Monday, 6 April 2015

The Omeka Update

I didn't update the blog for a while due other assignments but time to recap what was missed the last few weeks. So the last couple of weeks we have not had class in order to work on the course project. My project focused on the Freure family immigration story and is using the online exhibit tool Omeka and google earth.
So I finally got around to using Omeka in earnest and so far I have to say….meh. Not the most academic vocabulary but that just about sums up my opinion of it. Omeka for those who don’t know is a set of tools that allows anyone to put together their own online exhibit with emphasis on displaying items like you would in a physical museum. This program seems useful in setting up exhibits around the different time periods and events that occur in the Freure family immigrating to Canada and establishing a family farm. So far this has worked out pretty well. However, there are some issues that I want to touch on. First of all, the free basic plan of Omeka has quite a few limitations as to what you can do in terms of building your exhibit. Specifically, there is a limit as to how much data you have to work with in terms of text, pages, and most importantly images and other items you upload to the site. Although this hasn't limited my project, ye,t it is still a problem that constantly looms over as I add more and more items to the site. Another problem with Omeka is the way you upload files and items. Essentially, in order to put something up on the site as simple as a picture you must first add said item to a large repository of items on Omeka. So pretty much you have to upload all your items in advance before building the actual pages because you are unable to simply upload a picture or item from your computer to the page you are working one. This might be a small gripe but it does take up time when you are used to being able to upload images directly from your PC to a web page.
Another downside of basic plan Omeka is the lack of plugins. Plugins are the different types of pages and programs you can have on your Omeka exhibit. These plugins range from simple pages of only text to more advanced tools for recording Meta data something I’m extremely unfamiliar with and won’t attempt to explain. The real problem with Omeka is the fact that with the basic plan you only have access to a small list of these tools while others are only available with the very expensive plans. As a student that is not an option for me to buy an Omeka subscription to get access to these tools.

So that’s my initial reaction to Omeka while making my online exhibit. More critique to come…

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