Related product Digital Collections (CONTENTdm)

Collection Homepage Customization Opportunities

Revised 9/16/2015

Each collection in CARLI Digital Collections has its own Home Page that provides a textual description about the contents of the collection. Libraries may also customize the page in a number of other ways, if desired. Customizations can be used to provide additional searching and browsing functionality, or to make the “look and feel” of a collection match more closely with the parent institution’s web presence.

Customizations may be requested at any point after CARLI has provided the library with the home page URL for a collection. Any of this additional information, such as CQR code, tailored HTML/CSS code, or instructions for embedding images, can be provided in the Collection Customization Form.

The simple customizations described in numbers 1 and 2 below can be accomplished without much technical skill required on the part of the library.

1. CONTENTdm Custom Queries and Results

The Custom Queries and Results (CQR) wizard provides HTML code that can embed CONTENTdm search boxes and menus into the collection home page or into an external Web page. The CQR wizard was written under earlier versions of CONTENTdm software, but there are still some types of CQRs that can be created and used in version 6. There are six query options listed:

  • A simple hyperlink which invokes a single predefined query - CQRs generated by this option will work, but a more expedient way to craft a URL to use is to perform the search you want in CARLI Digital Collections, then copy the URL of the search results. You can do this with simple searches in a single collection using the search box in the collection, and with cross-collection searches or Advanced searches.
  • A drop-down list containing a number of selectable queries
  • An index box for selecting a search term
  • A text box for entering search words
  • A page to browse all items in the collection - This option will still work, but a better way in version 6 to link to a "browse" page is this URL: http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/search/collection/xxx_yyyyy (where xxx_yyyyy is the collection's alias)
  • Generate the default view parameters for the browse or results page - OBSOLETE, DO NOT USE

Please Note: The "Define Results View" step in the CQR wizard references results templates, and asks you to choose a "default viewing mode", fields to be displayed, and sort order. You can fill out these choices, but all of these options have become obsolete because the results displays and field details are controlled by other aspects of the software in version 6. Despite these changes, we can still use the CQR code generated by the wizard on collection home pages.

CQR start page for CARLI Digital Collections

OCLC's CQR Documentation (This documentation was written for CONTENTdm version 5)

Examples of CQRs on collection home pages:
Swedish-American Historical Quarterly (North Park University)
The Decaturian (Millikin University)
John Wesley Powell Collection of Pueblo Pottery (Illinois Wesleyan University)

CQR code can also be embedded on other Web sites outside of CONTENTdm by editing the first line of the code that is produced by the wizard to add the full server name for CARLI’s CONTENTdm server:

<form method="get" action="/cdm4/results.php">
changes to
<form method="get" action="http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm4/results.php">

Example of CQR on outside website: Chicago State University’s library website uses a CQR to select volumes of the Emblem Yearbook

2. Images

Images can be included on the collection home page. The images must be from the CONTENTdm collection, or they must be hosted externally on your library’s server. If the image is in the collection, provide the CONTENTdm Reference URL for the item. If the image is going to be hosted on your local server, provide the URL to the image.

Example of CONTENTdm image: Adele Fay Williams Collection of Drawings and Prints (Lewis University)
Example of library-hosted image: IWU Historical Collections (Illinois Wesleyan University)


The more advanced options in numbers 3 and 4 below require more technical skill. The library must provide CARLI with complete custom code already written, and the code will be inserted into the home page template. CARLI staff are not able to write the code for you or provide assistance creating it. Problems, troubleshooting, and checking to make sure that such customizations display properly in different web browsers are all the responsibility of the library. Customizations can be previewed and tested using Firebug (http://getfirebug.com/), an extension for the Firefox browser that allows you to inspect, edit and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript code in any web page in real time. To view the code for the examples below, visit the web page, then right-click and select “View source.” The browser will open a new window or file displaying the source HTML code for the page. For more information on any of these examples, contact the individual library responsible for the collection. Custom CSS and custom JavaScript are currently not supported on collection home pages.

3. HTML Formatting

HTML formatting may be applied to the collection home page to create tables, float images around text, etc. Please note that sometimes the global site rules for fonts, colors, and sizes may override custom formatting.

Examples of special formatting:
Daily Egyptian Diversity News Archive (Southern Illinois University Carbondale)
EBR African American Cultural Life (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville)
Railroads in the Midwest, Early Documents and Images (Knox College)

4. Tag Clouds

Example: KMOX Popular Sheet Music (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville)