Building Digital Exhibits in the Classroom with Omeka and Neatline

admin 28/04/2014

How can the digital humanities facilitate more direct engagement between academic researchers, students, and public audiences? At Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive, where I am currently Co-Director, we decided very early on that active public participation was integral to the success of the project. In addition to public engagement, we also wanted to create a digital archive that included robust metadata (or information about each of our objects) that would aid future researchers who wanted to work with our collections. It didn’t take long for us to settle on using Omeka.

Omeka is an open-source content management system (CMS) built at the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University that enables users to collect, annotate, and exhibit digital objects and artifacts. Omeka is a really powerful and useful tool for any digital humanist. Because Omeka is open-source, many digital humanities programs have developed features that you can add on (or “plug-in”) to Omeka to extend its uses. One of the most exciting plug-ins developed for Omeka is Neatline, a tool that helps students, researchers, and archivists create dynamic and rich digital exhibits. With the addition of two small apps, called SIMILE Timeline and Waypoints, Neatline can be used to set up multi-faceted digital exhibits that users can explore through time, space, or narrative. You can read more about Neatline here.

Photo of Neatline exhibit with historical map of Middlebury Vermont

An example of a Neatline exhibit that uses the Simile widget.

Examples of Student-built Exhibits:


Examples of Researcher-built Exhibits:

More Neatline Tutorials


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