Difference between Omeka Classic and Omeka S

Hi all,

I’m a research assistant at a University in Ireland and I’m very eager to install Omeka for imputing digital repositories from different resources in different countries.

I would love to know the difference between Omeka S and Omeka Classic, you please help?

Thanks for the help.



One very basic answer is that Omeka Classic is designed for a single site around a general theme, argument, or research question. Omeka S was created for institutions managing a sharable resource pool across multiple sites. In addition, Omeka Classic uses Dublin Core while Omeka S implements multiple vocabularies and facilitates linked open data.

If you want to take a look at the differences yourself, you can sign up for a trial account at Omeka.net and experiment in the Omeka S sandbox.

If you can describe your project in a little more depth, we’d be happy to help you figure out which is the better fit.


Hi Mebrett,

Thank you for the quick reply!

The general project is based on collecting repositories (mostly PDF, images, docs, links to videos) more than 10 locations spread out across Europe. Each will be imputing their own data with their own logins, once the metadata is oriented.

It will be a 3 years project and will eventually be available to the public.

The amount of data will not be in huge and will not require a massive amount of storage, especially when we will link the videos instead. Speaking of which, can we embed video links to items as well?

I hope that helps.

Many thanks,


Hi Rick,

For that it sounds like you could use either S or Classic. With Classic, you can use HTML in elements, so you could link out to videos that way. In S you can have a URI as a value for a property.

The thing you might want to consider in relation to your project is whether or not you’re interested in the relational data functionalities of Omeka S and its ability to play nicely with linked open data models.



Hi Megan!

I hope it’s OK to jump into this discussion as I too am trying to decide which direction to go. I’m not so sure we need multisite as our needs are similar to Rick’s, but the relational db function resonates loudly with me.

My question is, would there be any compelling reason I should go with Classic over S if multisite is not part of my equation? I am looking for ease of use (must be intuitive), so if one over the other is better for usability then that would swap my decision. If the multisite version does everything that Classic does with the same ease of use, then that would work and might be the better choice.

How my questions make sense. :slight_smile:

Thanks, Kevin

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Hi Kevin,

If your project would benefit from relational data, then it might make sense to use Omeka S. Omeka Classic is a little easier to get off the ground (it automatically creates a site when you spin up the install) but both are well documented in terms of use.

Have you experimented with the Omeka S Sandbox and Omeka.net trial account (linked above)?


No, we have not. This application was recommended to our institution by someone at our State Library. It was a very high recommendation. We have artifacts going back to 1912 and would like to preserve and make them available to the public. So far, everything I’ve researched keeps pointing to Omeka for our needs.

We had also wanted to create a searchable data store for capstone projects. Could this be a use for a multisite installation where the capstones could be stored separate from the archives?

Thanks again for your replies. This helps a lot!



To clarify the multisite question, do all sites need to have the same fields and metadata types? Or can the sites be very different all having unique attributes? Hope this question makes more sense.

Thanks, Kevin

Using Omeka S, you would have one installation from which you could build multiple sites, one being your archival items and another being your capstone projects. For example, a number of sites in the Omeka S Site Directory are built by the J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, and while some share the same (custom) theme, the “Fighting Words” site is distinct.

In Omeka Classic, all items use Dublin Core metadata and can have different item types which adds metadata fields. In Omeka S, resource templates can draw from any of the installed vocabularies.

The best way to evaluate which Omeka will work for your project is to plug a handful of items into the sandbox (or a sandbox installation) and a trial account on Omeka.net


Good morning!

Thank you Megan for all of this information. I am very green in this area, so your help has been very valuable.

If we go multi-site, will the search function search across all sites? For instance, if we want to find anything to do with Sister Mary Ellen Smith, and we split up our archives with periodicals and art, would the search engine find any publish articles containing her name and any art she was credited with? Or, would separate searches in each site be required?

Also, and this might help to be the final decision maker: if we start out with Classic and later find a need to use the S version, can Classic be upgraded to S?

Thanks, Kevin

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At the moment, each site built with Omeka S only has search functionality for that site. You would be able to search for Sister Mary Ellen Smith on the admin side and see everything, but individual sites would only return results for resources (items, item sets) associated with that site.

There is an Omeka Classic to S import module. It will import items, collections, and users, but will not import Exhibits if you have built them, due to the difference in how Omeka Classic and S construct public facing content.


Dear Megan,
Following this thread in hopes it can help direct our decision too. We are hosting a crowdsourcing metadata tagging event, where we will have our collection items open to the public to tag. We stared with Omeka Classic but having trouble finding a plugin that allows tagging from non admins to the collection.
It appears Folksonomy for OmekaS might be a plugin with that functionality.

I’m very green to this type of technology so haven’t found my answer in playing with the Sandbox demo. Could you help me clear this up?

Thank you~


I’m exploring whether if Omeka could be useful for the historical archive of an organization and one idea is to have a local installation for on site query and have a collection of certain documents on-line for public viewing. Does this makes any sense? Will Omeka S be more useful in this case instead of having two separate installations of Omeka Classic?

Thank you.

What is the purpose of the on-site installation?

Are you going to have some of the same content on both sites? If yes, then Omeka S might make more sense. However, it would still be on your web server, not necessarily “local”

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The purpose of on site installation is because it may be cheaper to hold a big archive on a local server than to pay hosting and domain every single year.

There are also files that are for internal access only and in order to not exposed them on third party premises it may be better to locally host them.

Some files will be repeated on site and web but other will be on site only.

Either Omeka would likely work for your web-based exhibit.
If you are determined to have separate local and published exhibits, then it may not make much of a difference which you use.

Thank you Megan.

I though that maybe with a wokflow of feeding items to Omeka S locally then it would be easier to update the Omeka online instance with just the site with public content.

Something like this:

  1. Feeding private content to Omeka S local private site.
  2. Feeding public content to Omeka S local public site.
  3. Upload Omeka S local public site to update online site.

I might not understand completely what features does Omeka S have and if they offer any advantage in a case like this in order to not repeat the same item creation.

Neither Omeka Classic nor Omeka S is built for the sort of local install push to public website workflow that you’re describing.
If you want to get a sense of how Omekas work, please try a trial account at Omeka.net for Classic, and the Sandbox for Omeka S.