Every library has treasures in the form of art, historical photographs, and other objects. How do we let people view these items and how do we preserve them for future generations? How do we organize them so they are searchable? How can we give access to everyone without damaging our collection? Well, luckily there is a quick and easy platform available to create an online exhibition for those libraries with limited budgets and time.
A separate website is needed by most libraries because local history collections are not included in the library’s typical online catalog. These items can be cataloged in an Omeka site and searched and viewed by users around the world.
Omeka is a free web-publishing platform that was created with museums, libraries, and archives in mind. It has a user-friendly interface that can be mastered by those with no website building experience. Omeka features options such as Dublin Core metadata standards and Library of Congress Suggest plugin, and includes data migration tools.
The open-source software can be downloaded to your server, or you can use Omeka.net to build and host your site for free. I chose the Omeka.net option and was able to create a site within a few minutes. I scanned a few photos from our local history department and had them inserted and online within a few more minutes. It will take a little tweaking to make everything look the way I want, but overall I am very pleased with the outcome. Take a look at the site I created at jacksonhistorical.omeka.net.
Give it a try—what do you have to lose?
For more information visit: http://omeka.org/
Roger A. Donaldson, II, C.P.L.S.
Jackson City Library