How-to set up public access to Dropbox folder


Hi there,

Whoever runs Omeka Classic might be interested to use Omeka’s “dropbox” plugin, which allows to massively upload files to the platform and link them to item records in there.
To do so, one must be able to access one single folder/directory.
The obvious way is to use your administrator or FTP credentials, and either access the folder through cPanel’s file manager, or simply connect to it through an FTP client.
However, in a collaborative environment this may lead to security issues, since it implies providing the access keys to the server as a whole.

The first solution, is to create a dedicated FTP account, and provide to all contributors to your Omeka install the FTP credentials, so they can connect to that single folder only with distinct credentials (not those used to access your cPanel account).

However, one cannot expect any collaborator to an Omeka project to actually have an FTP client application installed locally, and even less to be able to configure such client.
After many tests, I figured out that the best solution would be to set up an Owncloud client on the server, and connect the local “Dropbox” folder as an “external storage” location in Owncloud. This is done by selecting the “local” authentication method.
It is safe to install your Owncloud application on a different subdomain from that of your Omeka install.
One can then either choose to create a single “generic” user, whose credentials can be communicated to all collaborators in the Omeka project, or (more complicated, and untested yet), try to retrieve the database of users and credentials from Omeka, and connect them to the Owncloud client. Hence, each collaborator in Omeka would connect to Owncloud with the same credentials.
Finally, within Owncloud, they’d find a single folder (made for instance “upload your files here for Omeka”), to which they can easily upload the necessary files.
Once upload is completed, one finds the uploaded files in Omeka, ready to be associated to a record item.

nota: Within Owncloud, creating an FTP “external storage” location turned out to be more difficult than simply a “local” one.
nota: for Owncloud > 10, the possibility to mount a local folder is only configurable via the ownCloud admin settings. See how here.

Hoping this might help someone around here.