Friday, 6 March 2015

Omeka revisited

I don't know how you spend your Fridays, but I spent mine building Omeka.

A long time ago (2012) I built an Omeka 1.5 test instance. I looked at it, played with it, and in truth did very little with it.

This week I thought I'd take another look, so I fired it up. It still seemed to work, but it said there was a new version available, so I upgraded.

Bad mistake. Somehow the combination of the various system updates on my machine over the intervening years and the omeka upgrade conspired to break my install such that I could display existing content but not add content – which was a a trifle annoying.

So I decided to cut my losses, an install it on a lovely shiny new Ubuntu 14.04 vm, an exercise that showed me that I don't actually understand the default configuration of apache on ubuntu. Basically it installed but didn't run because I'd stuffed up my virtual web server.

Rather than fight this I scrapped the vm and built a debian instance – something which I should have done first off. Debian installed beautifully, so beautifully that I was tempted to run home and wipe Windows off of my home laptop in favour of debian – or at least I was until I remembered that I needed Office to work on some documents which had a weird template that caused LibreOffice to sit in the corner and mutter to itself …

Omeka itself just installed. Everything just worked out of the box. I built a quick demo collection by raiding the wikipedia page on les Merveilleuses just to prove I could, and while adding content is always laborious, the process was intuitive, in fact more intuitive than I remembered.

I also played with adding a couple of other collections, private items, and moving content about, and it was all pretty slick - I was quietly impressed by how much it had improved in the intervening years.

And why would we use omeka? Well the first use that comes to mind is a portfolio server to showcase content. The second, potentially more interesting is as a way to allow people to build collections of resources, such as scanned images (think pages from nineteenth century diaries) that people annotate and build up into a collection of supporting collateral ...

{update december 2016}

Library Luther has left a new comment on your post "Omeka revisited":

Hello and Happy Holidays (if it applies). I know this post is old but it's the most recent Omeka on Linux that I could find.

Been trying to get the latest Omeka installed, strictly for testing purposes and can not get out of the gate. I've got an old Dell Optiplex 755 that I've blown up a couple of times now following the horribly dated instructions on the website. Latest effort was with Ubuntu Server 16.04 but alas, no go.

When you say, "built a debian instance..." do you have any outlined steps and/or guide that you'd be willing to share?

I'm sorry, I don't have a guide as such, basically  what I did was a 'follow the bouncing ball exercise': install virtualbox, download the debian network install iso and build myself a debian virtual machine by doing a standard debian build.

No tricky stuff involved ...

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