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Research Guides

Omeka: Adding Collections

Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions.

What are collections?

Think of Omeka as your own digital museum. Each museum has multiple collections housed within it. Collections may be organized around a theme, particular artist, donor, etc. You may create Collections as makes sense within the structure of your own project. As you think through the structure of your Omeka site, keep in mind that items may only be assigned to one Collection.

How are collections different from exhibits?

Exhibits are an opportunity to highlight a few items from a single collection or to put items from several collections in conversation with one another. For example, an Omeka exhibit on Feminist Artists of the 20th Century might include a few works from the Eva Hesse Collection, the Judy Chicago Collection, and the Georgia O’Keeffe Collection together with framing about their work. Or, if a museum has a large collection of Georgia O'Keeffe materials, they may select just a few items from the collection to highlight and discuss in detail in an exhibit.

Creating a collection in Omeka

  1. To begin adding Collections, go to your Omeka admin site. You should have received an email with the admin site link when you installed Omeka on Reclaim. If you do not know your admin site link, please contact a Digital Scholarship Lead at for assistance.
    1. On the administrative Omeka dashboard, you’ll see a section called “Recent Collections”.  Within the “Recent Collections” section, click the link to “Add a new collection”.Omeka dashboard
  2. You will be prompted to fill out Dublin Core metadata for your new Collection. The amount of information you enter is up to you. Keep in mind that the more metadata you add to your collection, the more context the viewer of your collection will have about the collection they are viewing.

    1. For guidance on metadata for Collections (as well as items), consult information about working with Dublin Core in Omeka Classic documentation, and the Reclaim Omeka Metadata: Getting Started Guide created by UW Metadata Librarians.

    2. Click the “Add Input” button if you would like a second field under that particular heading. For example, if you’re working with French materials, you may want a title in French and a title translated into English. Omeka add a collection page

  3. Once you’ve entered your collection metadata, look at the check boxes below the “Add Collection” button.

    1. By default, your collection will be created in draft mode and not displayed publicly on your site. If you are ready to have your collection available for public view, click the “Public” check box below the “Add Collection” button. You may always go back into your Omeka Collection and make it public at a later date by going to the Omeka dashboard, finding your Omeka Collection’s title and clicking the edit link next to it, checking the “public box” and then the “save changes” button.

    2. If you wish, you may select a collection to display prominently on your Omeka site’s homepage. To highlight your collection on the Omeka homepage, check the “Featured” box. See the Georgetown Slavery Archive for an example of what an Feature Collection could look like in Omeka.

    3. Once you have checked the appropriate boxes, if any, for your collection click the “Add Collection” button.

  4. Once you add your Omeka Collection, you will see your collection listed with a note that it has been successfully added. Omeka Browse Collection page


Congratulations! You’ve just added your first Omeka Collection! Now you’re ready to add items to your Collection. For more help with Omeka, check out the UW Omeka User Guide.

Changing the look of your site with themes

The colors, font and layout of your overall Omeka site can be changed by changing your Omeka theme. Omeka comes with three select options for themes with more that can be downloaded and added to your site if you desire. Omeka Appearence page

For help changing your site's appearance, check out the UW Omeka User guide's page on Changing Your Sites Appearance. You could also design your own theme. For more information on downloading additional themes or creating your own, please see the Omeka Classic Guide. Note that you would need to install additional themes via your Reclaim cpanel. You will be responsible for updating any non-standard or custom install themes as versions of Omeka are updated.