Week 13: The Dreaded Omeka

Alright, much much earlier in this course we started playing with Omeka, then looked a lot at other sites using Omeka, and now it’s time to start actually getting it to do things. This last part has been the hardest for me and I think that Jeffrey McClurken’s article was a godsend. Now, it doesn’t say very much on exactly how to fix your problems, but it does let you know that you’re not alone in being confused and points you in several good directions.

Sadly, Omeka’s Codex is not much help, even though McClurken thinks it’s wonderful. I know we clarified in class that you can either install Omeka or use the web-based editor. The help section of the sight doesn’t seem to differentiate between the two and I’m hesitant to start installing things on my computer I cannot get to work online. Now, I understand there are endless plug-ins and the “tour” plug-in CT Communities uses to make its tours is one that you have to purchase. I haven’t seen any “Purchaseable” aspects to Omeka yet, maybe I’m just a bit lost.

That being said, I’m sure I could make “collections” for each Stop on my Mystic tour and then imput all the images into “items.” I’m good with with entering in data, so I happily and kept doing. No images or links popped up after I entered in all my sources and data. I tried a few different ways and still it was just a pile of text. I finally found a video that walked me through the steps and you have to upload your own images as files. No sourcing things from the internet to the Omeka site. My concern here is that the CT History Online site has wonderful zoom capabilities that allow you to zoom around and get close to the image. The largest you can save an image from the site is 500×500. Not too good.

How far have I gotten? Depressingly not far. I have most of the content in Zotero and word documents. I don’t really know the best way to upload everything onto Omeka. Especially since it’s looking a bit bare bones because I’m lost of the design aspects of it. I do wish it was a bit more like WordPress, in that it had more templates and that they were easier to tinker with. I’ve installed an exhibit plug-in, but it seems to be just another way to enter data, just like a collection. I’m going to have to spend some quality time over this holiday getting things in order!

As McClurken notes, “On the last point, remember that struggle can be a productive part of the learning process.”

Sidebar: a few YouTube videos I watched about Omeka call it “o-mi-ka” others say “o-mec-ca”  someone needs to get at least that part sorted. Hearing it pronounced “o-mi-ka” just felt wrong.


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