Category Archives: CMS


Hi, there, folks. I’m Jennifer Hecker, an archivist who has just joined the TIS team to help out with the development of digital access strategies.

My background in cultural history and archives — American Studies undergrad from UT-Austin, Masters in Library and Information Science with a concentration in Archival Enterprise from UT’s iSchool, and a decade of experience cataloging large (mostly literary) manuscript collections at the Harry Ransom Center and here at UT Libraries — will inform my work to help faculty and staff incorporate our digital collections into their teaching materials and research projects, and to help the library evaluate, select, and implement new technologies and tools.

I have some development experience, but I also have a lot to learn. I’ve made some websites using HTML, CSS, WordPress, and Drupal Gardens, and I have a little experience programming with Ruby on Rails. One of my first priorities in this new role is to get down and dirty with Drupal 7. In 2014, I’ll be using Drupalize.Me to accomplish some online training.

I am also currently leading a team evaluating ArchivesSpace, a new, open source archival management tool, for possible implementation at UT Libraries. We are hoping this new tool can help us, among other things, manage information about our archival collections more efficiently.

In the new year, Dustin Younse (UT Libraries Webmaster) & I will be attending a three-day intensive Islandora training called Islandora Camp, CA at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on these three new tools, so I can better contribute to their deployment and implementation here at UT!

Drupal Gardens: Cultivate your Drupal Skills

If you want to familiarize yourself with Drupal, but don’t want to go through the hassle of an installation, Drupal Gardens might be for you. Drupal Gardens is essentially what is to instead of downloading the Drupal files and hosting them yourself, your Drupal Gardens site will be hosted and maintained by Acquia, the developer of Drupal Gardens. Of course, since it is free, you will need to have at the end of your domain name. However, the starter version will acquaint you with the basic concepts of creating a Drupal site and navigating the Drupal dashboard. Here is a site I created in an hour – okay, maybe more like three, but still:

If, after creating your site, you yearn for more than the mere starter package, a variety of pricing plans are available which will give you not only more customization, bandwidth, storage etc., but also an independent domain name. Or, if you find that you’re ready for more than a Drupal garden–for an entire Drupal cropland you could saythe full-blown Drupal installation can be found at

Pro-Tip: Why for you no embed?

Troubleshoot Embedding YouTube Videos in WordPress

In this first, of  many, installment of Pro-Tips with Casey, we talk about Embedding YouTube Videos in WordPress, where it goes wrong and how to fix it.

The ability to embed YouTube videos in WordPress once required a plugin in ages past, however in more recent versions of WordPress (2.9+) there’s a neat feature enabled by default that converts YouTube links into embedded videos automatically in your published page. This feature is documented both in the WordPress Codex as well as WordPress Support Pages yet in practice, this feature fails all too often.

Continue reading

TIS & Library Systems Presented at Drupal Developers Group

Steve Williams and Jon Gibson presented on development of the AHPN web site at the UT Campus Drupal Developers group.  Steve discussed using the Zen theme kit to build a template layer with regions and styling of the site. Steve also demonstrated how to set up a dual language site in Drupal, including installation of modules, language detection methods, configuration of site variables, and how to create multilingual content like nodes, menus and blocks. Jon discussed the custom AHPN Search module, the separate layers of storage, and the Solr search index integration. Jon also demonstrated how Solr returns data and how each return is parsed.

With a full room of developers no one in attendance had built a multilingual site before and many showed interest in the process. The room was also impressed with the amount of data being indexed (10 million images and associated metadata) and how quickly the site served each request. Audrey Templeton, who also worked on the custom AHPN Search Module, attended and helped with questions.

AHPN digital archive unveiled


On December 2, we launched the AHPN digital archive in a grand unveiling at the Politics of Memory Conference.

A collaboration between the Guatemala National Police Archive (AHPN), UT Libraries, the Benson Latin American Collection, The Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies (LLILAS), and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, the site offers unrestricted global online access to 12 million pages of documents that were recovered and scanned in Guatemala.  These documents contain information about forced disappearances, torture, and murder committed during the counterinsurgency war in Guatemala.  Safeguarding these documents online ensures the perpetual survival of endangered and vitally important human rights documentation.

Thanks to all the members of the UT Libraries technology staff who worked hard to make this momentous project, with its ambitious timeline, a reality.

