We here at ProfHacker are big Omeka fans. Julie and I have written about its value for individuals, for institutions, and for teaching. This open-source, free, web-based publishing tool is both a digital repository and a way to build online exhibits. Created to be used easily by non-programmers, it is also flexible and powerful enough to meet large institutional needs.
Up until this point, however, Omeka users have needed to install Omeka themselves, either on their own server or on a web host. While this is a fairly easy process, it is a barrier that some people have been unwilling to take, because of ability, opportunity, or simply comfort level. If you are one of those people, however, you have one less excuse for not using Omeka than you did yesterday. At the Museum Computer Network Conference on Thursday, the Center for History and New Media, the makers of Omeka, announced Omeka.net Beta, a version of Omeka that is hosted by the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, a non-profit organized to provide financial and technical services to free and open-source research and education software projects like Omeka and Zotero.
The new service comes in a variety of flavors, based on the particular needs and financial commitment of the user. According to their announcement:
Omeka.net will offer five plans for users that include a range of options from building one site using a few plugins and themes to deploying an unlimited number of sites that uses an extensive set of add-ons and designs. These plans, including a basic free option, are available to accommodate a variety of individual and institutional users.
I’ve played around a bit with the free Basic service (500 MB of storage, 1 site, 4 plug-ins, and 4 themes) and it’s quite easy to use. Just create an account at Omeka.net and you can start uploading your digital collections and creating your own exhibits. The four paid plans increase the amount of storage, the number of sites you can construct, and the number of plug-ins and themes to which you have access.
Check it out for yourself and let us know in the comments what you think.
Edited at 11.19 to fix a link, and to correctly indicate the author as Jeffrey McClurken.