Using CONTENTdm in a Consortium

Ann Kenne, Head of Special Collections, University of St. Thomas; Denise Tyburski, Media Services Librarian, and Chris Schommer, Digital and Special Projects, Macalester College    

In this session, staff from CLIC will discuss the decision process to purchase ContentDM for our digital collections and how the consortia agreed to divide costs and collections.  We will also discuss customization of the site and give examples of how workflow is set up at some institutions.
Project Timeline

  • CLIC Consortium started the digital projects search in January 2005
  • September 2005 – Created community of interest in Digitization
  • Fall 2005 – spring 2007 – Study of various software options

Why Contentdm was chosen

  • others already using it – St Kates, MN dl, U of M, Carleton, St Olaf
  • flexible pricing structure
  • good out of box but allows customizatoin
  • training from MINITEX
  • good documentation


  • Not good with Macs – interface
  • Lack of presentation tools


  • June 2007 Level 1 license – 10000 digital objects
  • Oct 2007 Upgraded license to Lvl 2 – 40000 objects  from Mac funds
  • June 2008  Upgrade to unlimited license (with all of CLIC)


  • Individual
    • select content
    • scan objects
    • make metadata
    • customize look of ind. sites (with programmer) able to request programming assistence from Chris
  • CLIC office
    • maintain server (housed at Macalester)
    • manage upgrades
    • Customize public face of site
  • Digitization Committee
    • Mediates issues
    • Provides training (formal and informal)
    • Serves as forum for information
    • not doing AV content but working on it (St. Thomas)
    • Each member library has a vote to deal with issues.

Customization (Chris)

How to manage hierachical section.

Started in Art department at Macalester as large user, moved to library, then became administrator.

 How to balance time, money, consensue


  • Contentdm is ugly out of box
  • Browse list – A to Z list of collections

Look solution

  • maintain single theme – allow flexibility with logos, color changes
    • only single modifications needed
    • lose individual identity
  • Unique theme for every site
    • requires more administration
    • allows better looks
    • must revisit every upgrade
  • Each collection stands on its own without common linkage

How to easily create custom collections

  • sur/local/content4/docs/cdm4
  • 3 main places where you edit
    • clients
      • look, options and colors (php stylesheet)
      • STY_global_style.php
      • replace global with your collection alias
        • difficult time consuming to do. – descriptions are not always clear
        • created excel spreadsheet
          • A column – php
          • B column – definitino
          • C column – chris’s explanation
          • Color code – yellow = important, white = not important, green = optional
          • red text = what needs to be changed.
          • Chris  takes column A and loads it on the server
    • images
    • includes
      • controls formatting
      • php docs, html table formats
      • global_header_php – change global to your name
      • can edit  by WYSIWYG

User responsibility

  • Design and choose own logo



Front End – Housed on CLIC website

  • Each school has a page with custom search at right column – entered into CONTENTdm

Excel files available for CONTENTdm 5 and 4

Make sure library and IT are communicating closely

Denise Tyburski – Macalester

CONTENTdm structure

Processes for proposed new collections

Disgital Assets Management Committee

  • Brainstorm issues with collection
    • copyright
    • access
    • work neeeded
    • who will do it

Created master plan

  • Priorities
    • 1 Scholarly materials -honors papers, peer-review
    • 2 ?
    • 3 ?

Determine process for acquisition

  • Scan own
  • outsource

What Metadata?

  • introduce concept to communities
  • Decide which schema
    • VRA for art
  • Example metadata table for Achives & Art collection (Data Dictionary) 
    • all schemas mapped to Dublin Core for searching
    • Metadata tables for each community or collection
    • Art images collection
      • art form example
        • metadata element
        • dublin core map
        • definition
        • data type
        • fixed or variable
        • controlled vocab
        • req.
        • repeatable
        • Standard to follow
        • ?
    • Example St Thomas Data Dictionary

Process for new collections that are approved

  • Create workflow if more than one person
  • Train people to use system if uploading own images
    • will train on system and data dictionary
  • St Thomas has well-developed steps for creating a digital project.
    • includes submitting a proposal which is approved or denied by selection committee.
    • Phase 2

 Total limit of 500 collections within consortium

Can include many items or objects in a collection

Macalester is only one that has AV items so far.

Users have mentioned that Acquisition Station is tough to use – new version is overhauled.

  • Why not use Flickr or Picassa
  • Can export information into tab delimited

MDL is thinking about implementing Open Archives Initiative output and is experimenting with Flickr. 

Macalester is focusing on teaching collections – restricted to on-campus use. Art collection.

Q: Are people using these collections? 

A: Still developing outreach but slowly expanding.



One thought on “Using CONTENTdm in a Consortium

  1. Pingback: Noticias Edición Digital » Blog Archive » Conference Notes on “Using CONTENTdm in a Consortium”

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