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Omeka logo.jpg
Developer(s) Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University
Initial release June 2, 2009 (2009-06-02)[1]
Stable release

3.0.3  (April 21, 2022; 33 days ago (2022-04-21))

Preview release none [±]
Written in PHP
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Content management system
License(s) GNU General Public License

Omeka (which in Swahili roughly translates as "to display," "to lay out for discussion," or "to unpack"[2]) is a free open-source web publishing system for online digital archives. Omeka uses an unqualified Dublin Core metadata standard. As it's completely web-based, it allows users to publish cultural heritage objects, extend its functionality with themes and plugins, and curate online exhibits with digital objects. A lightweight solution in comparison to traditional institutional repository software like DSpace, Omeka has a focus on display. Its software is currently being used by the New York Public Library[3], the Newberry Library, as well as many small museums and historical societies. The Missouri School of Journalism uses Omeka to share their archive of 38,000 photographs from the Pictures of the Year International contest.[4]

Product history

Omeka's origins lie in several historical archive projects that were independently in production at George Mason University's Center for History and New Media, including the September 11 Digital Archive and the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank.[2] With the desire "to create some kind of system that would allow collecting institutions to mount rich narratives,"[2] the center started work on a more robust application in late 2006, producing a private beta shortly afterward. After significant testing, that beta went public on February 20, 2008.[2]

In December 2008, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University was awarded a technology collaboration award by the Andrew Mellon Foundation for its work on Omeka.[5] On June 2, 2009, version 1.0 of Omeka was publicly released.[1]

Version 1.5 of Omeka was released on February 7, 2012, with new features such as multilingual support, file extension awareness, and file reordering.[6]


The many features of Omeka can be discovered in a PDF file found on the Omeka website.

Hardware/software requirements

Omeka runs on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) software bundle and thus has the following installation requirements:

  • Linux operating system
  • Apache HTTP server (with mod_rewrite enabled)
  • MySQL 5.0 or greater
  • PHP 5.2.4 or greater (with mysqli and exif extensions installed)
  • ImageMagick

Additional server settings and PHP suggestions can be found here.

Videos, screenshots, and other media

Screenshots for Omeka can be found on Meedan's Flickr page.

Numerous videos of Omeka in action can also be found on their website.

Access the online demo here.

Entities using Omeca

Examples of entities using Omeka include:

Alexandria Archive Institute, BJU Press, Center for Digital Discourse and Culture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Chicago History Museum, European Science Foundation, Farmers Museum, George Mason University Libraries, George Washington University Libraries, Hawaiian Historical Society, MBL Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, New York Public Library, Oregon State University Libraries, Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Smithsonian Institution, Trinity College Dublin

A full directory of Omeka users can be found at the Omeka website.

Further reading

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Scheinfeldt, Tom (2 June 2009). "Omeka 1.0 Drops Today". Center for History and New Media. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Guess, Andy (20 February 2008). "New Tool for Online Collections". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  3. "Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City". New York Public Library. Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  4. "POYi Archive". Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  5. Roy, Michael (10 December 2008). "Recipients of Third Annual Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration Announce". Academic Commons. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 
  6. "Release Notes for 1.5". Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2012.