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Online Exhibitions: Resources & Best Practices

Information for Yale Library staff and other Yale community members interested in creating online exhibitions.

Online Exhibitions Best Practices

  • Consider your audience: Who are you designing the site for? What is the awareness of the subject?
  • Narrative: What story are you hoping to tell? What do you hope people take away from the exhibition?
  • Design: Make the exhibit visually interesting with a variety of images. Consider breaking up large boxes of text with images.  Build the site in layers to provide multiple spaces for visitors to experience. 
  • Web accessibility: To meet requirements for web accessibility, please refer to Yale's resources:
  • File Sizes: Maximum image file size is 10MB, minimum image dimension (width or height) is 1000 pixels. Preferred still image file type is JPEG (.jpg, .jpeg) though PNG (.png) is also acceptable.
  • Metadata: Consider your audience again with level of description. In most cases, a detailed catalog record with all metadata fields is not necessary, but an exhibit visitor should be able to get to an authoritative representation of the item, such as by including an ArchivesSpace or ORBIS URL or a handle permalink. Exhibitions highlight collections, and visitors should be able to see more about those collections or even to take steps toward view collection contents in YUL reading rooms.

Handbook & Documentation

Tools & Templates

Typical Omeka Workflow

To create an exhibition, the general workflow steps are:

1. Create a new Item Set

2. Create Items that are assigned to the Item Set

3. Create a new Site

4. Create a Page in the Site

5. Add Blocks to the Page that include Items you created

Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have completed your exhibition. Then,

6. Create a banner for the header image

7. Publish the exhibition by changing all Media, Items, Item Sets, and the Site from “Private” to “Public”

Copyright & Fair Use Resources

As a curator, you will create and use copyrighted material for the exhibition. It is important to think about how you plan to use third party materials. Is the work in the public domain, do you have or need permission to reuse, or does a statutory exemption to US copyright law, like Fair Use, apply to your uses? The resources below can help guide your decision-making.

If you need additional assistance, the Yale Copyright Librarian is available for consultation, please email