Example of a website built with Omeka.


Omeka is a freely available software tool that is used to create digital exhibits and collections. This tool catalogues different forms of media and text using metadata to showcase digital materials from one website. Omeka was designed to make data collection feasible for everyone by centering their software around content and forms of  interpretation as opposed to typical data programming that may require assistance from developers and IT specialists. This software can upload and store files such as images, videos, audio, documents, PDFs, and Powerpoint presentations to create a unique user experience when navigating through your collection. 

What is metadata? 

Metadata, in simplest terms, is data that provides information about data. Metadata creates data summaries that can be added manually to ensure accuracy or uploaded automatically to provide basic information. It answers the who, what, when, where, how, which, and why needed to organize data in a way that is accessible to both cataloguers and those trying to access databases and collections.

Omeka uses the Dublin Core Metadata Element Set to separate vocabulary into fifteen properties to help describe each media or text file you wish to add to your collection. 

Dublin Core Properties

  • Contributor: The entity responsible for making contributions to the resource being described. 
  • Coverage: The spatial or temporal topic of the resource, spatial applicability of the resource, or jurisdiction under which the resource is relevant
  • Creator: An entity primarily responsible for making the resource.
  • Date: A point or period of time associated with an event in the lifecycle of the resource.
  • Description: An account of the resource.
  • Format: The file format, physical medium, or dimensions of the resource.
  • Identifier: An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context
  • Language: A language of the resource
  • Publisher: An entity responsible for making the resource available
  • Relation: A related resource.
  • Rights: Information about rights held in and over the resource.
  • Source: A related resource from which the described resource is derived.
  • Subject: The topic of the resource.
  • Title: A name given to the resource.
  • Type: The nature or genre of the resource.

Omeka Classic 

There are three different versions of Omeka but for Sites at Gettysburg purposes, students and faculty have access to Omeka Classic. Omeka Classic was designed for individual projects and smaller scale museum collections. Gettysburg students and faculty can install Omeka Classic on Sites at Gettysburg using their log-in information to create their own narrative exhibits. 

Getting Started: 

To begin using this software, you will need: 

  • Knowledge of the Key Terminology
    • Item: digital record representation of a piece of content where you an add necessary metadata to help define and describe the item and place an image.
    • Collection: a group of items oftentimes combined into similar themes
    • Exhibit: a thematic narrative portraying specific items for pathways directing user navigation. 
    • Plug-in: add-ons that give creators the chance to manipulate user experience.
  • A log-in with Sites at Gettysburg
  • Pictures and metadata for each item 
  • Plan for separating items into collections and exhibits


Omeka has a Troubleshooting page on their website for common issues or limitations that may occur.


Omeka has created a series of screencasts to guide creators through the Omeka 2.0 interface. Their Screencasts page may act as an introduction to help you get started. The following two videos come from this page.

Introduction to Omeka 2.0 from Omeka on Vimeo.

Omeka Classic: Modifying Item Types from Omeka on Vimeo.