Omeka.net, the hosted version of the Omeka open source web publishing platform, celebrated its public launch yesterday. Although still in a beta launch phase, Omeka.net is now available to everyone, which provides an excellent opportunity for individuals and organizations that do not have dedicated in-house tech and server support to easily and quickly publish and maintain their digital collections available online with a professional quality site.
Think of Omeka as the WordPress or Drupal for digital collections. Read more about it in yesterday’s ReadWriteWeb article.
I have been an alpha-tester since May and am quite impressed with what it offers for small to mid-size digital collections. A basic site can bet set up within minutes, yet optional plugins and themes provide varying levels of customization. There are five pricing plans, including a free one. Premium personal plans range from $49/year to $99.00/year, Team and Group plans are $299/year, and Institutional plans are $999.00 year. Each upgrade offers more plugin and themes, with the Institutional plan offering an unlimited number of each.
For those who need more extensive visual and functional customization, you can still download a free copy of the open source application, more free themes (or design your own), and more free plugins, to install on your own servers.
Omeka.net provides a much-needed opportunity for scholars, teachers, students, and local heritage organizations that do not benefit from a dedicated systems or web programming staff, or have access to a larger parent organization-supported institutional repository. I already intend to demo and pitch it to the local history and special collections groups with whom I network and consult.
What the Free Hosted Account Offers
- 1 Site
- Full backups
- 500 MB of storage
- 4 theme choices
Up to 4(2012 Note:Now up to 8) of the following plugins:
- Atom Output: generates RSS feeds when new content is added.
- COinS: Makes your collection data readable by Zotero.
- Contribution: Allows site visitors to contribute content.
- Dublin Core Extended: Adds the full DC property set to the element set.
- Exhibit Builder: Creates full online exhibits.
- Geolocation: Adds location info and maps.
- OAI-PMH Repository: Allows your data to be harvested by other Open Archives Initiatives systems.
- SimpleContactForm: Adds a web form to contact the site administrator.
- Simple Pages: Creates static pages to accompany collection pages.
- Social Bookmarking: Visitors can share pages across social networks.
What Omeka.net is Missing
I really wish Omeka.net offered the following features:
- Nested Collections: Neither the self-hosted nor the hosted version provide for nested collections (parent-level collections and their related sub/child-level collections). This functionality is critical to organizations like my university that have several archival centers on campus, each with its own collection groups that in turn contain multiple collections. (2012 Note: As of 2/07/12, self-hosted Omeka 1.5 and above can use the new Collection Tree plugin to create and manage nested collections; this is not available yet for Omeka.net.)
- The Full Plugin Gallery:When testing the private alpha phase, and in using the free version of the new beta hosted platform, I’ve felt quite hampered by not having access to the full plugin gallery, in particular: