Discuss readings -

classification systems; what is an ontology? what is metadata?
How are databases related to narrative as a form? Consider Manvoich's "Database As Symbolic Form" (see intro, and pages 5-7 Database and Narrative)


  1. Create a free account with Omeka.net.
  2. Add an item
  3. Enter metadata
Discuss how selection, structure, and interpretation can be used to create meaningful interpretive exhibits.

Homework: Browse two or three sites in the Omeka Showcase. Develop an idea for an archival mini-project. Your project should deal with some coherent, defined literary, linguistic, or cultural phenomenon. You will need to have access to "objects" that you can legally include in the archive, via fair use, copyleft/creative commons licensing, or because they are in the public domain.

Important sources for copyleft or public domain materials include:
  1. The British Library https://www.flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/
  2. Public Domain Sherpa: Books Photos, Maps, etc.
  3. Internet Archive: ebooks, video, and sound
  4. Project Gutenberg: (scanned classic texts)
  5. Search Creative Commons (indexing available texts/items from across the web)
  6. Google Books (a selection of public domain books; select free google ebooks in the search customization. These can then usually be downloaded in epub or pdf format.)


PLANNING an Omeka project
  • Theme / content type
  • What selections will you make? What are your "curatorial" objectives
  • SEE: Omeka "Site Planning Tips"

Your contents must be "fair use," public domain, or creative commons licensed. Keep track of sources and built a "credit page."

Omeka basics:
  • Item (text, image, audiofile, etc.)
  • Collection (container for large groups of items; you may choose to have only one collection; consider this an area where "undigested" materials are gathered from which your visitors make their own connections)
  • Metadata (descriptive information you add about items; make appropriate choices for your goals)
  • Exhibit (a carefully selected, framed/interpreted, sequence of items from collection(s); a good exhibit tells a story or makes an argument).
  • SimplePage (a single page with one or more items; good for introductions, "about" pages, etc.)


  • Upload objects
  • Apply metadata
  • Configure "viewers" or customize themes and frontpage
  • Create SimplePages and Exhibits to "interpret" your items.

Important Omeka Resources:
  1. Getting Started
  2. Adding items
  3. Omeka.net user guide

Homework: Omeka work. Give your site a title, ingest at least 20 objects, customize the homepage and begin either an Exhibit or create two SimplePages with objects/items.