Customizing Your Website

After your CONTENTdm Server and CONTENTdm Website are installed, you have a default website structure and interface set up.

CONTENTdm provides you with the Website Configuration Tool for branding and tailoring the appearance and behavior of key elements of your CONTENTdm Website and collections. To access this tool, use the Website link in the CONTENTdm Administration interface. Using this tool requires no programming skills. (If you are just getting started with CONTENTdm, see Jumpstart My Website as a quick guide on what to do first.)

The Website Configuration Tool enables you to:

  • Globally brand and title the website and offer website and collection descriptions.
  • Globally or per collection:
    • Refine page content, styles and behaviors
    • Refine item displays
    • Refine navigation and behavior
  • Preview changes to your website before publishing.

Note: The following instructions explain the process for configuring and customizing your CONTENTdm 6.x Website. For instructions on how to configure your CONTENTdm Responsive Website, see Configuring Your CONTENTdm Responsive Website.

You configure your website at either a global or collection level. Global settings are the default for your entire website. Collection settings affect only one collection. If no settings exist for a collection, then global settings are used. Any configurations set for a collection will override the global configurations.

If you need customizations beyond what the configurations supply, you can apply "modular" customizations using custom scripts.

  • For those with some programming skills, optional modular customizations can be used to modify the appearance and behavior of the Home page, collection landing page, and About page. You can use custom scripts and custom CSS. You write the customization and then use the Website Configuration Tool to upload the file and record which file to execute.

All customizations will persist through future updates provided you follow OCLC guidelines for where to store your customizations. If you use the Website Configuration Tool, your customizations will be stored correctly and preserved during updates.

CONTENTdm also provides:

  • Redirection of URLs used in earlier versions of CONTENTdm, including reference URLs and Custom Queries and Results (CQR) URLs.
  • A website Help page for end users that you can localize and customize by editing the file directly.
  • The ability to develop advanced, deep customizations using PHP and the CONTENTdm API.

Note: While most of these tools require no programming skills, some modular and advanced customizations may require working knowledge of HTML, PHP, and JavaScript.

Caution: Do not directly modify website files provided by OCLC. Always use the Website Configuration Tool interface to edit configuration settings (CSS and XML configuration files). Configuring your website using the tools provided and integrating additional functionality using the recommended methods will provide your users with a successful experience and your organization with a maintainable, supported website that is easily upgraded over time.

Best Practices

The end-user experience for your CONTENTdm Website was developed using extensive usability testing; thereby, providing an optimal collection-discovery experience. Before you invest in modifications or extensive customizations, we recommend you consider and evaluate their priority and requirement. Become familiar with the configurations in Website Configuration Tool before deciding to make customizations that require programming skills.

The directory structure of your website contains directories reserved for site-specific customizations. These \custom directories will not be overwritten during an upgrade and, therefore, your customizations will persist. See Website Overview for more information about separation of standard and custom directories.

Learn about:

  1. Website Overview
  2. Configuring the Website
  3. Other Customizations
  4. About URLs
  5. Adding Stop Words