Tom has the news that Omeka reached over 1000 downloads in only 10 weeks—a remarkable number for a collections management and web exhibit system primarily adopted by institutions rather than individuals.
Creating a successful tool for universities, libraries, and museums is incredibly difficult; kudos to the entire Omeka team. They’ve done a lot of things right. They understand that design matters. Omeka looks great to the curators who administer it as well as to the users who visit an Omeka-powered site. Little details matter. Omeka’s metadata entry page, for instance, automatically morphs (using AJAX) so that curators aren’t confronted by fields that aren’t applicable to the object at hand. Documentation matters. The Omeka team is doing a weekly video/screencast to explain its features and operation. Creating a community around the tool matters. Omeka already has an active user forum and developers’ list, and the team meets regularly with institutional stakeholders.
Coming in 2009: a hosted version of Omeka, to make it even easier for those who want to use the software but who might not have the technical skill or staff to install and maintain the open source package.