Omeka vs. Pinterest

I know everyone has made (or at least explored) an Omeka site, and I’ve sent everyone invitations for Pinterest — so I thought it’d be worthwhile to post about the similarities/differences between the two collaborative-ish sites.

In Omeka’s tag-line, “Your online exhibit is one click away,” the word “exhibit” is exactly the pull — Omeka lets you put on display your “collections, research, exhibits and digital projects” (to quote the website again).

Similarly, Pinterest offers digital “boards” that display your collections:  “Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.”

Pinterest is VERY easy to use (assuming you have an invitation, which Omeka does not require) — all you do is put the “Pin It” button on your Bookmark toolbar; when you come across a site/image/idea/anything that you like, click the “Pin It” button, grab an image, and ta-da!  It’s on one of your boards.

Omeka is a bit more complicated than this, as it asks for metadata. This article summarizes the three biggest problems with Pinterest that aren’t an issue with Omeka: 1. All metadata is stripped; 2. Website owners must “opt-in” to copyright protection; 3. Pinterest can sell pinned work.

Omeka’s more complex entry is desirable (albeit a bit frustrating at times) in that it promotes sustainability, whereas Pinterest “pin its” may be here today, gone tomorrow.

Although I’m sure Pinterest has benefits for researchers, it goes without saying that Pinterest is more for the casual websurfer, whereas Omeka is a tool worthy of digital humanists.