Monthly Archives: April 2014

CUL Blogs: The WordPress Upgrade

On April 11, after much development work and preparation, LDPD and LITO rolled out a major upgrade to the CUL blogs platform.  The move from WordPress MU (Multi-User) to WordPress MS (Multisite) was much needed and long anticipated, and will bring a variety of benefits to everyone involved with editing, supporting, and viewing CUL Blogs.Screenshot of new CUL Blogs Theme

WordPress Multisite is more secure, and will allow us to keep up with current releases going forward.  We’ll also be integrating CUL blogs with Google Analytics, and we’ll install an improved spam blocker to keep unwanted entries from blog post comments.

Along with the WordPress platform upgrade, we replaced the outdated Thesis theme with a custom theme designed by LDPD, which brings CUL blogs completely in-line with the Libraries website design, and greatly improves the viewing experience on mobile devices.  The new theme also provides a host of new features and functionality to improve the content authoring experience:

  • Provides a familiar but simplified interface and navigation.
  • Enables greater control over title and layout options for blog administrators.
  • Offers more appearance customization, such as blog colors and rotating images.
  • Allows us to easily add new functionality with plugins and custom widgets.

One important change is that we’ve updated the rich text editor, which should address some known issues with content loss while using the older version.

Another welcome addition is the integration of Akismet, which should greatly reduce the amount of spam in blog comments.  You’ll find a new spam queue on the Dashboard where flagged messages will wait for your review, and you can configure options for this feature from the Settings menu in the Dashboard sidebar.

We encourage you to spend a little time exploring the new interface and features, and we hope you’ll find this update makes working with your blogs a bit easier.  We’ll be updating our blog documentation on StaffWeb soon to reflect all the changes, so that’s always a good place to start if you need assistance.

https://culis.columbia.edu/content/staffweb/web/wcm/specialized/blogs.html

And of course you can always contact the blog support team by emailing: blogsupport@library.columbia.edu

A New Way To Request New CUL Wiki Spaces

If you’d like to request a new CUL wiki space, please use our new request form, which will streamline our processes and reduce the time it takes for us to fulfill your request:

https://culis.columbia.edu/web/forms/wiki_request.htmlScreenshot of StaffWeb Wiki Request Form

You can always find the form via the link on the CUL Wikis StaffWeb page:

https://culis.columbia.edu/web/wcm/specialized/wikis.html

As always, if you need assistance working within an existing CUL wiki space, you can send email to the wiki support alias: wikisupport@library.columbia.edu.

CUL Websites: What’s up since the CQ/AEM Upgrade

Since upgrading from Day CQ 5.4 to Adobe AEM 5.6.1 at the end of January, the LDPD web team has focused on post-upgrade clean up, but we’ve also begun working on some features enabled by the new platform.  Here’s a rundown of some of the new features which you may have already discovered on your own:Screenshot of AEM Welcome Screen and Website Console

  • Streamlined user interface
    • Unnecessary websites, consoles, tabs, buttons, links, and other features have been hidden to provide a less cluttered, more focused experience.
  • Improved content search/replace
    • Searches can now specify criteria in addition to keywords, such as Modified Date, Template, or Tags.
  • Component-level undo/redo
    • Numerous page and asset editing actions can now be undone/redone, such as creating, and deleting components, or editing a component dialog, even after changes have been saved.
  • More keyboard shortcut support
    • Many CQ/AEM interface actions can now be performed via common keystrokes, such as copy, paste, and undo.
  • Better DAM file type and metadata support
    • Quality and speed of digital asset ingestion into the DAM has been increased, automatic extraction of asset metadata has been improved, and there is enhanced support for Microsoft Office documents.
  • Scheduled Page and Asset Activation
    • Pages can be scheduled for automatic Activation or Deactivation at a future date and time.
  • Automatic link checking
    • Broken links are now clearly marked with a red symbol on pages in the authoring environment.

On the back-end, the new version is significantly more robust and resistant to data corruption, so the uptime of both our authoring environment and public websites should go up.  System configuration options have been reworked to simplify setup and maintenance, and new developer tools and libraries should allow us to more easily extend WCM with custom components, reports, and applications.

The LDPD web team will continue to use these building blocks to improve the CQ/AEM content authoring experience.   Currently we’re working on better contact management, improved support for video assets, and syncing the CQ/AEM login with your standard UNI/password.

We’re always interested in hearing feedback from contributors, so please don’t hesitate to let us know about new things you’d like to do or ways you think the content authoring experience could be improved.

Creating Content & Writing for the Web

Join me in the Studio@Butler for Creating Content and Writing for the Web. The workshops will be held on April 15, 22, and 29 (all Tuesdays) from 2-3:30 p.m. Please RSVP candicekail@columbia.edu.

Creating Content and Writing for the Web is a short series of workshops for librarians and other content contributors within the libraries to explore online expression in various forms. Just as literature encompasses various forms – from haiku to the novel to theatrical comedies – so too does online writing and content. From tweets, social media posts, and mobile content to blog articles and expository content, writing for the web involves a mixture of talent, inspiration, craft, and artistry. In much the same way that an informational brochure’s content differs from the content of an article, web content changes depending on its function and where it resides. Like other types of content, the way it is crafted and the processes by which it’s developed can impact its effectiveness. In this workshop, participants will begin to think more critically about web content, learn techniques suited to the web as a medium in its various forms, and work on developing an approach to their own web content. Join me for three sessions and begin to reshape your online communication approach!