Using Omeka

This page is designed to help educators at other schools and institutions use Omeka in conjunction with the Jewish Atlantic World Database in order to be able to access some of the features previously only available on the Reed College campus.

Background

The Jewish Atlantic World Database was designed using ContentDM software. This database software has many useful features that on campus participants can use but that are lost off campus, most significantly the ability of users to create their own galleries, annotate the images in those galleries, and share their collections with users on and off campus.

From an educational standpoint, these features are important as they give students the experience of curating their own virtual museum space. In this space, students can experience how collecting different sets of images can create (or change) stories we tell about the past.  Likewise the ability to tag images allows students to see how data associated with these images is also part of a historical argument rather than purely factual.  That is these features help students learn how to make historical arguments (write history) rather than experiencing historical arguments second hand.

In addition, students on campus have access to a Moodle with a wiki and newforum features that allow students to share their work, collaborate in groups, and make links and connections to prior postings by members of the class.  These features enhance students’ understanding of connections between objects of study and to think about the larger story (“narrative”) told in the class.

Making these Features Available to People off Campus

Using Omeka in combination with the Jewish Atlantic World Database can provide educators and students at other institutions to

  • Make their own galleries
  • Tag and title images
  • Share their galleries and their written work
  • Collaborate on digital assignments
  • Make links and connections to prior postings and assignments

In addition, Omeka provide a wide range of additional features through “plug-ins” that are not available through ContentDM and the Moodle, even to on-campus users.  These plug-ins allow students to do things like

Using Omeka

Omeka is free and easy to use.  While students (and educators) with a background in programing and access to server space will benefit from the full, downloadable version of Omeka, a simpler version of Omeka with free server space is available at Omeka.net.  I recommend beginning with this version. To get started, follow one of these links:

Each of the links includes both a “how to” guide and suggestions for ways to use Omeka with the Jewish Atlantic World Database.

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