Should I Start with Omeka-S or not?

I have an assignment for a class to create a website. Although initially this will be small, I fully intend to make it a robust site to support my thesis. I would like to organize it around exhibits. I was told that exhibits cannot be moved from (what I was going to use) to Omeka-S (which is where I would eventually like to go since that is what my local historic and library organizations use and I think one of them will eventually want my work… donated… of course). So, I think I want to start with Omeka-S so I don’t have to redo the site later. But, right now I do not have access to create my site on one of those hosted locations that already has Omeka-S. So, I’m looking at my options. It seems that this is my only option. Am I missing something here that I haven’t thought of? Can I eventually migrate my site from my own hosted website through Reclaim Hosting to a different Omeka-S site hosted on a library or historical society server?

My perspective as someone who runs his own skunk instance of Omeka S on Reclaim and also helps support an institutional instance of Omeka S is that the answer is Yes, with caveats.

  • If the versions are sufficiently different, the migration will be a headache
  • The migration will go smoothest if you can export the Reclaim database and import it into the institution’s database. This is potentially non-trivial.
  • Partial migration could also be a headache. e.g. The library says they want Sites a, b, and d but not c. The easiest thing there would be to migrate your whole database and then delete what they don’t want, but they may not want to assume that labor.
  • If they use a different vocabulary as a professional practice than you use on your personal site, that could pose headaches.
  • If there’s a way to use the OAI PMH harvester on your instance for their instances to hoover up the data, that might moot some of what I said.

In short (too late!) a good chance to make migration smooth is to have detailed conversations with these institutions before you start up so that what you build on Reclaim is most compatible with what they use and do. It’s one of the reasons Reclaim is awesome, that Omeka S is (more or less) easy to fire up and get working, but Omeka S is not designed for easy content migration.

(Of course, I may be talking through my hat. I don’t think so, but other voices on the topic would be good.)

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