Those of us here at the Center for History and New Media and our partners at the Minnesota Historical Society are excited to announce the release of the public beta version of Omeka, a free and open-source software platform that provides museums, historical societies, libraries, and individuals with an easy-to-use platform for publishing collections and creating attractive, standards-based, interoperable online exhibits. Already in use at more than 150 sites, Omeka makes a variety of Web 2.0 technologies and approaches available to any user–small or large–who wants to foster a higher degree of interaction among users and site visitors.
I’ve been one of the beta-testers for the past year, because our 1989 project is built on the Omeka platform. While Omeka is really designed more for museums, archives, and other cultural institutions, it also works very well for a complex website like this one–a site that includes an archive of primary sources (texts, images, video). All of us on the 1989 project team have found Omeka very easy to learn and use.
If you or someone you know is considering building a web presence (or renovating an existing one), I highly recommend taking a look at Omeka. Because it is open source, we expect that all sorts of bells and whistles will be added by the user community, so it will only get better and better.