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How to Organize a Community Library Website

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A member asked how she can organize her community library site. She wants regular “what’s happening” blog posts, posts for books, posts for book reviews and a method of organizing and categorizing both books and book reviews. This is very similar to what we are doing in the Community News Case Study. I suggest that she use a couple of custom post types and custom taxonomies. We will discuss this in the future as a modification of the Community News Case Study. View the case study.

Video Transcript

You asked another question earlier and that question was about limiting the posts on your homepage to a single category.

Right.

And that’s because… how many categories do you have right now?

Maybe 10. Actually, I think what I…no, that’s right. I was trying to select 1 category.

And why don’t you want the other 10 to show?

Because there’s things like…well, this is a library. So some of them are book reviews and other things that aren’t pertinent… I just wanted sort of the broad type comments to show on that homepage.

And what’s the name of that category?

Blog.

Okay, so what you’ve got then is when you’re looking at your site, because your site’s currently hosted at Yahoo right?

No, Bluehost.

Oh, it’s hosted at Bluehost. Okay, so you would have, on your homepage, you would have…okay. I guess that would be okay then. See I was thinking that there might be another way for you to organize your site so that you could use categories as they’re really intended to be used which is a way of categorizing your posts. And so if you wanted some posts not to show, I was going to suggest that maybe you do what we’ve been doing in the case study which is using a custom post type and then because the case study could very easily be transported to a library from a community news site you know, you could have a custom post type that was books and a custom post type that was book reviews and you could have custom taxonomies you know, to classify the books. And so then your blog page would show all of your posts but all of your posts would be posts, they wouldn’t be those other things. And I was going to say that that may be something to consider on the library site. It’s not…

Okay.

It’s not absolutely… I mean, you could easily have one category of blog and then subcategories under that, right? So child categories under blog and so you could still categorize your posts that way and… but I was just thinking that there might be another way to do your posts…

Yes. I’m not familiar with custom post types. I need to spend some more time studying what you’ve done on that community demonstration website because I really don’t know anything about custom post types.

Well, the good news is the… you know, it’s a plugin that allows you to access the custom post type. So you could create you custom post types through the plugin rather than having to hard code them yourself. It’s definitely… I mean, how many posts are you going to have?

Well, I’m going to have a lot of posts that are book reviews and then I’m going to have maybe a couple of posts a week that are just comments about that are going on in the library that I want to be on my homepage kind of like announcement. And then when people want to see the complete list of you know, the book reviews by type and so on, they’ll go somewhere else on the site to see that.

And book reviews… so you see book reviews being divided up further into more subcategories?

Yes,by ages or by type of book and that kind of thing.

Well, it does seem to me like the library site does sort of beg for you know, another layer of organization be applied to the books and what was your strategy going to be with tags?

Pardon me?

How were you going to use tags?

I hadn’t really thought about it and I don’t have enough experience to really know the answer to that question. I’m open to suggestion.

Okay. Well, ‘coz you know, WordPress has these 2 you know, right off the bat, sort of 2 organizational systems. It has the hierarchical organization system called a category and so you could have categories and subcategories. And then it has the non-hierarchical one called tags and you can’t have a subtag of a tag, all tags are on the same level. And so the intention is that every post have one category and then potentially multiple tags. And so sometimes you know, sometimes, something as complex as book organization might want multiple mechanisms for organizing it. You know, you might want to find books by author or you might want to find books by genre or you might want to find books by you know, the age of the reader.

Exactly.

And so those probably… the category doesn’t work very well for those because…

So that sounds more like tags.

Well or actually, it sounds more like… it sounds more to me like custom post types and custom taxonomies. A taxonomy… you could have a taxonomy called “author” and then you can have author names you know, as the… those are the only elements in the taxonomy as the author name and you could apply that author name to your book… to every book and then you can…somebody can search for them by author name or you can sort them by author name or display them by author name. The same thing is true with genre or even sort of the readership age. Again, neither of those elements really makes a lot of sense as categories but they make a ton of sense as custom taxonomies and maybe that should be one of the things that we talk about as a case study as well. How to use custom taxonomies to organize something as complex as a library because…

Well that would be helpful.

Yeah and I think very interesting also.

What plugin did you use with your community website to get custom post types?

I used the custom… custom post UI was the name of the plugin. But if you come over and look at Live Answers and then…

Yeah, I’ll study those.

Click on Case Study Community News, actually, I still haven’t fixed those tags. So we need to either click on Case Study or Case Study Community News but when you click on one or both of those, you’ll get all of the posts you know, all of the parts of that case study and including the different plugins that we used for accomplishing the task. And I would be you know, just delighted to sort of refine that to include books so that you could…

Well that would be really helpful.

Have you know, you could look at ways of indexing… yeah. You have a variety of ways of indexing the books.

Right. I see now how analogous it is and I hadn’t paid close enough attention to the community case study because I hadn’t seen that analogy before. But now, I’m going to go make sure I watch all of those and understand what you were doing with that.

Okay, well so I’m going to do a little bit of thinking on this here and I’ll come up with a presentation on how to use custom taxonomies in the context of… well in fact, custom post types and custom taxonomies in the context of small community library.

That’s great. You make me look brilliant, I love it. My library committee is blown away with what I’ve produced and you’re my secret weapon in the back pocket.

Well, I tell you your site looks beautiful so…

Thanks a lot, Rick.

Okay well thank you.

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