The project team from the Libraries includes:

Aaron Choate
Jade Diaz
Jon Gibson
Fred Gilmore
Ladd Hanson
Christian Kelleher
Kent Norsworthy
Audrey Templeton
Matthew Villalobos
Steve Williams
Kevin Wood

See more press about the new digital archive or read more about the 2005 discovery of the physical police archive.

New site for Data Management at UT

Screnshot of Data management at UT site

Steve Williams, the Libraries Webmaster, worked with Amy Rushing and Colleen Lyon to publish a new site for Data Management Planning at UT. The site was built in the Libraries Content Management System and included in the Libraries surrounding theme. The web site highlights a new project that is a new collaboration with Information Technology Services (ITS), Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and the Office of Sponsored Project. For more information about Data Management at UT visit the site.

Classics Library Redesign

TIS worked closely with the Classics Library staff to evaluate and organize their site content. The redesign focused on  more user-friendly layouts and improved consistency with other library sites like FAL, APL, MSL, and PCL. TIS also took the opportunity to transition the site into the Libraries Content Management System to improve template stability and allow improved access for multiple authors.

Classics Home Page

The new site reduces maintenance and provides consistent data maintained by views from centrally-managed content. Examples of centrally-managed content are Library Hours, Human Resources managed Staff Directory, and the integration of the Libraries Recent Arrivals application.

TIS also sought to improve communication and outreach by providing a blog to represent a digital news board. The similarly themed blog, which is accessed from the classics home page, presents a traditional news listing with built-in tagging, archiving, and RSS feeds. The blog also affords content separation that allows for less formal posting of content. The Classics staff use the news blog to highlight specialized classics books, journals, and other resources available across campus Libraries.

The Classics Library has already received several positive comments:

nice, Gina! It looks good


Cool! Thanks very much for this. I will bookmark it forthwith”

this is fantastic!! Very helpful indeed esp. for us who are on the other side of  campus!

–Fine Arts Faculty


Perry-Castañeda Library Redesign

TIS worked closely with the Perry-Castañeda Library staff to re-organize and redesign the site. PCL staff reduced the amount of content and worked with TIS to develop a new structure that resulted in improved navigation. Consistency with other recent branch redesigns, such as FAL, APL, MSL, and Classics, were maintained by following similar templates, but the PCL site was customized to fit its needs.

Home Page

Content duplication was reduced by integrating Library hours, staff contact information, and locations guide from their central locations. Now, hours will automatically update when the central hours application is updated. Staff contact information will automatically update when Human Resources updates, adds, or removes staff from the central staff directory. The PCL location guide will automatically update when the central location guide is updated.

PCL Staff Contact and Location Guide

New Video tutorials were integrated into content layouts, and panels were used to allow content editors the ability to edit while reducing the chance of layout errors.

Panel and Tutorial Integration

Implementing the redesign included re-organizing the site while being served to production from the Content Management System. The transition required updating and deleting content in order to provide a new structure. Re-organizing live content required tracking URL changes and updating links. After content was re-organized, the site was transferred to a development server, the design was developed into a theme, and it was  applied to production.

A special thanks goes to Susanne Ristow for heading up the Perry-Castañeda Library redesign.

Signature Course Faculty Toolkit Rebuild

The Signature Course faculty toolkit provides resources for integrating information literacy into class curriculum. TIS, along with Library Instruction Services, completed a rebuild of the Signature Course Faculty Toolkit while transitioning it to the Libraries Content Management System.

A previous project to develop the toolkit was completed for the 2009-2010 school year. Over the course of the year feedback was received resulting in a decision to redesign the toolkit. The redesign simplifies the site by bringing focus to searching, browsing by tags, and by providing graphical icons for Faculty Examples.

Landing Page
Landing Page

The rebuild provided the opportunity to transition the toolkit into the Libraries Content Management System. The previous version was managed from an XML file, with a complex schema, requiring precise manual entries with manual linking of files. By adding the toolkit to the CMS content owners have been able to add and update content with consistent tagging, easily interlinking objects, and quickly attaching files while navigating the site.

Editing Objects
Editing Objects

Already the ease of updating the toolkit has proven to be a great improvement. We hope users find the site improved with more updated content.