I’ve uploaded most of my content for Sixteen Tons and can start the process of organizing my content. I was fortunate enough to have photographed a large potion of my material. I have also transcribed most of the primary documents that I was not able to photograph, or that would have been too difficult to read in digital form (most of my documents are over a century old). Omeka makes the organization a bit easier by providing categories in which you can place your items into. For my own website, I chose to use broad themes that all of my research can fall under. Once I created these broad category titles, it was easy to choose a category from the dropdown menu as I uploaded individual items.
Although it requires a bit of foresight, I recommend creating broad categories prior to uploading documents. Even if you choose to use a program other than Omeka, this type of organization will save you a lot of time wading through documents and photographs later on when you begin organizing the website.
Omeka’s exhibit builder allows you to use webpage templates to display text and collection items together into one theme. For my webpage, the exhibits are a nice way to highlight certain themes that I wrote about in my dissertation. The exhibits also allow me to discuss these themes in way that makes the ideas easier to digest for people outside of academia. Citizenship, for instance, is one category that I look at in great detail in my dissertation. Using Omeka’s exhibit builder, I am able to create a page centered on this category. The process of creating an exhibit can be a bit daunting if you just dive right in, so again, it was important for me to layout the website on a piece of paper first (for you tekkies, grab your iPad) so that I could visualize the breakdown of the exhibits. Exhibits are broken down into sections. In turn, each section has its own collection of pages. So the organization for Omeka exhibits is Exhibit –> Section –>Page. Once you begin building a new page, you can choose to create your own layout, or, if you’re like me and are new building websites, you can choose to use one of Omeka’s own included layouts.
I originally planned on organizing my website with the layout of my dissertation, making each chapter an exhibit. However, I decided that the website would be easier to use, and more appealing to people, if I chose a general thematic approach instead. An exhibit on “citizenship,” for instance, would probably be more useful to visitors than one centered on a specific event. Once I have the general themes, I can then use my specific study to illuminate the exhibit themes.