Curating Digital Exhibitions with Omeka

As a leading digital humanities software tool, Omeka enables the building of collections and the creation of digital exhibitions with advanced features such as mapping and image annotation.

Omeka is a web-publishing platform that shares digital collections and builds media-rich online exhibitions. Omeka is unique for its emphasis on building collections and creating descriptive metadata.

Basic Building Blocks:


The default homepage can be customized with a title, banner image, and descriptive text, and can display recently added and featured items, collections, or exhibitions. (The examples in this guide use the “Berlin” theme.) More custom options can also be configured.


Items are the smallest building block in Omeka and contain image or media files and descriptive metadata. The Berlin theme gives you the option of a full-size image at the top of the item page. (See right example below.)


Collections are simple groupings of items, almost like a folder. Items may only belong to one collection at a time. These examples are grouped by medium (left) and semester (right).


Exhibitions combine images, captions, text, and maps by using a combination of design layouts.

Advanced Features:

Geolocation Plugin

The Geolocation plugin allows you to add geographic coordinates to your item records. The plugin generates maps at the site, exhibition, collection, and item levels.

Exhibit Image Annotation Plugin

This plugin allows you to annotate full-screen images in exhibitions. Text and basic html coding, including links to external URLs, may be added.

Comparing Google Slides to Omeka for Digital Exhibition Projects in the Classroom

Both tools can be great options. You will want to consider your core elements of the project and if Omeka provides features that outweigh the extra training required. Course level and number of students are also important considerations.

Google Slides

• The core elements of a digital exhibition project are supported.

• This format moves beyond a slide show and replicates the navigation of a simple website by linking to other slides and external sources.

• Students already have Google accounts and experience using Google Slides.

• Students can copy a template, leading to results that are consistent and well-designed.


• Homepages unite course content and allow for browsing by images or maps.

• Advanced features such as geolocation and image annotations enrich the content of your exhibitions.

• Layouts can be more up-to-date with scrolling options.

• If you would like to incorporate concepts such as critical cataloging into your project, Omeka allows students to create descriptive metadata in Dublin Core.

• Omeka requires students to attend small group training sessions outside of class time.

• Students must create a new Omeka account and learn how to use a new software tool.

Please contact Amy if you would like to plan a digital exhibition project for your course or if you have any questions.

Amy McKenna, Visual Resources Curator, [email protected]