Using Omeka: Cultural Heritage Projects at Indiana University

November 19th 2014 @ 12:00pm

William G. Cowan, Head, Software Development
Library Technologies Software Development

Erika Jenns, Graduate Assistant
Arts & Humanities, Reference Services

Ardea Smith, Graduate Assistant
Black Film Center/Archive


In recent years, Omeka has become an important tool for the exhibit of digital object collections. As with many technologies, Omeka can present some issues with setup and configuration, but overall, Omeka is easy to use for managing digital content. A few of the recent projects to use Omeka are the Lilly Library’s War of 1812 ( and Indiana University Library Moving Image Archive’s World War II Propaganda Films ( The two projects discussed at this session are the Don C. Belton memorial site by the English Department, presented by Erika Jenns, and the “Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film” conference and workshop site presented by the Black Film Center/Archive graduate assistant Ardea Smith.


Using Omeka to Represent the Library of Professor Don C. Belton ( presented by Erika Jenns

Using my experiences cataloguing the collection of Professor Don Belton, the late novelist, book collector, and English professor at Indiana University Bloomington, I will address the benefits of using Omeka to create a dynamic access point for users. After Belton’s death in 2009, the bulk of his collection was transferred to branch libraries on campus. Remaining books were kept by IU’s English Department, which does not have a formal library. To make the collection more visible, I created an Omeka website, meant to function as a precursor to a visit to the collection. The site uses tags, rendering it more searchable. It also includes scans of book covers, digitized videos of Belton lecturing and reading, and posts by students who have worked with the collection. The site represents Belton's books both physically and electronically. Coupled with biographical information, it highlights Belton's research interests, sources of inspiration, and some of the works he produced.


The Proceedings of Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film( presented by Ardea Smith

In 2013, the Black Film Center/Archive received a National Endowment for the Humanities Level I Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant to convene an interdisciplinary group of scholars, archivists, curators, and digital humanities technology specialists for a two-day conference and workshop, “Regeneration in Digital Contexts: Early Black Film.” The conference and workshop proceedings were documented on video and fully transcribed. To enhance public access to these proceedings, I oversaw the creation of a website utilizing the open-source Omeka platform and VideoStream 2 plugin designed by project advisor Will Cowan at Indiana University. The website anchors streaming video content to keyword-searchable transcripts of the event proceedings. Drawing on the development process for the “Regeneration” website, my presentation will discuss the practical issues of building of an Omeka-based site using IU’s webserve system with an aim to help individuals new to digital archival creation.


This lecture is part of the ongoing Digital Library Brown Bag Series. Follow and contribute to the presentations and discussions on twitter: #dlbb.


Fall 2014 Digital Library Brown Bag Schedule

Programs will be held from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST in the Herman B Wells Library in Rooms E174 and E159 (Hazelbaker Hall in the Scholars' Commons).


Remote Access to the Brown Bag

This semester's Digital Library Brown Bag series will be available for remote access via the Web, unless otherwise specified. Anyone may log in; you do not need to be an IU affiliate. Presentation slides and audio will be available via the Adobe Connect Meeting Service). Go to to view and listen to the presentation. If you are not a registered user for Connect Meeting/Breeze, select the "Enter as a Guest" option.


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Contact Info

Wells Library W501
1320 East Tenth Street
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405
Michelle Dalmau
Michelle Dalmau - Head, Digital Collections Services, Associate Librarian
(812) 855-1261