A MITH Digital Dialogue
Tuesday, September 30, 12:30-1:45
MITH Conference Room, McKeldin Library B0135
“Omeka: Easy Web Publishing for Scholarship and Cultural Heritage”
by Tom Scheinfeldt and Dave Lester (George Mason)
Well into the second decade of the web, many aspiring digital humanists still find it difficult to mount online exhibitions and publish collections-based research because they lack either technical skills or sufficient funding to pay high priced web design vendors. The digital libraries and archives fields have produced high quality repository and collections management software, but these packages carry too much technical overhead and pay too little attention to web presentation and end user interface for most digital humanities projects. Commercial blog packages have made it easy for digital humanists to publish materials to the web, but the blog’s structure of serial text posts does not allow them to present deep collections or complex narratives.
That is why the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University, in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society, has created Omeka . From the Swahili word meaning “to display” or “to lay out for discussion,” Omeka is a next generation web publishing platform for academic work of all kinds, one that bridges the university, library, and museum worlds through–and by helping to advance–a set of commonly recognized web and metadata standards. Omeka is free and open source. It offers low installation and maintenance costs–appealing to individual scholars and smaller cultural heritage projects and institutions that lack technical staffs and large budgets. It is standards based, extensible, and interoperable–insuring compliance with accessibility guidelines and integration with existing digital collections systems to help digital humanists of all stripes design online exhibitions more efficiently. Omeka brings Web 2.0 technologies and approaches to digital humanities websites–fostering the kind of user interaction and participation that are central to the mission of digital humanities, and providing the contribution mechanisms, tagging facilities, and social networking tools that audiences are coming to expect.
In the first part of this session, Omeka Executive Producer, Tom Scheinfeldt, will introduce the ideas and technologies behind Omeka. In the second part, Omeka Community Liason, Dave Lester, will demo the software, provide tips for getting started, and explain how you can get involved in Omeka’s open source community. An extended period of Q&A will follow.
Tom Scheinfeldt is Managing Director of the Center for History and New Media and Research Assistant Professor of History in the Department of History and Art History at George Mason University. Dr. Scheinfeldt received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Oxford, where his doctoral thesis examined inter-war interest in science and its history in diverse cultural contexts, including museums, universities, World’s Fairs and the mass media. A research associate at the Smithsonian Institution Archives and a fellow of the Science Museum, London, Dr. Scheinfeldt has lectured and written extensively on the history of popular science, the history of museums, history and new media, and the changing role of history in society, and has worked on traditional exhibitions and digital projects at the Colorado Historical Society, the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford, The Louisiana State Museum, the National Museum of American History, and the Library of Congress. In addition to managing general operations at the Center for History and New Media, Dr. Scheinfeldt directs several of its online history projects, including Omeka , the September 11 Digital Archive , the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800 , and Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives .
Dave Lester is the Omeka Community Lead at the Center for History and New Media, and an active developer on the Omeka project. He is also Digital Curator of the American Studies Crossroads Project at Georgetown University, launching a series of exhibitions focusing on the confluence of cultural studies and information technology. Dave is the co-founder of ScholarPress, a development hub for Educational WordPress plugins , co-organized this year’s THATCamp, a barcamp-style Digital Humanities unconference , and is organizing an upcoming Wordcamp for Educators .”
Coming up @MITH 10/7: Brent Seales (University of Kentucky), “EDUCE: Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration.”
View MITH’s complete Digital Dialogues schedule here:
All talks free and open to the public!
Contact: Neil Fraistat, Director, MITH (www.mith.umd.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org, 5-8927).