Digital Exhibition Platforms

Digital exhibitions can provide a collaborative space for students to create an interactive exploration of their coursework. It allows them to gain in-depth research, writing, and editing skills, as well as sourcing accompanying images. There are many different digital exhibition platforms to choose from, but the tools reviewed here are already supported by campus units such as the Library and Academic Technology Solutions. Setting up a digital exhibition space can at times require dedicating a considerable amount of time to customize the platform. Selecting the platform that best suits your needs will help streamline the creation process. Read on to determine which tool and features are right for your needs and explore demo sites for each platform.

UChicago Wiki

Why choose Wiki? UChicago Wiki is suitable for digital exhibitions that are text focused and do not require more than a caption for each image. The platform offers basic text styling options and allows users to focus on the substance of the text. The learning curve for UChicago Wiki is fairly low. 

Wiki sites can be collaborative, with multiple users able to contribute to the same site. Wiki sites are similar to other blog formats: they allow for written posts, images, different pages, and comments. Users have the option to make their site private or publicly viewable.

Home Page

Image 1 of 7

View a demo Wiki site of a digital exhibition.

Academic Technology Solutions staff can work with faculty and instructors to set up the site, provide in-class training, and more. Set up a consultation to get started.

UChicago Voices

Why choose Voices? UChicago Voices is a WordPress based platform and is suitable for digital exhibitions that place equal emphasis on image and text but do not require more than a caption for each image. It works especially well in conjunction with using a course blog as a replacement for Canvas discussion boards (see: How Should You Choose between Canvas Discussion Boards and a Course Blog?). Instructors have a high degree of control over how the site looks. The learning curve for UChicago Voices ranges from easy to moderate, depending on the features required by faculty and instructor, and it can be integrated with Canvas.

Image-Focused Homepage

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All uses of UChicago Voices for course work are fully supported by Academic Technology Solutions staff–we will help you set up the site (e.g based on one of the templates below), enroll your students, provide technical support, in-class training, and more. To receive full support, you must request your blogs using this form. One of our staff will respond within 3 business days. 

Demos of layout options available on Voices:

Image-Focused Layout: https://voices.uchicago.edu/exhibitiontemplate/

Image and Text Focused Layout: https://voices.uchicago.edu/exhibitiontemplate2/

Text-Focused Layout: https://voices.uchicago.edu/exhibitiontemplate3/

Omeka

Why choose Omeka? Omeka is designed for building collections of online images and then curating those images to create digital exhibitions and narratives. Use Omeka to share digital collections, create a collaborative, object-based digital assignment, or as an alternative to a final research paper. Another common use case is to use Omeka to build a media-rich web exhibition to accompany a physical exhibition, allowing visitors to explore topics in more depth, and after the physical show is no longer on display. Omeka has a higher learning curve than either the Wiki or Voices. We recommend instructors and students allow at least an hour or two for training and guidance before getting started.

Features:

  • Omeka.net (the version that UChicago subscribes to) offers 32 plugins–or ways to extend the functionality of the site–including a customizable Exhibit Builder, an image annotator, and LC Suggest, an autosuggest tool for Omeka elements that uses the Library of Congress’ Authorities and Vocabularies service.
  • Users upload items, make collections, and build exhibitions.
  • Supports object metadata in Dublin Core
  • Supports multiple formats and file extensions, with a 128mb file size limit for any single file.
  • A site map or outline is useful for sketching out the structure of the site

Omeka is supported by Library; if you are a UChicago student or faculty looking to use Omeka for teaching or a digital project, please contact the Library at cds@lib.uchicago.edu to acquire an Omeka.net site.

View the Library Guide to Omeka, or view the Omeka demo site.

Looking for a side-by-side comparison of platform features? See Academic Technology Solutions’ Digital Exhibition Platforms Comparison Table

If you are interested in learning about strategies for managing personal image archives, visit this guide on Personal Image Archiving Tools.

The demo sites and documentation were prepared in collaboration with colleagues at Academic Technology Solutions and the University of Chicago Library:

Allie Scholten
Digital Collections Manager, Visual Resources Center
The University of Chicago Department of Art History
ascholten@uchicago.edu

Bridget Madden
Associate Director, Visual Resources Center
The University of Chicago Department of Art History
bridgetm@uchicago.edu

Cecilia Lo
Academic Technology Analyst, IT Services
University of Chicago
cclo@uchicago.edu

Nancy Spiegel
Bibliographer for Art, Cinema and History
University of Chicago Library
nspiegel@uchicago.edu