and even create your own categories.

This may seem like an odd activity to do as a scholar or student; however, many of the catagories of information Omeka allows users to supply are at the heart of debates within fields and subjects.  Things like time periods are often central to understanding what a text or object is.  Deciding what terms to use for a subject are not value-free judgements.  Having students engage in these decision-making processes allows them to better understand key elements of the field and the ways that categories -- in books, in library classifications, and in discourse -- shape the information we find and the questions we ask, in short, how we make knowledge.

Suggested Readings

Geoffrey C. Bowker & Susan Leigh Star, Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1999).

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, http://dublincore.org/

Beyond Omeka!

Not sure if Omeka will work for your project? Consider Scalar, a web publishing platform designed for authoring digital books. Learn more here.

Penn Omeka Course Project Showcase

Digital Exploration of the Ancient City of Ur - An Omeka Course Project

Digital Exploration of the Ancient City of Ur - An Omeka Course Project

This site was created as part of the University of Pennsylvania AAMW 619/NELC 320 – Digital Exploration of The Past: Archives, Databases, Maps, and Museums course in Fall 2018. The data for this site primarily comes from digital transcriptions of Leonard Woolley’s 1920s Ur excavation field notes and digitized versions of Hans Nissen’s original plans of Ur’s Royal Cemetery, which were produced during the course.

Paris sous l'Occupation - An Omeka Faculty Research Project

Paris sous l'Occupation - A Neatline Archive

The pedagogical goals of this project are to engage students deeper in their attempt to understand a dark episode of history

  • By facilitating their navigation through the time period: one space where they will have access to many different texts related to the same story, from many different angles.
  • By confronting them with events that took place in a landscape that still exists today; in other words, by connecting the past to the present.
  • By interweaving texts, videos and biographical data in order to link the personal to the national (and vice-versa).
  • By filling in the holes left in the national memory.
  • By translating words but also silence and void into visible spaces when the goal of the Final Solution was to leave no trace.

Preserving Society Hill - An Omeka Community Archive

Preserving Society Hill - An Omeka Community Archive

Preserving Society Hill documents the history of Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood during the era immediately before, during, and after urban renewal. By focusing on individual residents and building sites, the project provides a ground-up view of a federal program that has been more commonly understood from a top-down perspective. 

Korean Game - A Penn Museum Neatline Project

Korean Game - A Penn Museum Neatline Project

Student volunteers at the Penn Museum used Neatline to recreate a traditional Korean board game.

Museum Library Brinton Collection - A Library Omeka Project

Museum Library Brinton Collection - A Library Omeka Project

This site provides a curated look at the manuscripts of the Berendt-Brinton collection held by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

First a professor of Ethnology and Anthropology at the Academy of Natural Sciences, then later Penn’s first Professor of Archaeology and Linguistics, Brinton (1837-1899) is considered one of the fathers of American anthropology. 

he exhibits on this site features a selection of items which represent major themes of the collection.

Captain Singleton's Travels - A Neatline Student Project

Captain Singleton's Travels - A Neatline Student Project

Explore the travels of Captain Singleton in this Neatline exhibit created as part of a student research project.

American Literary Radicals - A Course Project

American Literary Radicals - An Omeka Course Project

Many types of literature appeared radical in the 19th century in the United States:  some texts were politically extreme, some stylistically innovative and others violated literary standards of taste.  Many texts did all three.  This project investigates the connection between innovations in style and content as well as messages that demanded social change.

April Fooled! - An Omeka Pop-Up Exhibit Companion

April Fooled! - An Omeka Pop-Up Exhibit Companion

April Fooled aims to remind students and the public that, while audio, image, and video manipulation is reaching new heights, the phenomenon is not a new one. It also aims to empower viewers by introducing them to tools to identify manipulated images before sharing them.

This site is a companion to a pop-up poster exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, held in April 2018, and curated by Katherine Ahnberg, Patty Guardiola, Samantha Kirk, and Kenny Whitebloom. 

Anatolian Travelers - A Neatline Course Project

Anatolian Travelers - A Neatline Course Project

The Anatolian Travelers Project aims to map pre-20th century CE travel accounts about western Anatolia (modern Turkey).  We hope to better understand human movement through this landscape prior to the advent of modern transportation technologies.

This site was built as part of a Penn Classics course. Students used Neatline, Neatline Text, and Simile Timeline to embed the text of travel narratives on interactive maps and timelines.

