Friday, January 27, 2012

Word Press for Museums? A “Killer App” of Academia? Check out Omeka!

Previously we have discussed the resource Zotero which provides great options for Faculty and Students to organize their work. Another resource that enables students to engage with information in a critical and intellectual manner is Omeka.

Omeka is a free, open-source Web publishing platform that allows one to store and share collections of documents, images and videos.

Proponents of Omeka call it “WordPress for museums” and are particularly excited about the way this resource can give students experience navigating and interpreting archival materials.

Historians have found Omeka to be particularly useful with their learners. Jeffrey McClurken, a historian at the University of Mary Washington, notes on The Chronicle's ProfHacker blog, that “students can create some impressive projects using [Omeka] and learn a wide variety of skills (digitization, organization, presentation, exhibition, metadata creation) along the way.” He further explains that Omeka is ideally suited for “projects that involve a sizable digital (or at least digitizeable) collection.”

An example would a project like featuring the writings of President James Monroe that involves the creation of a digital archive with numerous images and text. To see such an example, look here.  

In another great example, we can see where a Yale University archivist created an Omeka site to showcase materials from their digital collection. Notable in this creation is that as a result of creating the Omeka site, the archivist “…lectured less and actively engaged more of [her] class. And best of all, having a website allowed [her] to give students a tangible reference tool they could access after the session was over.” So in essence, tools like Omeka can support the objective of assisting learners with developing strong, well balanced research and evaluative skills. Another professor created a very elaborate and detailed tour of Sagamore Hill – the historical country residence of President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States.

Interested educators can go see a brief introduction to Omeka  or visit the Omeka Showcase to learn more about different types of projects that can be created with this resource.

To learn more general information about Omeka, please go to:

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