Archive for the ‘WordPress’ Category

Fall semester: first half is now over!

At the beginning of this semester, I told a couple of people that I might not survive the first half … and the main two reasons for that early thought were two projects that required some special/unknown tests/research/coding … trying to come up with a realistic deadline when the learning curve is kind of uncertain is a bit of a challenge.  However, here we’re already fully emerged into the second half and I’m pretty sure the next 5-6 weeks will go just fine!

FS game instructionsFirst of all, the Freedom Summer Game was probably my top priority in September and even though we saw all the new features in ARIS 2.0 … because of the amount of work we had in the “old” editor, it was clear that we were better off in sticking to the older version and in the end, it allowed us to develop a good understanding of how the “characters scripts” work … or how to add some HTML code for text formatting.  Anyway, this first version of the project seems to be almost done, we’ve collected some good feedback including a new/short “storyboard” version by David Gagnon, the ARIS inventor.  On my end, some of the lessons learned include: WiFi can be very tricky, therefore devices with no GPS should be excluded; eliminating extra text/buttons on the screen is a MUST; the lack of a “back” button seems to a shared/common concern among playtesters  … perhaps the good news is that some of these issues will be fixed in ARIS 2.0 … which is another reason we want to migrate to that new version -as soon as we can.  During the conference, we kind of made it official that we’ll be working on a version 2 and it should be released sometime in the spring semester … so stay tune!

In early September, we also learned that there was an opportunity to demo the Middle East Media project at an international conference in Qatar … well, something like this was definitely a good reason/excuse to finalize the “beta” version of this site.  One of the major changes was modifying the header.php file as we added a few PHP lines to check if the page being displayed is one of the new “custom taxonomy” pages or not.  Overall, this project has allowed us to test some of the functionalities that WordPress and its plugins can offer to this type of scholarly websites.

closed captioningLast, we finally have some good news for the Miami Video Captioning PILOT project, this week we’re getting ready to hire 2-3 students who will be helping us transcribe selected videos.   We’re still hoping to launch a site for this pilot project sometime around the 2015 Access For ALL Symposium.  Finally, with all the TO-DOs I had for the first half of October, it was easy to completely forget about an IFLA book chapter proposal … however, the editors were kind enough to extend the deadline for a week and now my proposal is in review :-)

Esto es todo por ahora, hasta la próxima!


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PHP Deprecated warnings in WordPress

Apparently, the above error messages were caused by an upgrade to a recent PHP version (5.3.3-7) on the machine where my WordPress blog is hosted.  Initially, I thought about just commenting the lines indicated in the error message, but that didn’t work.  So after a couple of unsuccessful tries and before messing up with my wp-settings and includes files, I decided to do what I’ve should done first, search for a possible solution on the WordPress support site … and YES, I found a few entries about PHP Deprecated warnings!  A very useful page I found is available at: or maybe just Google it.

Basically, I had to add a line at the very beginning of the wp-config.php file


And change a value around line 200 in the wp-settings.php file

//error_reporting(E_ALL ^ E_NOTICE ^ E_USER_NOTICE);

…and that seems to fix all errors/warnings! :)

I guess this was a good reminder too that it must be time for an upgrade to this blog installation; although since that will most likely require an upgrade for the theme folder, I’d rather wait a bit and get done with other things first.  In short, I’m not upgrading it today, but I’ve added it to my to-do list for the near future.

…feliz tarde de viernes!


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A Gallery Theme for DSpace!

Yes, it seems like we’re finally wrapping up some good results for this “much needed” project! Between the summer and fall of 2010, I spent some time learning/testing/understanding/implementing a few customizations for DSpace -using the Manakin or XMLUI framework.  A more detailed documentation will be available -soon- on the Customizing DSpace page.

The ultimate goal is to develop a set of themes primarily for non-text collections; which undoubtedly brings a set of challenges especially when dealing with file viewers or players. For instance, the lack of an easy mechanism to access a set of files or “bitstreams” associated with a single record forced us to investigate and implement an alternative method for embedding a flash-based image viewer for the Miami Student Newspaper collection.

The trick was to write an XSLT template that takes the the filename of the primary bitstream in DSpace and calls an external PHP file; which then reads an external folder with JP2 files and displays the images using an open source image viewer -OpenZoom. This technique seems to work well, in fact, it could be customized for embedding DjVu files or maybe e-books from the Open Library.

For an image collection, we decided to work on an existing theme customization work initially developed by NITLE; which uses a TJPzoom viewer with a magnifier feature -very cool! This theme seems to work great for the Frank Snyder Photograph collections with single images; a possible change (upgrade) for this theme would be to add a navigation option (perhaps based on JavaScript) for displaying multiple images associated with a single record. For this theme, we also added a custom XSLT template for displaying local metadata labels -including some linkable terms in the subject field.

Last, we also created a video theme, which embeds videos from Vimeo and we’re currently testing it for the new Dalai Lama Video collection. Here we used a method similar to what CONTENTdm does for video collections; we uploaded an image with a filename that matches the vimeo ID file; then create an XSLT template that takes the filename (primary bitstream) and create a custom URL which then calls and embeds the vimeo player in DSpace.  For some collections, we also have the transcripts and with this technique, we could easily add the transcript next to the video … but that’s in the next theme upgrade!

Ok, that’s it for now; part of the next steps will be to “formally” document the process of installing the new themes and get them installed in our production instance hosted at OhioLINK.


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theme update

…after a couple of hours of work (test), now I can see some progress on a WordPress theme re-design.  It was originally a blueberry theme, but now -after all the changes and lines UNintentionally deleted- it doesn’t really look like a blueberry anymore :( …but it may be close to what I initially had  in mind, …will let you judge!

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