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JIRA Reference: https://jira.duraspace.org/browse/DS-560

Proposed: The original JIRA ticket advocates to put the frontpage news in the dspace.cfg and remove the requirement to restart DSpace to see it in effect. In fact, the news feature in XMLUI is a lot less user friendly than the (albeit basic) web interface for editing news in the JSPUI. If you look at it even more broadly you could state that a DSpace frontpage is by far not as customizable as modern web portal frontpages.

Currently present in JSPUI

http://demo.dspace.org/jspui/

  • Top news box, can be edited in HTML in the webui
  • Searchbox
  • Community listing of all communities
  • Sidebar: Newsbox, can be edited in HTML in the webui
  • Sidebar: access to the RSS feeds

Currently present in XMLUI (Mirage)

http://demo.dspace.org/xmlui

Examples of changes or improvements in the community

Many XMLUI instances out there have nice frontpages and might also have customized the way to edit them. Some code might already be out there. Their developers might be motivated to contribute or work on this.

  • Harvard DASH
    • Frontpage look? Very large news section with images, regularly being updated
    • Backend edit features? Unknown, requesting information
    • Implemented by: inhouse
  • African Virtual University OER
    • Frontpage look? Different newsblocks, each with a title
    • Backend edit features? Each newsblock is a different xml file that should be edited in DRI. Each new block requires a change in the sitemap
    • Implemented by @mire

A modest look at other players in the field

http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/

  • Introduction text
  • Contemporary news with one news item, no links to a news archive
  • "At a glance" box with links to top 10 downloads and 60 most recent additions
  • "Paper of the Day" box featuring one item
  • A line of repository vitals: number of papers, total number of downloads, number of downloads that year

http://eprints.utas.edu.au/

  • Introduction text
  • Different navigation boxes, almost like a sitemap

http://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/

  • Elaborate recent news feature, with a short news listing & clicking on an item expands the view.
  • Older news under "more research news", featuring only the headlines
  • New books, featuring a thumbnail listing of books and some metadata
  • Access to the RSS feeds for news
  • Searchbox

General observations

DCAT discussion preparation

This request touches more broadly on the look & feel of a DSpace frontpage and the essence can be broken down into 3 questions:

  1. Ideally, which features should be offered on the DSpace homepage?
    1. Should all of these features be standard & fixed, or should an admin be able to enable or disable some of them?
  2. Which tools or modus operandi should an administrator use to alter the homepage?

DCAT review

Important, no one replied with 0 or -1.

DCAT initial assessment

The DSpace frontpage should feature following standard elements

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...

The DSpace frontpage should feature following optional elements (to be enabled or disabled in a config file)

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...

Since mostly non-technical people need to make changes, following elements should be edited from the admin web user interface

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...

(if it turns out that these lists become very long, we should propose a phased approach with small chunks of changes/development, so the chances get a lot more likely that they will get through).

Previous steps

DCAT Review

We would like to hear the community's opinions and thoughts on this, and we'd like to try using the DSpace code committers' method for indicating your level of support, since that will help make it easy for them to understand where we're coming from on these:

  • If you agree with the above assessment and have no additional comments, you can simply respond with a +1.
  • If you disagree but have no comments, a -1 works, and if you have no opinion at all, 0 is fine. (And encouraged, since that means we know you've had a chance to weigh in.)
  • If you do have comments or other ideas, you're not limited to the numbers, of course. So please do share your thoughts!

Next steps

DCAT Initial Assessment

Please give your list of features, as concrete as possible, for following 3 questions:

The DSpace frontpage should feature following standard elements:

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...

The DSpace frontpage should feature following optional elements (to be enabled or disabled in a config file)

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...

Since mostly non-technical people need to make changes, following elements should be edited from the admin web user interface

  • ...
  • ...
  • No labels

6 Comments

  1. +1, and agreed that most aspects of DSpace look-and-feel customization require repository managers to be ready, willing, and able to climb a fairly steep learning curve. Leveling off as many portions of that curve as possible would be great.

    1. TBH, its very well recognized in the dspace developers group that having to modify files in the installation directory to put content on the site home page is far from ideal. We've done some custom solutions for different @mire clients including the embedding of rss feeds for news so that blogs can be used as the source for news and database support for site level content (see:https://circle.ubc.ca/ .) Two/Three plausable solutions have been explored and might be discussed here.

      1. Make a WebUI to edit the Description and Title of the Site and place this into the DSpace database and "Site" class. Making it behave like a Community (editable html sections)
      2. Create a means to add and customize the content of additional webpages (i.e. help, about this repo, etc) and create a facility to upload/edit and store such individual content files and store a s real parts of DSpace.
      3. Embedding Atom/RSS news feeds into the DSpace Site rather than having to wire news in DRI in a configuration file.

      I would recommend that the DCAT take the position that those customizing the content and look/feel of the site not need to be full fledged JAVA engineers or even be system administrators and approacht he developer group with such a requirement and ask the developer group to propose technical solutions and try to measure their tractability.

      Best Regards,
      Mark

  2. +1

    We had a discussion about this here at OSU and the consensus was that we’d like to see a front page that’s fairly simplistic. We don’t really see this page as a starting point for searchers/browsers as most of those users enter via Google et al directly to an item and may then do more searching/browsing from within the repository. That front page, in our experience, is better suited to providing content for contributors and others within the institution (who are looking to see if this is something worth their attention) rather than outside users (who would be be searching/browsing for items within the IR). We see the frontpage as a tool for using the IR, not a marketing tool. Having a very simple front page which quickly leads users to a page appropriate for their needs seems to make better sense to us. Those two additional pages (submission and search/browse) could then be configured with information appropriate to the two behaviors. It would also allow us to separate the Browse By and Help Guides to the appropriate pages, which we think would reduce user confusion. I know we’re kind of changing things up here, but we think the frontpage standard elements should include:

    *information specific to each IR (e.g., purpose, content, mission statement, history, contact information)
    *link to submission page
    *link to search/browse page

    Optional elements would include:

    *news items
    *featured items/collections/communities (we might want to use different terms — users don’t know the difference between collections and communities)
    *recent deposits
    *selected statistics

    These items should be editable by a non-technical person:

    *information specific to each IR
    *news items
    *featured items/collections/communities

  3. Just pasting Jim's reply sent to the mailing list here:

    The DSpace frontpage should feature following standard elements

    * search box
    * link to advance search
    * links to browse options
    * link to log in
    * link to help and/or about

    The DSpace frontpage should feature following optional elements (to be
    enabled or disabled in a config file)

    * news item
    * recent deposits
    * featured item and/or collection
    * selected use statistics (I like what UofI's IDEALS displays)

    Since mostly non-technical people need to make changes, following
    elements should be edited from the admin web user interface

    * ideally, all of the above
    (I'm probably missing the point here, since I'm sure that's not the answer you had in mind!)

  4. My own opinion:

    Standard elements:

    * Repository title
    * Introduction text
    * Searchbox
    * Link to contact information
    * Link to help/FAQ (especially instructions for submission)
    * box with configurable links

    Optional elements would include:

    * Links to browse/discovery
    * News: some people want to refresh the homepage often, some want to leave it static
    * featured items/collections/communities - Content highlights
    * recent deposits
    * selected statistics

    These items should be editable by a non-technical person:

    * Repository title
    * Introduction text
    * News items
    * Highlighted content
    * Links from the link box to other resources