Website Overview

After your CONTENTdm Server and CONTENTdm Website are installed, you have a basic website structure and interface set up. OCLC developed this website based on extensive usability studies with end users. You will want to apply your own branding and descriptive text.

Learn About:

  1. Reviewing Your Site
  2. Navigation, UI Widgets & Other Features
  3. About Configurations and Customizations
  4. Directory Reference
  5. CONTENTdm Architecture

Reviewing Your Site

You can review what your existing (or the sample collection) look like by default without any configuration by going to your CONTENTdm Website URL. (For Hosted users: Check your Welcome e-mail. For local installations: Check with your CONTENTdm Administrator.)


The following site map shows the basic structure of a CONTENTdm Website that features three collections. It does not include any custom pages that you may optionally add to your website.

  • Home page: Write your website description using Page Types in the Website Configuration Tool. You can replace this page with a custom Home page.
  • About page: By default, the About page displays the website description you wrote for your Home page. Use Website Configuration Tool > Page Types options to edit the About page. You can replace this page with a custom About page.
  • Collection landing page: Provide the collection description by using the Website Configuration Tool > Page Types options to refine elements of this page at the collection level. You can replace this page with a custom landing page.
  • Results / Browse All: The search and browse results display. Browse All view is a results page for items in all or selected collections. You can use the Website Configuration Tool > Searching & Browsing options to refine elements of this display at the collection level.
  • Help: Search tips for end users of your website. You can edit and localize this for your site by editing the file directly.
  • Item:Use Website Configuration Tool > Items options to refine (globally or per collection) various options of item display, including display of metadata, shareability and user-generated content (comments, tags and ratings). Additionally, use the Page Types options to set configurations for PDF files and compound objects.

About Navigation, UI Widgets & Other Features

Your CONTENTdm Website also provides a default style sheet (for text treatments, page elements), header and footer navigation, Suggested Topic lists, QuickView display for items, and more.

You can use the Website Configuration Tool to review and refine these elements globally for your website or for individual collections.

About Configurations & Customizations

The Website Configuration Tool enables you to customize the default style and behavior of the website. Your configurations and customizations persist with CONTENTdm updates.


Directory Reference

The following reference outlines the key directories for your website. It is important to note that certain directories should not be directly edited or files added. For more information, see Customization Support Policy.

Caution: Do not directly modify website files provided by OCLC. Always use the Website Configuration Tool 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.


CONTENTdm Architecture

The following diagram provides a high-level overview of how the CONTENTdm Website interacts in the overall CONTENTdm architecture.


Following are some important features of this architecture:

  • Presentation layer (CONTENTdm Website) is separated from application layer (CONTENTdm Server).
  • Collection data and CONTENTdm Server can be protected behind a firewall.
  • Website can scale to handle increased volume by adding web servers in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
  • Website communicates with CONTENTdm Server using the HTTP protocol.
  • Website can be installed on the same machine (physical or virtual) as the CONTENTdm Server. Optionally, Website can be installed on a separate machine (physical or virtual).