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CONTENTdm release notes, December 2019



Release Date: December 11, 2019


This release adds new options for configuring the CONTENTdm website to align with your digital content. This includes new sorting and view options in search and browse results pages. The CONTENTdm Cookbook has had some new customizations added to it in recent weeks, including an option to make the preview image clickable and a way to show IIIF Presentation and Image API links in your metadata. We have also made several security improvements to CONTENTdm and fixed bugs affecting multiple users.

Release overview recording

 View a recording of the CONTENTdm release overview, December 2019.

Features and enhancements

This release includes the following improvements: 

  • New ascending/descending sort options to align better with collection metadata 
  • Collection-level grid/list view settings so that you can showcase your content most effectively 
  • CONTENTdm Cookbook recipes: 
    • Clickable preview image to expand 
    • Insert IIIF manifest link as metadata 
  • Several security updates based on third-party penetration testing 
  • Several bug fixes

The above features and enhancements are described in more detail below. 

New ascending/descending sort options to align better with collection metadata

This feature has been frequently requested by current CONTENTdm users so that browse, and search results can be presented to the users in the most intuitive way. In the Website Configuration Tool, website admins can not only choose which metadata field to use for sorting the results but can now also choose to sort in “ascending” or “descending” order. These options are particularly important with date metadata, like a newspaper collection where the most recent editions should appear first. 

You can see an example of this new ascending/descending toggle option in the screenshot: 


Note that the “Relevance” option does not have the ascending/descending option because only most relevant results will be shown.   

This feature is available in the Website Configuration Tool at both the global and collection levels. 

Collection level grid/list view settings so that you can showcase your content most effectively 

The option to show browse/search results as a thumbnail-based grid view was added to CONTENTdm in the March 2019 release. When the feature was introduced it could only be set at the global level for the entire CONTENTdm website. We heard from users that an option to set this view for each collection was highly desirable. 

In order to accommodate global vs. collection-level inheritance, we added a new “Viewing Option” submenu to the “Search & Browse” menu in the Website Configuration Tool. The existing “Default number of results per page” setting and the “Default view of results” (grid vs. list) were both moved to this new “Viewing Option” submenu: 


At the collection level, there is an explicit override switch for setting the “Viewing Option”: 


If you still want to manage your grid vs. list viewing option at the global level, you don’t need to change anything as your existing choices have been preserved. If you wish to change the default view option for one or more of your collections, you can now check the box to override the global default setting and choose the view you prefer in each collection. 

In the CONTENTdm website, these settings are only the default view and will be overridden if the end user manually chooses the grid or list icon on the search results page. In other words, the Website Configuration Tool defaults will not reset the view after the end user has expressed a preference. 

CONTENTdm Cookbook recipes 

We are regularly working with CONTENTdm users to add new customizations to the CONTENTdm Cookbook. Sometimes these are improvements that a single user has made to their site that has broad appeal to other CONTENTdm users. Sometimes these customization recipes are created in response to requests for new functionality or changes to existing functionality. These Cookbook recipes can be added to the Download Portal at any time, but we will feature recent recipes as part of the quarterly releases. There have been two new recipes added since the September release of CONTENTdm:

Clickable preview image to expand  

Some CONTENTdm site owners have found that their end users do not always see the “Expand” button for opening up the image viewer or the PDF viewer on the CONTENTdm item pages. The Action button text labels recipe is one approach to making the purpose of the “Expand” button more obvious. Another approach is to make the entire image preview clickable and suppress the display of the “Expand” button entirely. This new recipe uses custom CSS to make the entire preview image clickable to open the modal image/PDF viewer.

Insert IIIF manifest link as metadata 

We have worked with Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens to develop a customization that inserts the IIIF Presentation manifest link into the Object or Item Description metadata section of the item page. The link is inserted dynamically when the page loads and it will appear like any other metadata field except for the inclusion of the IIIF logo to draw attention to the link. This recipe also adds a link to the IIIF Image API for any image records in CONTENTdm.

In compound objects the Presentation manifest link will be inserted into the Object Description accordion and Image API links will be inserted into the Item Description for the individual pages.


Several security updates based on third-party penetration testing

We recently worked with third-party security analysts to test the CONTENTdm end user website and the staff administrative portals (CONTENTdm Administration and Website Configuration Tool). There were several recommendations made based on this analysis and we have acted to remediate those vulnerabilities. The improvements that we made included patching potential loopholes, updating software versions, and changing server configurations. OCLC will periodically perform these security scans to better ensure that your data and your end users’ security and privacy are protected.

Bug fixes

  • Downloaded compound object’s Print PDF now has the correct file extension
  • UTF-8 characters are now displaying correctly on custom home page or collection landing pages
  • Sites migrated from local-hosted can now edit their collection info even if their collection aliases don’t confirm to new guidelines

Looking ahead

This list below shows a few enhancement requests that are considering for upcoming releases

  • Making “collection scope” more consistent when users browse and search on different pages
  • End user "favorites" interface to save a set of items to a lightbox viewer page
  • Integration of Internet Archive Book Reader as a page-flip viewer