Digital Humanities
@ Pratt

Inquiries into culture, meaning, and human value meet emerging technologies and cutting-edge skills at Pratt Institute's School of Information

Omeka/Neatline Skillshare

This instructional video details how a novice humanist can set up Omeka and Neatline locally.*

Below are the links you will need to set up:

MAMP
ImageMagick
Omeka
Neatline

What is Omeka and Neatline? 

Omeka is an open-source web-publishing software, which is often used by digital humanists to create and build digital exhibitions and collections with various types of media. Omeka has several creative plug-ins including Neatline, which is used to apply an interactive, narrative and geospatial aspect to an exhibition or collection.

What can I do with these programs?

Omeka and Neatline are both very easy and basic programs to use once set up properly, and they offer a wide range of possibilities for a variety of projects. While Omeka is primarily a digital exhibition/collection, a place where you can curate and display various types of media for your project, Omeka’s plugin’s allow more versatility and expands the limits in what you could do with your digital project. Because Omeka is a FOSS (free and open-source software), user collections and exhibitions can be created in a way that is applicable for their projects – ranging from visually basic to visually complex. The Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University created an exhibition titled Making the History of 1989, providing a wide variety of sources and materials regarding the fall of communism and “the wall” in 1989 Germany.

Neatline, as stated previously, is a map-based interactive plug-in, which can visualize your Omeka digital collection by plotting events or ideas on a map. Neatline offers a narrative perspective to your project, not a data perspective as is common with other types of geospatial digital tools and projects. Likewise, Neatline also allows the user to plot items on a map, and can in turn allow the creation of a traveler’s-type map. For example, the University of Virginia utilized Omeka/Neatline in their project Mapping the Catalogue of Ships which maps parts of Homer’s Iliad. This project allows the user to explore some of the journeys depicted in the Iliad, which i s made possible through Neatline. Similarly, Mecca and the Haram is an exhibition and map from the University of Virginia, which details the different perspectives of Mecca and the Haram from a variety of traveler accounts in history. Another Neatline characteristic is the timeline aspect which provides another useful perspective to the exhibit.

Helpful Links and other resources on Omeka and Neatline

I’ve included several links that will help you explore the various options that are available through these programs.

Neatine Introduction from UCLA

NYCDH Omeka/Neatline Guide

Geo Rectifying Maps for Neatline

College of Charleston Omeka Libguide

The database created in the tutorial is a most basic and simple Omeka exhibition; much more is possible, as detailed above. For the purposes of this skillshare, I wanted to simply get a user set up and ready to explore Omeka and Neatline. My Test for DH Database screenshots:

Screenshot 2015-12-12 18.18.59

Screenshot 2015-12-12 18.18.16

Screenshot 2015-12-12 18.18.28

Additional Notes

This skillshare only shows how a humanist can set up on a local independent server; if you wish to transfer your database to another server, Omeka has several resources available here.

*Note: Several users have experienced issues when installing and getting ImageMagick synced with Omeka and Neatline. Setting up ImageMagick in the tutorial worked on a MacBookPro OSX 10.10.5, however, it did not work on all other platforms. For some Macs, by installing ImageMagick via MacPorts, and changing the ImageMagick path as directed in the Skillshare video will get everything synced up appropriately.

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