Creating a Library Website with WordPress

Using WordPress software as a content management solution for your website has many advantages and can provide you with a professional presence for your library or information center.

WordPress provides all the tools you need to manage and publish your content online. It is also providing a great platform for you to keep your library members updated with news of your library.

You can also provide other library staff members with granular admin access to help you to maintain and update your library content. Giving them just editor role, auther role, or even administrator access.

Getting started

There are two versions of WordPress. One version is a hosted solution by WordPress itself. And other one is download and hosted by you.

WordPress Hosted

The quickest way to create a WordPress site for your library is to visit www.wordpress.com, create an account, and within a few minutes, you can start creating webpages and uploading images to a portal that you can call your own. While this is the easiest of the two versions. It comes with limitations.

The hosted versions have:

  • Limited functionality
  • No plugin available
  • Limits on design, layout, and themes available
  • The footer will display” powered by WordPress” and ads unless you upgrade it
  • Limits in website optimization for search engine (SEO)

WordPress Self Hosted

With this version of WordPress, you can download the WordPress source code and then upload this to a server/hosting account. While you can visit www.wordpress.org and obtain the WordPress source code free of charge, all you need is to rent a server/purchase a hosting service. There are a lot of hosting providers are there in India as well as outside, from them you can have one and configure it along with a domain, If your institution posses already a domain, just create a subdomain and map it with your server/hosting service.

The self-hosted WordPress has:

  • Hundreds of free and commercial themes are available
  • WordPress repository of plugins available to provide extra functionality to your site
  • You can customize the look and feel of your site
  • More search engine optimized features to help index your library website
  • The tools to create a truly unique and customizable library website

NB: I do personally recommend the self-hosted version of WordPress. Although there is a cost each month for hosting/server it provides you with many more tools and options to build a professional library website

Create web pages for your library website

Once your website is built, start adding new pages straight away. Most of the formatting options are similar to the desktop word processing applications like MS-word/LibreOffice

When using WordPress for your library, you can provide site visitors with a wealth of information. typically,

  • What services do you have available to the visitors or your organization employees
  • Links to further resources or your library management software
  • Help and general library information
  • Contact pages, information request forms, and opening hours
  • Links to your online catalog & archive if any
  • Social media links and embedded Twitter feeds

WordPress makes it very easy to add and create as many web pages as your need, plus easy to navigate menus.

Maintaining your WordPress library website

If you decide to use the WordPress hosted version, then much of the maintenance is taken care of by WordPress themselves. But it has limitations as I mentioned previously

When using self-hosted WordPress versions, then you need to ensure the following

  • You take regular backups of your website files, uploads, themes, and plugins
  • You take regular backups of the WordPress database
  • You update all plugins used on the site every few weeks
  • The core WordPress software is kept up to date

If this seems too much, some third-party providers can help you to keep your site backed up and software updated automatically. There are also simple plugins that are capable of running regular backups for you.

As I mentioned previously, some hosting providers also provide managed WordPress hosting. This is something to consider if you don’t want to get involved with the maintenance side of running your library website

Keep your library website secure!

Keeping your WordPress software up to date is vital to help you run a healthy library website. As with your mobile phone apps and computer software you should always ensure the latest patches and updates are applied. Your library website is no different. It all helps to keep the nasties, malware, and trojans from gaining unauthorized access to your site.

At the most basic level of security, you must always ensure you use site login passwords that are not easy to guess. Various plugins are also available to help you to keep your library website secure.

NB: If you are completely looking for a free platform, use Google’s Blogger platform, in which you will have complete control and customisation option.

WP Plugin: Image and video gallery from Google Drive

I recently come across a WordPress plugin named Image and video gallery from Google Drive. It is a wonderful plugin that connects our site to our Google Drive. With this plugin, we can select any folder in our Drive and the plugin will convert it into a gallery, displaying any photos or videos on a page or a post on our website. Apart from that, it will also display any folders and their subfolders in the gallery as nested galleries. The great advantage is that this will enable our site to load faster as the images are loaded from Google and not from our server/hosting provider.

See my Gallery made with this plugin

Features
  • Display any Google Drive folder as a gallery
  • Subfolders are automatically displayed as nested galleries – no need to configure them
  • You can restrict the plugin to a certain folder (we call it the “root” folder), making sure that no data outside this root folder will ever be displayed on your site
  • Insert a gallery with a shortcode or with a click of a button
  • Provides a Gutenberg block, making sure that your galleries will work even in WordPress 5
  • Also works with Shared drives (formerly known as Team drives)
  • Supports videos as well
Minimal requirements

WordPress 4.9.6 or higher
PHP 5.6 or higher

How to Configure

https://napoveda.skaut.cz/dobryweb/en-skaut-google-drive-gallery

Reference:

Image and video gallery from Google Drive

https://github.com/skaut/skaut-google-drive-gallery/releases

Session on Getting Started with Koha in the Cloud

It is my pleasure to had a session in the 10 days of Koha online training program (Malayalam) conducted by unity services, changanassery, Kottayam, Kerala. My session was on “Getting Started with Koha in the Cloud” under which I tried to convince the candidates about the factors which are taken into consideration while working with the cloud. the following areas have been discussed in the session along with a practical demonstration.

