Is Omeka S a good option for my digital library project?

Hello - I hope it is ok to ask the community to help me assess whether Omeka S will work for me. (A few years ago I tried to implement Omeka Classic and wasn’t happy).

I run The Zuckerberg Files, which is a digital archive of everything Mark Zuckerberg says in public. We have about 1000 records, mostly PDF transcripts, but also a few hundred MP4 video files as well. A sample record is at

We recently started using Wordpress Download Manager as a platform, but I’m not thrilled with its layout and searchability. I’m hoping the new Omeka S might be a good option for me.

Here are my core requirements (and sorry if my terms don’t follow the new glossary):

  1. Ability to have multiple downloadable media files attached to a single record (ie, both a PDF and an MP4 file)
  2. Ability to either (a) let anyone view records but only users with a certain access control can download the media file, or (b) hide all records unless user has access control permissions
  3. Ability to search full-text of PDF or txt files attached to a record.
  4. Flexibility in directory displays of items in the collection.

Do you think Omeka S will work for me?
MIchael Zimmer

Hi Michael,

In my opinion and limited knowledge “no”, Omeka S can solve requirements 1,3, & 4. I am not sure on (2a) limiting downloads based on user role and (2b) user management portion out the box without custom coding. There is a guest-user module that works in conjunction with another module that needs guest access.

For 2b you can use the group module on users that have been manually entered and manage resources or itemsets that they have access to.

Hopeful the developers can shed further insight.


Both Omeka S and Classic allow you to attach multiple files to an item.

Omeka Classic has an existing plugin for extracting text for search purposes from PDFs… I don’t believe there’s currently such a plugin for just plain text. Omeka S doesn’t currently have much in that space… there’s a port of the Classic plugin for PDFs written by a community member but I’m not totally sure of its status.

Display of items in either system is largely down to the theme, so that’s probably not an issue. It might depend exactly what you’re thinking of doing.

Neither system is really designed for limiting access to files (other than simply making the item non-public, and even then under default configuration the files are still there and accessible). It’s possible to do through various approaches, though (for example, if using S3 storage in Classic, you can configure it so there is no public access). What’s the rationale behind limiting downloads?

You’ve said that you weren’t happy with Classic but it sounds to me like it might be a good fit for what you’ve described. What kinds of problems did you have with it. Omeka S could fit but would need more work for things like extracting text.

Thanks. The main reason for access restrictions is that some content in the archive is copyright protected, and I’ve been following the the “Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Scholarly Research in Communication” and requiring people submit a request for access with a bona fide research purpose. Currently, anyone can view individual records’ metadata, but you need to be an approved use to download the attached media files.

I have the same need for a project (control of user access for some files after contact), so it will be developped in the beginning of 2019, if nobody has done it before.

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@daniel_km I am interested in the user access control as well. I did that in an Omeka v.1 installation. I will most likely need that functionality in my new Omeka site.

The module is 50% ready, but not finished yet. One more week…