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CONTENTdm release notes, December 2020


Release Date: December 2 and 14, 2020


This release includes two important additions to the Saved Items feature released in March: saving multiple items at once and the ability to link saved items to your user account. Additionally, many new recipes have been added to the CONTENTdm Cookbook, including a page flip viewer, custom hyperlinks in metadata, integration of the brand-new Mirador 3 viewer, and support for embedding the Sketchfab 3D viewer. Lastly, CONTENTdm now supports a wider range of page redirects to CONTENTdm URLs to support the migration of web content from other sources. 

Release overview recording

 View a recording of the CONTENTdm release overview, December 2020

New features and enhancements

This release includes the following features: 

  • Multiple items can be added to Saved Items at once, making it easier for end-users to manage in bulk
  • Saved Items can now be linked to OCLC LDAP accounts for you to continue working on
  • Optional “page flip” viewer based on the Internet Archive BookReader 
  • A method for styling hyperlinks in metadata with custom display text 
  • Recipe for embedding the new Mirador 3 viewer, a modern and accessible update from version 2 
  • Support for embedding 3D content from Sketchfab 
  • Improved support for viewing multi-page PDFs 
  • More options for page redirects to support migrating content from external web servers 
  • Miscellaneous fixes for bugs reported by current users 

See these features in more detail below. 

Multiple items can be added to Saved Items at once, making it easier for end-users to manage in bulk 

 Note: To enable and use the Saved Items feature, please see Items and March 2020 Release Notes for more details. 

When we first released the Saved Items feature, you could only save items one by one. Now you will see a “Save All” button on the search/browse page, which will save all items on current page for you. If all items on this page are saved, the button will change to “Remove All”. This comes in handy when you want to save all items coming out of a specific search. 

Bulk save is still bound by the 200 maximum saved items limit. It will not save all items on the page if it would exceed 200 items.  

Saved Items can now be linked to OCLC LDAP accounts for you to continue working on

When using the Saved Items feature as an anonymous user, the items are saved in the browser’s local storage. You’ll lose your saved items if you switch to another browser, or another computer or phone, as well as when you clear your browser cache.  

To keep your saved items with you, you can create an account: 


The link will take you to the log in page so you can create an account or log in:  

 Note: You need to enable login page in your Website Configuration Tool (Global Settings > Navigation > Menu > Enable login) if you haven’t already. 

 Note: If for some reason, you prefer not to enable login or not let your users create accounts, you can remove the paragraph "Log in or create an account to keep your saved items" by editing your TMX files. Read Localization for more details.

CONTENTdm user accounts use OCLC LDAP accounts, which are the same as CONTENTdm administration accounts. Admin users won’t need to create accounts again. The same account will work for all CONTENTdm sites which have the Saved Items feature turned on. But the saved items lists will be different for each site.  

If you save some items as an anonymous user, then log in, the system will try to merge the items with those you already have in your account. If total items would exceed 200 during merging (after removing duplicates), the newest saved items before you logging in would be discarded – those over 200.  

If you log out with some saved items, they will remain on the local storage. This means if you are working on a public computer, you should remove all of your saved items before you leave. 

You cannot work across browsers/devices when you are logged in simultaneously – the items might not sync correctly. You will need to log out of the browser/device you stopped working on, and log in to the browser/device you intend to work on. CONTENTdm does have a time-out mechanism built-in for inactivity. 

Growing cookbook with new recipes

We’ve published many new recipes since the last release. We’ve discussed a few of them during the session: Ask the Experts: CONTENTdm’s new cookbook recipes, (10/22/2020). Please see the recording and slides to learn more. 

Below is the list of the recipes in the Ask the Experts session: 

And a few newer ones: 

We’ll elaborate on a few of them below. 

Optional “page flip” viewer based on the Internet Archive BookReader 

Internet Archive BookReader integration: [Link to overview] [Link in download portal]

A page flip viewer is highly desirable within the CONTENTdm community. We choose to adapt the Internet Archive BookReader in this customization. The steps to add this viewer is similar to the recipe for Mirador viewer integration, and it also utilizes the IIIF manifest in implementation. You get a robust, clean page flip viewer:

Screen Shot 2020-11-18 at 9.19.15 PM.png

A method for styling hyperlinks in metadata with custom display text 

Create custom links from metadata: [Link to overview] [Link in download portal]

In CONTENTdm websites, metadata fields are displayed as plain text by default. There are only a few conditions where metadata is automatically formatted (URLs, Controlled Vocabularies). This recipe provides a method to create hyperlinks with custom display text in metadata fields.

In other words, instead of showing this "ugly" string in your metadata field for it to be clickable:

You can format your field to be:

2020 Release Notes |

Then you will see the meaningful shorter texts in the metadata field linking to the desired page:

2020 Release Notes

The script relies on specific formatting in metadata fields and will dynamically reformat the metadata into hyperlinks. You need to choose one of the three formats supported in this recipe, modify your metadata accordingly, and apply the JavaScript to see it happen.

 Note: You could potentially use Catcher for your metadata reformatting batch task.

Recipe for embedding the new Mirador 3 viewer, a modern and accessible update from version 2

Mirador 3 viewer integration [Link in download portal]

Mirador 3 viewer is recently released (1st phase). It is an upgrade from the Mirador 2 viewer. This recipe to add it to your CONTENTdm is similar with Mirador 2 viewer integration, with some consideration for future upgrades.

Screen Shot 2020-12-01 at 11.29.36 PM.png

Improved support for viewing multi-page PDFs

Show all pages of PDF in viewer [Link to overview] [Link in download portal]

This recipe aims to improve the viewing experience of multi-page PDF ingested as a compound object, which feels as if the PDF is broken into individual one-page PDFs. After adding this recipe, your PDFs can be viewed continuously like in any standard PDF viewer.

Screen Shot 2020-12-01 at 11.41.53 PM.png

More options for page redirects to support migrating content from external web servers 

While working on switching every CONTENTdm site to the new responsive website, we have developed the mechanism to redirect Legacy 6.X pages to desirable URLs in new website to help smooth the transition. This can be a one-to-one redirect or rule-based redirect.  

Now that we’ve successfully made the transition, this function can potentially be used for other use cases. For example, if you are migrating content from a different repository to CONTENTdm, you could request for rules to be set up to redirect old URLs to new landing pages in CONTENTdm. This way, your users would experience less interruption accessing the content and relying less on search engines to re-discover the content. This could also work for new customers migrating to CONTENTdm.  

Miscellaneous fixes for bugs reported by current users 

  • Fixed a bug where certain kind of JPGs (with embedded metadata) don’t upload through FileManager 
  • Fixed a bug where the string “/searchterm” in a searching URL duplicates when searching multiple collections 
  • Fixed a bug so that even malformed 6.X URLs will redirect to responsive website 
  • Fixed a bug that when accessed a 6.X page over https, the redirect leads to an infinite loop 

Looking ahead

We've been working on modernizing the CONTENTdm image library. We've chosen Cantaloupe Image Server, an open-source, dynamic, IIIF-compliant image server, capable of delivering high-quality, complex image-based digital objects. It also establishes a solid foundation for us to build modern functionality in the future.

Some specific benefits visible to you include:

  • IIIF manifests will be created on the fly, instead of on a weekly basis.
  • PDFs will have IIIF support, which means they can be viewed in Mirador Viewer and used in other IIIF-compliant ways, such as going through the pipeline of transcribing services provided by FromThePage.
  • Ability to download very large images that would previously timeout.

We are getting ready to move to beta testing with Cantaloupe, and looking to deliver it to all users afterward.