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Customizing Your Collection's Appearance

Once you have built the collection, you next decide how it should appear to the user. What names should be used for the drop-down list of indexes in the search form? How should search results be displayed? What metadata should be displayed when a document is viewed? These can be customized; this section explains how to do it.

The Format Panel

This section introduces you to the Format view.

With the Librarian Interface you can configure how the collection appears to the user. The configuration options are divided into sections, each associated with a different type of customization.

On the left is a list of parameters and on the right are the control elements associated with each parameter. To edit a parameter, click its name in the list.

Under the list of parameters is a "Preview Collection" button. Changes made in the Format view don't require a collection rebuild, so can be previewed straight away. However, the collection must have been built at least once to allow previewing.


This section explains how to review and alter the general settings associated with your collection. First, under the "Format" tab, click "General".

Here some collection wide metadata can be set or modified, including the title and description entered when starting a new collection.

First are the contact email addresses of the collection's creator and maintainer. The following field allows you to change the collection title. The folder that the collection is stored in is shown next, but this cannot be altered. Then comes the icon to show at the top left of the collection's "About" page (in the form of a URL), followed by the icon used in the Greenstone library page to link to the collection. Next is a checkbox that controls whether the collection should be publicly accessible. Finally comes the "Collection Description" text area as described in Creating a New Collection.

This section explains how to set the display text for the drop down lists on the search page. Under the "Format" tab, click "Search".

This pane contains a table listing each search index, level, and partition. Here you can enter the text to be used for the names in the drop-down lists on the search page. This pane only allows you to set the text for one language, the current language used by GLI. To translate these names for other languages, use the "Translate Text" panel of the Format view (see Translate Text).

Format Features

The web pages you see when using Greenstone are not pre-stored but are generated 'on the fly' as they are needed. Format commands are used to change the appearance of these generated pages. They affect such things as which buttons appear when a document is shown, and what links are displayed by the DateList classifier. Format commands are not easy to develop, and you should read Chapter 2 of the Greenstone Developer's Guide. This section discusses the format settings, and how the Librarian Interface gives access to them. Under the "Format" tab, click "Format Features".

You can apply a format command to anything in the "Choose Feature" pull-down list, which includes each classifier and a predefined list of features. When you select a feature, there are two types of control. Some features are simply enabled or disabled, and this is controlled by a checkbox. Others require a format string to be specified. For these there is a pull-down list ("Affected Component") for selecting which part of the feature the string applies to (if necessary), a text area ("HTML Format String") for entering the string, and a selection of predefined "Variables". To insert a variable into a format string, position the cursor at the place to insert, then select the desired variable from the "Insert Variable…" combobox.

You can specify a default format for a particular component by selecting the "All Features" feature. This format is then applied to all applicable features unless a more specific one is defined.

To add a new format command, select the applicable feature and component. The default value for this command will be displayed in grey. Click "Add Format" to assign it to the collection. The "HTML Format String" will become editable and you can change it if you wish. Only one format command can be assigned to each feature/component combination.

To remove a format command, select it from the list and click "Remove Format".

For more information about variables and the feature components, read Chapter 2 of the Greenstone Developer's Guide.

Translate Text

This section describes the translation pane, where you can translate text fragments for parts of the collection's interface into other languages. Under the "Format" tab, click "Translate Text".

First choose an entry from the "Features" list. The language-specific strings associated with this feature appear below. Use the "Language of translation" pull-down list to select the target language, and type the translated text into the text area, referring to the "Initial Text Fragment" if necessary. Click "Add Translation" when finished.

To remove an existing translation, select it in the "Assigned Translations" table and click "Remove Translation".

To edit a translation, select it, edit the "Translated Text" area and click "Replace Translation".

Greenstone can search across several different collections as though they were one. This is done by specifying a list of other collections to be searched along with the current one. Under the "Format" tab, click "Cross-Collection Search".

The Cross-Collection Search panel shows a checklist of available collections. The current collection is ticked and cannot be de-selected. To add another collection to be searched in parallel, click it in the list (click again to remove it). If only one collection is selected, there is no cross-collection searching.

If the individual collections do not have the same indexes (including sub-collection partitions and language partitions) as each other, cross-collection searching will not work properly. The user will only be able to search using indexes common to all collections.

For further details, see Chapter 1 of the Greenstone Developer's Guide.

Collection Specific Macros

Under the "Format" tab, click "Collection Specific Macros".

This pane shows the contents of the collection's macro file. This is where collection specific macros can be defined. To learn more about macros, see Chapter 3 of the Greenstone Developer's Guide.

Depositor Metadata

The Greenstone Depositor enables users to add new documents into an existing collection through a web interface. This section describes the Depositor Metadata pane, where you can specify which metadata fields should be used to describe the new documents added through Depositor. Any metadata sets that have been associated with the current collection will be available for selection. If there is no other metadata set than the "Greenstone Extracted Metadata Set" associated with the collection, the "Dublin Core Metadata Set" will be used as default. To learn more about the Depositor, see the online tutorial exercise at Under the "Format" tab, click "Depositor Metadata".

The Depositor Metadata panel shows a checklist of available metadata fields. If there is more than one metadata set associated with the collection, neighbouring metadata sets are displayed in different colours. Hover the mouse over a metadata element: a tool-tip displaying its description will appear.

Check those you want to be used to describe new documents when they are deposited through the Depositor. A drop-down list with two choices will appear beside each checked element. This allows you to specify the type of input box for the element in the web interface. "text" means that a single line input box will be used, whereas "textarea" means that a multi-line input box will be used. Select an appropriate box type for each field.

At least one metadata element must be selected. If there is only one selected element in the list, de-selecting it will pop-up a warning message: "At least one metadata element should be selected".