Archive for Ornamental Bodies - A Neatline Course Project

Archive for Ornamental Bodies - A Neatline Course Project

The Archive for Ornamental Bodies is an experiment in the documentation and description of bodies — natural bodies, human bodies, metaphysical bodies, linguistic bodies. The AOB collects bodies of all materials and forms. It is our particular mission, however, to gather bodies characterized by some extravagance or inessentiality, and to confer plentitude on their excess through the medium of language.

This exhibit was curated by the students of a Penn English Department Course.

Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Research Corps Archive - An Omeka Community Archive

Schuylkill River and Urban Waters Research Corps Archive - An Omeka Community Archive

The Schuylkill Corps Archive is an interactive and growing public archive of citizen science and public humanities projects. Together we will discover and document the tidal river's past and present while collaboratively imagining it's future. 

DataRefuge Stories - An Omeka Community Project

DataRefuge Stories - An Omeka Community Project

Data Refuge launched November 2016 in Philadelphia to draw attention to how climate denial endangers federal environmental data. With the help of thousands of civic partners and volunteers, the project has rapidly spread to over fifty cities and towns across the country. Now, Data Refuge is building a storybank to document how data lives in the world – and how it connects people, places, and non-human species. Learn more at datarefuge.org

SAST 208 Doing Research - An Omeka Course Project

SAST 208 Doing Research - An Omeka Course Project

This course combines student research into Penn's manuscript collection with digital exhibit building.

Spanish Language at the Penn Museum - A Penn Museum Omeka Project

Spanish Language at the Penn Museum - A Penn Museum Omeka Project

This site offers a toolkit of teaching aids that Spanish language instructors at Penn can utilize to incorporate Object-Based Learning in to their curriculum.

City Plans - A Penn Libraries Architectural Omeka Archive

City Plans - A Penn Libraries Architectural Omeka Archive

The Omeka project contains an archive of Philadelphia City Plans.

War and Conquest in Medieval Europe - An Omeka Course Project

War and Conquest in Medieval Europe - An Omeka Course Project

War was not only a series of actions, but it also permeated society in a very concrete way through physical objects and material texts. These objects and texts inscribed war in everyday settings and, beyond that, they also reaffirmed both the importance and glory of war. This exhibit examines the remains of the physical life of war. In other words, what were the aesthetics of medieval warfare? What made war appealing and/or beautiful? "The Aesthetics of Medieval Warfare" will treat aesthetics in a large way, not only in terms of beauty but in terms of physical expression more largely.

Here and Over There - An Omeka Course Project

Here and Over There - An Omeka Course Project

This website was created as a project of a curatorial seminar at the University of Pennsylvania in the Fall of 2014. The aim of this project is to explore the historic engagement of the University of Pennsylvania and its faculty, students, and graduates in the Near and Middle East. It does so while drawing in part on objects and materials in the Penn Museum and across Penn’s campus. This site showcases just a sampling of the interesting objects – and stories – that help to tell the narrative of Penn’s engagement in the Middle East.

Who Was Alfred Dreyfus? - A Library Special Collections Project

Who Was Alfred Dreyfus? - A Library Special Collections Project

The materials on display here are facsimiles of originals in the Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Dreyfus Affair at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries. This exhibition begins with a timeline and cast of characters and then gives a semi-chronological overview of the Dreyfus Affair, focusing on specific themes and individuals central to the Affair. It also examines the Affair from larger perspectives, exploring topics including the role of the military; images and graphics; social media and popular culture; women; the press and public opinion; and patriotism. Justice, truth, and loyalty: all were put to the test during the Dreyfus Affair, and its lessons will resonate with today’s audiences.

Penn Museum Archives Foreign Language Toolkit - A Penn Museum Omeka Project

Penn Museum Archives Foreign Language Toolkit - A Penn Museum Omeka Project

The Penn Museum Archives Foreign Language Toolkit is an ongoing project of the Penn Museum Academic Engagement Department and the Penn Museum Archives. We welcome you to browse these documents and images, which represent only a small fraction of the foreign language materials available for research and study in the Penn Museum Archives. 

Sara Yorke Stevenson - A Library Omeka Project

Sara Yorke Stevenson - A Penn Library Omeka Project

A collection of works about and by Sara Yorke Stevenson.