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Keeping track of content in WordPress

March 19, 2015 - Rachel

Recently, we launched Waterloo 200 (see http://www.nam.ac.uk/waterloo200/ for the live site) and as part of the project the team needed to gather together rich museum object data and other content from a range of sources.

The site is a reasonably complex WordPress build, with a number of custom post types to support the rich content on the site. For objects, there’s a range of fields – all kept tidy with the wonderful Advanced Custom Fields tab view:

Object editing view

Under those tabs are both externally visible content – object description, images, links to related objects and venues and so on – but also some fields which we added in later to help keep track of where the team had got to.

There will only be around 200 objects on the site in total – but even with a small collection there’s a lot to keep track of – whether the 360º view had been added, how complete the tagging was, etc etc.

To help the team manage this we put together a really simple, really quick WordPress plugin which displays an object report in the dashboard:

W200 object report


There’s no rocket science here – we simply iterate through all the objects in the database and, lookup how complete the record is and then provide a simple report – but actually we found this absolutely invaluable. Firstly it gives a snapshot view which allows editors to understand how much is left to do (the colours help: if you squint you can get a sense of how much red “need to do” there is!) – but it also acts as a quick way to edit, view, see the 360/zoom view etc on any object.

We did a second, even simpler plugin which does a similar thing but for pages:

W200 page report


..again – really simple, but gives a nice snapshot view of what’s going on from a content-completeness point of view.

The whole process got us thinking about how WordPress is lacking nice content management tools (ironic, really) – but simple auditing, bug-catching, content scanning stuff is a bit sparse – so we’re now looking at whether to develop some plugins that help the editorial people manage their workflows a bit more effectively.

We’d be interested to hear from you if you’re a WordPress person – what do you use to manage content flow within the CMS (and outside it)? Are there tools that help the process that we could learn from?

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