  • How to deploy a VPS/Cloud Server
  • How to register a Domain name
  • An introduction to Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Upcloud
  • Things to do after getting a VPS/Cloud server
  • Koha installation – domain based
  • Setting up FREE SSL Certificate

Of course, It was a nice experience with Dr. Vimal Kumar sir, Mr. Subeesh Gopinathan, and the entire candidates. although my session was purely a technical side, I hope candidates could have understood what are the things that are being done behind the configuration at least.

Once again, I extend my thanks to all.

Opening a Digital Library System at Global English School, Calicut

It gives immense happiness when professional friends do things rather than usual tasks at the library. Every professional should attempt to implement web 2.0 applications for library services and users.

Ms. Amina Jasmina (Librarian, Global English School, Calicut), my good friend, is an enthusiastic professional having a passion for knowing and learning new technologies for library services. It was she, who implemented the Integrated library system (koha) at the library, She has also noticed the indeed of having digital facilities for the students into the eye of school management. and she is hosting an inaugural function for the opening of a digital library at her school. The function will be inaugurated by Mr. S.L.Faisal  (Librarian, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, Trivandrum) at 2. PM on 07/09/2021. (Tomorrow)

Mr. S.L.Faisal is an inspiring library professional, who has done several innovative things at the library. Recently he was selected for the coveted award for redesigning the concept of the school library by experimenting with several web-based tools and customized them to deliver learning resources with innovative services to students.

This function will be hosted through Google Meet,

I extend my gratitude to the entire team for choosing me as one of the back-ends of the system.

Once, again, I would like to appreciate Ms. Amina Jasmina and the entire school team for the effort. All the best.

Virtual Library: https://wakelet.com/@Librarianges

Digital Library: https://linktr.ee/GlobalEnglishSchoolclt

NB: There are lot of tools and websites that offer completely free for various purposes, library professionals can make use of that without investing any money in it, until and unless we have a keen interest.

Designing an Open-Access Platform for Publishing Scholarly Journals

I was trying to create a demo platform for publishing scholarly journals of institutions under the University of Calicut using the Open Journal System (OJS). It is a demo proposal of my M.Phil thesis entitled ‘Design and Development of an Open-Access Portal for the Scholarly Journals of Institutions under Calicut University’. unfortunately, the installation was not successful, as the latest version of OJS met with several dependencies. after frequent tries, I approached my Tech-guru Dr. Vimal Kumar sir. He too tried but the result was the same as what I received. As he is a man with a wide range network of both library and non-library professionals all over the world, he brought me into contact with Mr. Jeremiah Kellogg Library Faculty, Systems, Eastern Oregon University Library. who helped me creating a VirtualBox image of OJS on Debian OS. and troubleshot the issues that I faced while installing on my PC. I am so grateful to both Dr. Vimal Kumar sir and Mr. Jeremiah Kellogg.

Step by step of Installing OJS 

Install LAMP Stack

LAMP Stack on Debian

LAMP Stack on Ubuntu

After installing LAMP Stack, do the following

sudo systemctl reload apache2 && sudo systemctl restart apache2

Create a directory under webroot of apache, I name the directory as ojs

sudo mkdir /var/www/html/ojs

Navigate to ojs directory

cd /var/www/html/ojs/

Download the latest archive of OJS from the official website

sudo wget https://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs/download/ojs-3.3.0-3.tar.gz

Extract the archive

sudo tar -xvzf ojs-3.3.0-3.tar.gz

Navigate to one folder back

cd ..

Move entire directories and hidden files to the ojs directory

sudo mv /var/www/html/ojs/ojs-3.3.0-3/* /var/www/html/ojs/

Provide write permission to the following directories and file

cd /ojs

sudo chown -R www-data config.inc.php public/ cache/

Navigate to /var/www directory and create a directory for uploading files and give appropriate permission

cd /var/www

sudo mkdir files

sudo chmod -R 777 files/

Create a virtual host, if you are mapping with the domain then create a database, user, and password

sudo mysql -uroot -p  (provide mysql root password)

create database ojs;
grant all privileges on ojs.* to 'ojs'@'localhost' identified by 'ojs123';
flush privileges;
quit;

Restart apache

sudo systemctl reload apache2 && sudo systemctl restart apache2

It is ready now, visit

127.0.1.1/ojs or yourdomain.com

Visit my demo OJS: OAJP CALICUT UNIVERSITY

Reference:

https://openjournalsystems.com/ojs-3-user-guide/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5svWg1Bgj4

My first article got published

It’s with immense pleasure and pride, my article got published in the book entitled The Inclination of Library Professionals to Modern Tools in the Knowledge Era, which consists of ten articles that reflect the innovative practices of libraries in the digital environment. Which was co-edited by V., Vimal Kumar, and Savithry T.K published by Kerala Library Association, Kottayam region. The book includes ten papers dealing with various topics that can influence the work-life of the library professionals and the academic community. The subjects discussed in the book are library networks, e-resources, scholarly publishing, digital libraries, knowledge management, Web 2.0, and blockchain technology, etc.

I take this opportunity to thank them, for providing me with a chance to contribute to the book. This book is published under Creative Common License for the free flow of knowledge.

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