Using Omeka: Cultural Heritage Projects at Indiana University

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

William G. Cowan, Head, Software Development
Library Technologies Software Development

Erika Jenns, Graduate Assistant
Arts & Humanities, Reference Services

Ardea Smith, Graduate Assistant
Black Film Center/Archive


Watch the presentation here:

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In recent years, Omeka has become an important tool for the exhibit of digital object collections. As with many technologies, Omeka can present some issues with setup and configuration, but overall, Omeka is easy to use for managing digital content. A few of the recent projects to use Omeka are the Lilly Library’s War of 1812 ( and Indiana University Library Moving Image Archive’s World War II Propaganda Films ( The two projects discussed at this session are the Don C. Belton memorial site by the English Department, presented by Erika Jenns, and the “Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film” conference and workshop site presented by the Black Film Center/Archive graduate assistant Ardea Smith.


Using Omeka to Represent the Library of Professor Don C. Belton ( presented by Erika Jenns

Using my experiences cataloguing the collection of Professor Don Belton, the late novelist, book collector, and English professor at Indiana University Bloomington, I will address the benefits of using Omeka to create a dynamic access point for users. After Belton’s death in 2009, the bulk of his collection was transferred to branch libraries on campus. Remaining books were kept by IU’s English Department, which does not have a formal library. To make the collection more visible, I created an Omeka website, meant to function as a precursor to a visit to the collection. The site uses tags, rendering it more searchable. It also includes scans of book covers, digitized videos of Belton lecturing and reading, and posts by students who have worked with the collection. The site represents Belton's books both physically and electronically. Coupled with biographical information, it highlights Belton's research interests, sources of inspiration, and some of the works he produced.


The Proceedings of Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film( presented by Ardea Smith

In 2013, the Black Film Center/Archive received a National Endowment for the Humanities Level I Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant to convene an interdisciplinary group of scholars, archivists, curators, and digital humanities technology specialists for a two-day conference and workshop, “Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film.” The conference and workshop proceedings were documented on video and fully transcribed. To enhance public access to these proceedings, I oversaw the creation of a website utilizing the open-source Omeka platform and VideoStream 2 plugin designed by project advisor Will Cowan at Indiana University. The website anchors streaming video content to keyword-searchable transcripts of the event proceedings. Drawing on the development process for the “Regeneration” website, my presentation will discuss the practical issues of building of an Omeka-based site using IU’s webserve system with an aim to help individuals new to digital archival creation.


You can also follow and contribute to the presentation and discussion on twitter: #dlbb.


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