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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Guide to Building Omeka Exhibits

A guide to building Exhibits in UT's Omeka site, specifically Architectural Collections.

Importing Items

How to Import Items into Omeka

There are two ways items can be imported into Omeka, individually or via a CSV import.  Importing items individually is much more time consuming on the back end of the process, while creating the CSV file is time consuming on the front end, it makes the actual work of importing items much faster.  See below for detailed instructions on both processes of importing items.

CSV Import Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Fast
  • Metadata already standardized
  • Uploads hundreds of images quickly

Cons:

  • Can be time-consuming to work in Excel and clean the metadata
  • Have to be able to attach image via a link

CSV Import Instructions

Step One

After logging in to the Omeka Administrator site, click on the "CSV Import" button at the bottom of the menu on left.  This will lead you to the page to begin your CSV Import.  

Step Two

At the top of the screen, click the "Choose File" button to select the CSV file to import.  Next, check the box to Automap Column Names to Elements.  Select the Item Type (likely "Still Image," but could also be "Text" or "Audio").  Select the desired Collection for the items, and then leave "Choose Column Delimiter" and "Choose Tag Delimiter" with a comma (just "," in the box).  When ready, click the green "Next" button at the bottom of the screen.

Step Three

Map Elements appropriately (e.g. the "Title" column maps to the element "Title," the "Geographic Location - Country" column might map to the element "Spatial Coverage").  This must be done quickly, so it might be worthwhile to plan this out ahead of time, or write down what element you want each column to map to and redo the process.  If using a URL to attach an image to the CSV file, be sure to click the "File" button when mapping the link to the "URL" element so that Omeka recognizes it is supposed to add the image as a file.  Once the elements are mapped properly, click "Import CSV" button at bottom. 

Step Four

Next, the CSV file's Status will show up as "Queued" to be imported.  You must refresh the page to track the progress of the import.  Once the import is complete, it will say "Completed."   When Omeka says the import is complete, check that the correct number of items were imported, then click on the Items button on the left and check that the items are in fact imported with the correct titles, metadata, and images attached.  If the items are not there, check that the import is completed in the status, or try the process again.  If the items have been successfully added to Omeka, the CSV import is complete!

Step Five

Once you have ensured that your items are correctly and completely imported, you are ready to begin building your Omeka exhibit!  Just click on the "Exhibits" button in the main menu on the left of the screen to get started!

Item-by-Item Import Pros and Cons

Pros: 

  • Fast
  • Metadata already standardized
  • Uploads hundreds of images quickly

Cons:

  • Can be time-consuming to work in Excel and clean the metadata
  • Have to be able to attach image via a link

 

Item-by-Item Import Instructions

Step One

To add individual items, click on the "Items" button in the main menu on the left of the screen.  This will lead you to where all your items are listed. Next, click on the green "Add an Item" button to add a new item. 

Step Two

Omeka should automatically bring you to the Dublin Core page to enter metadata for the item, but if not, click on the Dublin Core tab on the left side of the page by the main menu.  Enter your metadata into the selected fields.  This is easiest when a metadata standard is planned ahead for all items.  There are an overwhelming number of possible fields in the list of possible metadata fields, but just fill in those which best fit your schema.  In the example in the image, we entered descriptive information into ten fields (Title, Subject, Description, Creator, Source, Publisher, Date, Contributor, Rights, Relation, Type, Coverage).  

Defining tricky terms that can have multiple meanings like "type" or "format" and applying the same definition across collections can also prove helpful.  As much as possible, pre-plan your standardized metadata so that it is easier when adding individual items to Omeka.  

Step Three

Next, you must add the image file associated with the metadata you have entered.  (It does not have to be done in this order, the image file can be attached first and the metadata entered after, but this is just the order I found worked best for me).  To do so, click on the "Files" tab (located two over from the "Dublin Core" tab). 

Click on the "Choose File" button, and select the desired image file.  We have used standard JPEG files with Omeka successfully, so that is a good quality, reliable format to use.   You should see the file you selected next to that "Choose File" button. 

Select the Collection you want this item to belong to from the dropdown menu on the right.  The collection must already have been created for it to appear in the drop down menu, so do that before adding your images.  Or, it is very easy to go back later and select a collection for the image.  The "Public" and "Featured" selections are also changeable later, so only select those if you are ready for the item to be made publicly available immediately.  

Finally, click the big green "Add Item" button on the right side of the page.  This should quickly add your item to your Omeka site! 

Step Four

Go back to the main Items page by clicking on the "Items" button in the main menu on the left.  If the image you just added does not immediately show up, just refresh after a minute or so and it should be there, including a thumbnail.  So long as it is on that main page, the image has been successfully uploaded to Omeka!

Step Five

If you click on the title of the item, it will take you to this page, which displays the thumbnail of the image and the metadata entered for the item.  If you need to edit the item to make it public or featured or to edit metadata or add the item to a collection, just click the green "Edit" button on the right, and you will be able to make all the necessary changes!  Otherwise, you're ready to go and add the rest of your items, or to start building your Omeka exhibit! 

A Note on Metadata

Having cleaned up, standardized metadata is important for making the process of importing items smooth and uniform across a collection. Omeka typically uses Dublin Core standards for metadata, so be aware of the terminology used by Dublin Core and incorporate that into your metadata where applicable.  Also, when importing individual items, there are many metadata fields (shown in the image below).  Don't be intimidated by that!  You don't have to fill them all out!  Just fill in the pertinent ones!  

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