Omeka, the web publishing platform for sharing rich digital collections recently got a major update to 2.0. This open source project from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has been serving many museums, libraries, and other archives large and small with its customizable but relatively simple to use server software. We have introduced Omeka here at ProfHacker, talked about its use in teaching, as well as pointed out some useful ways to customize it and make it more accessible.
I just finished an upgrade from 1.3 on an installation of Omeka I use as a kind of family archive, hosting old Christmas letters, family stories, and anecdotes about objects that have passed from generation to generation. While I miss the built-in browser updating we have been spoiled with in the world of WordPress blogs, the upgrade process for Omeka was still painless in comparison with a lot of what is out there, thanks to the straightforward instructions available here. My plugins did update directly in the browser, which was great. Given how smoothly things went, I’ll soon move on to upgrade A Shoebox of Norwegian Letters, another Omeka project I put together with my mother over the course of a ten day Christmas vacation two years ago. For projects like the Shoebox, which involved more customization and fiddling around in the heart of Omeka’s code, upgrading may take a bit more care. This guide for developers suggests that they will have their work cut out for them getting their plugins in shape for 2.0
Hopefully, at least some of the customizations I had to do will no longer be necessary in future upgrades since one of the great new features of 2.0 is the ability, in the new administrator’s Appearances panel, to customize the navigation structure of the installation and determine the default home page. Other improvements over the 1.3 version I was using up to this point are an overall nicer feel to the administrator’s dashboard, a much nicer interface for adding tags that allows direct editing, and a better search interface both for the frontend of the site and within the dashboard. The editing of items is also more streamlined, with the ability to reorder files attached to items (since 1.5), and the ability to quickly and easily pick a collection for an item you are adding. Finally, collections themselves are now more than just placeholders for items with new support for the full range of Dublin Core metadata. Find the new version here.
Has anyone upgraded who can share their experience? Have you found any good new plugins for Omeka that you can recommend? Please share in the comments.