Platforms, Functionality, Usability

omekascreenshot_smWell, platforms. I guess “out of the box” is helpful & gets your project off the ground quickly. But it boxes things up, too. I experimented this afternoon with Omeka.net. It has an impressive structure that yields some astonishingly quick results and offers simple-to-activate plug-ins. I created a collection & tried adding a few items manually and by ingesting from a csv file, then created an exhibition. It seemed as if the easiest way to pull data from Zotero in (at least according to the Zotero forum discussion that @magpie found, you can export Zotero data as a report (html), then open that file in Excel, then save as CSV. Fine, but the table needed a 90 degree rotation, and I’m Excel-phobic enough to let that deter me. So I ended up hand editing the table, but was able to save it as a CSV and pull the data into Omeka. I’m sure there’s a better way to do that, but it was worth investigating. Omeka.net was, however, a bit disappointing from a visual and usability standpoint. Not sure why each item needs to proclaim so loudly its metadata format. And when navigation is largely verbal, rather than visual, it affects usability. The template styles, while limited, definitely work. Apparently, Omeka.org solves all these issues with lots of customization options, as is clearly apparent in the stunning Peacock Room site. There is much more that can be done with omeka.net, of course, and a two-hour experiment gave only time to explore it briefly—hoping for more hands-on soon!

Perhaps Drupal would provide a more flexible, tabula rasa-style platform for my project. My experience with Drupal has been from a “consumer” point of view, managing the construction of (and providing content for) a web site developed by others with time constraints, rather than from the “producer” perspective, from which all things are possible.

 

 

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