Omeka Not Just For Exhibits: Using Omeka To Build A Colaborative Directory

While Omeka is billed as a CMS for exhibiting cultural heritage projects it’s also a awesome platform for publishing collections of all sorts of stuff with rich metadata. Jim and I have been cracking away on our Playing History project and I thought I would share some of our experience working with and modifying Omeka to do some very un-museum-exhibit-y sorts of stuff.

You can see what we have tinkered with so far live at It’s got a long way to go, but it can give you a sense of what can happen with just spending a few hours playing around with Omeka. I spent the majority of my time learning to tweak the theme, installing and configuring a few plugins, and starting to play around with building my own little plugin, I’ll let jim explain the work he has been doing on some of the super exciting plugins he is cooking up, but here is a bit about the tweaks I made.

Here is pic of what we have so far.

I started with Ken Albers and Jeremy’s Autumn theme, it seemed to have most of the moving parts I eventually wanted for the site. I created the header and footer image by blowing up a .jpg of Megaman fighting Metalman, converting it to a .png file, and striping the color pallet down to 6 colors. I think it made for a cool effect, I like the story behind it, but I also like that it doesn’t necessarily scream Megaman.

Here’s the image I started with.

Since Playing History isn’t using collections I removed the helper function that called them in. I then added in a few new divs. Including a tag cloud and a feed from twitter feed to deliver news. Omeka has a nice helper function for tag clouds here is what it looks like on my index.php.

So far this is what the individual game pages look like.

By default the theme I worked with would show all the empty data fields. There is a great little switch you can make to hide all the empty fields.  I just needed to set `show_empty_elements` to false.

2 Replies to “Omeka Not Just For Exhibits: Using Omeka To Build A Colaborative Directory”

  1. You guys are really coming along. The rich visuals (an important component to your site) are intriguing and captivating. It's amazing what one can do with one template; I too used the same "Autumn" public theme. I have decided to stick with it for my final project, but still have a long way to go to include all of my desired content. I appreciate you showing the steps in your blog through visuals (ties in with this week's readings). I look forward to seeing your project as it progresses!

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