I recently was introduced to Omeka, a resource familiar to many Digital Humanities scholars but of which I know very little. What follows are some first impressions and inquiries:
At our third meeting of HASTAC scholars at Temple University, we participated in a workshop geared towards aquatinting us with Omeka, an open source content management system that is largely used for exhibiting digital collections. We began by briefly reviewing the history of online data management systems and some best practices for backing up digital data. After this presentation, we began a more interactive portion of the workshop in which we practiced using the application and learning about different features that could be utilized. We quickly found that Omeka is extremely easy to use, but I am curious about the creative license the application allows. Do scholars find themselves limited by the structures of Omeka or are there methods of modification that make the system more flexible?
As a visual anthropologist, I see that Omeka could be a potential format for presenting and sharing visual research digitally. Not only does it allow you to organize and curate various forms of visual data, but it also has features, such as geocoding, that allow for online audiences to engage with your work through different modalities. From this introductory exposure, I look forward to learning more about the application’s crowdsourcing features. Ultimately, I hope to craft research that involves public/participant collaboration and, while frequently idealistic, crowd-sourcing could provide a means for incorporating such collaboration into my research design and methodologies.
I look forward to hearing more from other scholars about their own experiences with Omeka and any advice they have to offer a novice!