Need a constrained audio player for Omeka

I am working with Code for BTV and Big Heavy World to create the Vermont Music Archives on Omeka. I have posted the following description of this project on our site and want to…

  1. confirm that it is reasonable, necessary and possible
  2. hear if there are any good resources or examples we should be aware of beyond the Omeka plugin docs

The Archive would like to follow in the footsteps of libaries which, as I understand it, typically creates no more than three digital versions of a copyrighted artifact and make them available on the library site. The Archive would like to follow in the footsteps of libaries which typically create no more than three digital versions of a copyrighted artifact and make them available on the library site. In order to provide this functionality on the Omeka platform it appears that a new audio player plugin will most likely need to be created with the following constraints:

  • People should not be able to download the music
  • The number of people able play an individual track simultaneously should be configurable
  • The player should be built as an Omeka plugin and ideally be submitted as an official plugin
  • Modest theming should be possible, ideally drawing from the selected site template

Although we are interested in building this plugin for the needs of Big Heavy World initially, we intend for this to remain an open source project on Github - openly available for use and improvement.


Hi Micah,

I see your project and your site and I think it is buildable, because in the digital life, everything is possible!

More concretely, there is no issue with the player if you think to use a similar one than, as indicated on the project page, because there is no player on the site : it is the browser one (you can see a different one if you use different browsers, or just see the associated code : this is just an element tag “audio”).

Nevertheless, all the logic that controls the original source is not available (it was a wordpress plugin that has been removed from github and wordpress plugins directory).

So you (or your developer) just have one or two plugins to build in order to manage the conversion of files and the restricted access to them. The player will be the user one.


Ok, that all sounds very positive.

I’m not fully aware of what can be done with Omeka plugins, but it sounds like it will be possible to build a system that handles access to a particular audio track - that’s great.

It also sounds like as long as we are using the audio players in browsers, that won’t present a problem. We’ll have to take a look at the different players to confirm that we can prevent all players from allowing downloads (I know some can - not sure about all), and that Big Heavy World is content with the available styling for these players.

However, it is possible that we would want to use a non-browser default player. If we wanted to use a third-party js/html5 player with Omeka, would that be possible? (Sorry, I haven’t really explored how much flexibility Omeka offers for things like this.)

It is relatively easy to integrate any player in Omeka, like in most of cms, as long as the player is well documented (I’ve built or adapted several like UniversalViewer…). The main difficulty is to create the player itself. So if you find a player (they are a lot), it will be integrable.

Note that it’s not possible to prevent unauthorized acces totally, because when a user listens a track, it’s already somewhere in the memory of his computer, or he can record the output of his sound card, etc, so it is copyable, whatever the protection, even with a lot of DRM. The only thing that changes is the level of knowledge to bypass security. Anyway, even documents of the White House, the NSA or Sony were stolen…