Skip to main content
OCLC Support

Upgrade to the Responsive CONTENTdm Website

Overview of the responsive CONTENTdm website

The responsive CONTENTdm website is functionally similar to the 6.x CONTENTdm website, but not every feature works the same way or is currently supported in the responsive site. We encourage you to review how your data looks and works in the new interface before you make the switch.

There are some functional changes that we remade to accommodate smaller screen sizes or that came from feedback from end users as part of usability testing. There are some features that we have not yet completed but are intended for a future release and some that were not currently in high demand by CONTENTdm users at this time. Please see 6.x CONTENTdm Website features not in the responsive website for more information.

Until you have made the switch, the responsive website coexists with your current production 6.x CONTENTdm website.

  • You can see the responsive website by removing /cdm from the end of your CONTENTdm website URL and replacing it with /digital.
  • The responsive website has a completely separate Website Configuration Tool allowing you to customize your responsive site and preview those changes at your leisure.
    • End users will not know of the existence of the responsive website unless they manually type in the URL and append it with /digital. Search engines will not add /digital links to their indexes because the responsive website URLs have not yet been added to the Sitemap for your site.

 Caution:  Switching to the responsive website is a one-way process and it is permanent. Your 6.x CONTENTdm website will no longer be available to you or your end users.

  • The Sitemap for your site will be updated and Google and other search engines will begin to index your new site and replace the 6.x URLs with the new responsive URLs.
  • All of your 6.x URLs will redirect to the proper new URL at the responsive website, except for custom pages. This redirection includes all previous versions of CONTENTdm reference URLs going back to the first permanent URLs introduced in version 4.0.

Upgrade to the responsive website

Before you decide to make the switch, please fully test your new site thoroughly. Review all of your customizations in the Responsive Website Configuration Tool and see how those customizations look with both desktop and mobile browsers. For more information about customizing your responsive website, see Configure Your CONTENTdm Responsive Website.

 Note: If your CONTENTdm domain name uses a custom URL, it may require an SSL Certificate. Please see Configure CONTENTdm domain with SSL support to HTTPS for more information.

Once you are ready to upgrade to the responsive website, please contact OCLC Support. We will schedule you in an upcoming cutover time slot.  These cutovers happen roughly every two weeks and we will need one week of advance notice to put you on the calendar.

 Note: You can continue to work with the Project Client and your collections while conversion to the responsive site is taking place.  

Mobile-friendly considerations

The responsive website was designed to render well on small and large screens. This means that some aspects of the UI in the 6.x CONTENTdm website do not work as well and could not be directly translated. This is also true for any customizations you have made in your current 6.x CONTENTdm website.

Review the following

  • Text and HTML descriptions. Check the text you have added to collection landing pages and see how it renders in desktop and mobile browsers. If you have added HTML to your landing pages using the web editor in the Website Configuration Tool, pay special attention to how that looks in different browser. Note that the Responsive Website Configuration Tool gives you two separate places to describe your collections. One block is intended for the “collection cards” that appear on the new responsive home page. The other block is for the discrete collection-specific landing pages. You have much more space on the landing pages than you do in the collection cards on the home page.
  • Image sizes. If you have added images or other static content like tables to your collection landing pages, verify that they render correctly on mobile browsers. Images typically resize properly but depending on how the images have been marked up in the HTML they might be forced to a larger size than can be viewed on a phone or tablet.
  • File sizes. Your end users will increasingly use their phones to browse your digital repository site. If you have placed large images or PDFs on your landing pages think about the size of those files that are being downloaded. Phone users often have capped data plans or slow connections in areas with marginal reception.
  • Page header. The header that appears atop every page in the responsive website has a different layout on small screens and large screens. This likely means that your custom header in the 6.x CONTENTdm Website will not directly transfer over. You may need to experiment with a new design or a simplified design for your page header in the responsive website.

6.x CONTENTdm Website features not in the responsive website

There are several features in the responsive website that do not work the same way, have not yet been completed, or are not currently planned for inclusion in the responsive website. Review the status of these features before you make the switch.

Features currently under development for a future release:

  • Compound object improvements. There were several performance and usability improvements to the compound object viewer added in March 2017. These improvements include faster load times when navigating between pages and faster PDF previews. We are working on improving the way search hits are highlighted and counted in an upcoming release.
  • Custom CSS & JavaScript. Support for custom CSS and JavaScript was added to the responsive website in March 2017. These features work in a similar way to how they work in the 6.x CONTENTdm website. Note that custom CSS functions at both the global and collection levels in the Website Configuration Tool, but that custom JavaScript files can only be uploaded at the global level. There is no support for uploading separate collection-level JavaScript files at this time, but collection-specific functions can be handled in the main JavaScript file uploaded at the global level.
  • Custom pages. We are making progress on support for creating separate custom pages in the responsive website. Until we add custom page functionality, your 6.x custom pages will NOT redirect to the responsive site. This means you can leave your 6.x custom pages in place and they can still be viewed by your end users even if the rest of your website has been switched over to the new responsive site.

Not included but under consideration for a future release:

  • Comments/Ratings/Tags. These features in the 6.x CONTENTdm website were built entirely by OCLC and have not been shown to scale well since they were first released. Rather than redesign and recreate these features ourselves, our current intention is to explore providing these services via integration with a third-party comment system. We look to you to help us determine the best way forward and whether third-party products are adequate for your needs and acceptable for your end users.
  • Page flip view. This feature was postponed because the majority of CONTENTdm users do not use it. It is also important to consider the mobile-friendliness of a page-flip interface, especially on smaller phones. We want to hear from you about your use cases for a page flip or book reader viewer and whether you see this as exclusively for large screens, desktops, laptops and tablets.
  • Favorites. This is another feature that is used by a small minority of CONTENTdm users. We believe this feature needs to be reassessed in light of how much end user interaction with websites has changed in the mobile and social networking era. We look forward to getting feedback from current users of the Favorites feature about how they would want this user need to be met by a modern website.
  • Article highlighting in newspapers. This is another feature used by a small number of users who used the Flex Loader application to load METS/ALTO data containing article segmentation information. Since the feature is to display subsections of large, broadsheet newspaper pages, it does not translate well to small screens, like phones. Since the responsive website development process focused on mobile first, features that didn’t have a good user experience on mobile devices were postponed. This is another feature that may make sense only with larger screens or desktops. We need to hear from you about how important this feature is and in which environments your end users will expect it (desktop vs. small screens).
  • Adding a new language to the UI. With the standardization of the languages supported by OCLC products, we reimplemented language support in CONTENTdm and lost the ability to add new languages to the responsive website. That does not mean that it cannot come back, but it would be a considerable development effort to do so and does not align with other OCLC services. If there is a language missing that you need for your digital repository, please contact us.

Features that have changed:

Monograph Compound Objects. The monograph compound object allows you to define sections and nested subsections within your compound objects. These monographs will render updated in the responsive website as standard “flat” compound objects. This hierarchical view would make the user interface for compound objects much more complicated and the compound object viewer is already a complicated page to render on small screens. If the display of hierarchical compound objects is crucial to your repository and your users, please contact us.

Finding Aids/EAD Files. The inline display of EAD files with full HTML markup is not supported in the responsive website. Our testing showed that the markup in EADs was not generally mobile friendly and would not successfully render inline in mobile browsers. In the responsive website, Finding Aids/EADs will be displayed as a thumbnail with a link to the HTML, which can be downloaded and displayed as a separate document on any device. Our testing showed that the user experience was still a good one, but if you or your end users disagree, please let us know.


  • Was this article helpful?