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Website overview

Find information about the CONTENTdm Website and an overview of using the Website Configuration Tool to configure the website.

After you subscribe to hosted CONTENTdm service with the website, your basic website structure and interface will be set up and running, and related information will be sent to you in the Welcome e-mail. If you are a continuing user from version 6.x, you already have the access to both 6.x and the new website. OCLC developed the new website based on extensive usability studies with end users. You will want to apply your own branding and descriptive text.

Review your site

You can review what your existing collections look like by default, without any configuration, by going to your CONTENTdm Website URL. Your URL is in the Welcome e-mail. It looks similar to: You can view a sample of collections.

The following diagram shows the basic structure of a CONTENTdm Website. This diagram does not include any custom pages that you may add to your website.


Page label Description
Home page Design and edit your home page using Website Configuration Tool (Global Settings) > Page Types > Home Page. You can also replace this page with a custom home page, or point to another URL to be your home page.
About page The About page is a good place to introduce your website. Use Website Configuration Tool (Global Settings) > Page Types > About Page to edit the content.
Log in page If you have unpublished collections or restricted items, you must log in to view them. You also need to sign in to create maps. Use Website Configuration Tool (Global Settings) > Navigation > Menu to select Enable login. User accounts are the same used in CONTENTdm Administration users.
Collection landing page Provide the collection description by using the Website Configuration Tool (Collection-level Settings) > Page Types > Landing Pages. Similar to your home page, you can replace this page with a custom landing page, or point it to use another URL.
Results (Search & Browse) The search and browse results page display items in all or selected collections depending on the collection scope. You can use the Website Configuration Tool > Search & Browse to refine elements of this display at the global or collection level.
Item Use Website Configuration Tool > Items (global or collection level) to refine various options for item display.

Configure the website

Use the Website Configuration Tool for branding and tailoring the appearance and behavior of key elements of your CONTENTdm Website and collections.

The Website Configuration Tool enables you to:

  • Configure your site by setting default values
  • Enable or disable components
  • Select colors, fonts and styles
  • Describe your website and collections
  • Create custom pages
  • Preview changes to your website before publishing

To access Website Configuration Tool, see Accessing the Website Configuration Tool. If you are getting started with CONTENTdm, see Jumpstart My Website as a quick guide on what to do first.

Configuration Description
Global Settings tab You can configure your website at either global or collection level. Global settings the are used for your entire website. It affects pages such as the home page, about page, advanced search, global custom pages, as well as search and browse page when the scope is more than one collection.
Collection-level Settings tab

Collection settings, if set, will override global configurations, and affect only that collection, which include collection landing page, search and browse page with a single collection, item detail pages and collection-level custom pages. If no settings exist for a collection, then global settings are used.

Collection settings can be very useful when you are managing a consortium digital collection website, where each collection representing different partners need different configurations. For example, you can upload a logo in Global Settings. It will display on all pages in the header. But if you upload a different logo for collection A in Collection-level Settings, then the new logo will display for all pages related to collection A.

Search and browse page The search and browse page can have a global context or single collection context or multiple collection context. If you are searching or browsing all collections or multiple collections, this page will take on Global Settings from the Website Configuration Tool. If you are only browsing one collection, then the Collection-level Settings will be used, if set.
Permissions Configuring and customizing the website globally or at the collection level requires the appropriate permissions set in CONTENTdm Administration. For more information, see Users.

Consider your website’s audience and content types to determine which configurations are needed for your website and which default settings to keep.

After making changes using the Website Configuration Tool, check your site in desktop view, as well as tablet and phone views. Resize your browser window to see the different views, or use the emulators built into some browsers, like Device Mode in Chrome, to check your site.

About Save, Preview and Publish

When you start to use the Website Configuration Tool, it makes a copy of the production settings files, including style (.css) and configuration (.ini) files. You work on this copy until you publish it. 

Button label Description

Changes are saved to the working copy of your configurations and not to production.

  • Revert to the last published version of your website by selecting More > Undo Save.
Preview View your site using the working copy to verify your changes before publishing to production.
Publish Changes are published from the working copy to your production settings.
More Select More > Undo Save to revert the working copy back to the previously published state. 

 Caution: To manage changes and avoid simultaneous overwriting of configurations, we recommend that only one person at a time make changes through the Website Configuration Tool.

Advanced customization

If you need customizations beyond what the Website Configuration Tool provides, you can apply advanced customizations, which do require programming skills.

These optional advanced customizations can be applied to modify the appearance and behavior of the website, such as adding a shopping cart or adding user commenting capabilities. You can use custom pages, custom CSS or custom scripts to implement these customizations. You write the customization and then use the Website Configuration Tool to upload the file and indicate which file to execute. See Advanced website customization for more information.

All customizations will persist through future updates provided you follow OCLC guidelines for how to implement these customizations. Depending on the complexity and nature of the customizations though, we do recommend that you check to make sure your customizations are working after each CONTENTdm release.