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A few questions on integration and customization

Are you an Editor, Author, or Journal Manager in need of help? Want to talk to us about workflow issues? This is your forum.

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Forum rules
This forum is meant for general questions about the usability of OJS from an everyday user's perspective: journal managers, authors, and editors are welcome to post questions here, as are librarians and other support staff. We welcome general questions about the role of OJS and how the workflow works, as well as specific function- or user-related questions.

What to do if you have general, workflow or usability questions about OJS:

1. Read the documentation. We've written documentation to cover from OJS basics to system administration and code development, and we encourage you to read it.

2. take a look at the tutorials. We will continue to add tutorials covering OJS basics as time goes on.

3. Post a question. Questions are always welcome here, but if it's a technical question you should probably post to the OJS Technical Support subforum; if you have a development question, try the OJS Development subforum.

A few questions on integration and customization

Postby SamF » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:15 pm

Hi all,

I am thinking of integrating OJS into my site, and I have a couple of questions.

First, how hard is it going to be to try and integrate it into a CMS system like GeekLog? From the thread before mine, Integrating OJS into an existing web site front end?, it looks like this might be a really difficult process, and so not worth me wondering about the rest of my questions if I won't be able to do it.

Second, how much support is there for adding more functionality to the system? For example, features I would want include tagging, uploading files related to articles (source code, etc.), downloading the articles in multiple formats, and possibly automatic citation generation (e.g. as BibTeX). Are any of these features already available, how how easy would it be to add them if they are not?

I'm a software programmer with a little knowledge of php and some lesser knowledge of MySQL, but would be willing to learn if the goals are not too far out of reach...

Thanks!
Sam
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Re: A few questions on integration and customization

Postby jmacgreg » Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:08 am

Hey Sam,

I can't speak a whole lot to integrating OJS with another CMS. That depends on how far you want to go theme- and hook-wise, I suppose. OJS uses the Smarty template engine and css to style the whole thing, so with some work you should be able to get it to look like pretty much anything you want. OJS also has a plugin architecture which makes creating custom, non-core code easier, and 2.2 includes a 'block' architecture as well, somewhat similar to Drupal's block/module system. I know a couple of different groups who have built their own custom blocks for the sidebars etc., with whatever info they need in there. Aside from that you may want to worry about user authentication; there is an LDAP plugin, but I've never used it (I can get some advice from folks who have if you need it, however).

All that said, it depends on the level of integration you need. There are very easy ways to add links etc. to the navigation bars if that's all you need.

Regarding the other items you are looking for:

* There's a fair bit of info on BibTeX on the forum:
search.php?st=0&sk=t&sd=d&keywords=bibtex
* OJS supports uploading related files with articles during the submission process (called Supplementary Files; they can be pretty much anything);
* OJS has good support for HTML, PDF and PS galley files, but you can use many other types of file for you galley. Others have successfully experimented with using audio and video files for galleys (you can search the forum for specific threads);
* We may look at tagging as a feature down the road.

If you have any further questions, please let us know. I would suggest taking a look at the OJS development forum as well, to get an idea on what other folks are doing. Also, you may want to take a look at some of our bits of documentation, especially OJS in an Hour for a complete overview of OJS features, and the OJS Technical Reference. The Technical Reference is a couple of revisions out of date, but we'll be updating it shortly.

Development Forum: viewforum.php?f=9
OJS Documentation: http://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs_documentation
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Re: A few questions on integration and customization

Postby jmacgreg » Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:13 am

Sam,

I just now saw your more detailed question in the support forum -- I'll ask a developer to get back to you on that specific point.

Cheers,
James
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Re: A few questions on integration and customization

Postby SamF » Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:20 pm

jmacgreg wrote:* There's a fair bit of info on BibTeX on the forum:
search.php?st=0&sk=t&sd=d&keywords=bibtex
* OJS supports uploading related files with articles during the submission process (called Supplementary Files; they can be pretty much anything);
* OJS has good support for HTML, PDF and PS galley files, but you can use many other types of file for you galley. Others have successfully experimented with using audio and video files for galleys (you can search the forum for specific threads);
* We may look at tagging as a feature down the road.

That sounds great. If there's no tagging right now, is there support for other metadata, beyond just author/data/issue? How about categories, or copyright information? And how easy would it be to modify the submission form to allow authors to add this metadata (say, a pull-down menu for their copyright choice)?
I just now saw your more detailed question in the support forum -- I'll ask a developer to get back to you on that specific point.
Thanks!
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Re: A few questions on integration and customization

Postby jmacgreg » Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:28 pm

Hi Sam,

During the setup process you can provide the option for authors to contribute their own metadata by Academic Discipline and Sub-discipline; Subject Classification; Keywords; Coverage; and Type. You can also provide a copyright notice (you can optionally require that they agree to it), however I could see a couple ways in which you could provide options for more than one copyright.

I would suggest looking at the OJS in an Hour document for a general idea on how configurable OJS is for these types of options are. You can also take OJS out for a test drive on our server to become more familiar with how it operates:
http://pkp.sfu.ca/ojs/demo/testdrive/

The login is "admin" and the password is "testdrive". This installation will be regularly purged of all data, so please do not use it for anything other than making a short-term evaluation of the software.

Cheers,
James
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Re: A few questions on integration and customization

Postby SamF » Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:30 pm

jmacgreg wrote: however I could see a couple ways in which you could provide options for more than one copyright.


Hi James,

I never thanked you for your reply!

I'd love to hear what you were thinking for providing options for the authors to select a copyright. Such a pattern would allow managers to create any kind of metadata for articles, which at the moment seems fairly inflexible (having read the tutorials).

If it's going to require hacking into the code and databases, I can give that a stab, although if you know off the top of your head where the code that generates the submission forms are that would be a great start.

Thanks!
Sam
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Re: A few questions on integration and customization

Postby jmacgreg » Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:06 am

Hi Sam,

Heh, you called my bluff. :) I was thinking more about providing something like a dual copyright notice in the copyright field, with an admonition for the author to dictate which she preferred in the comments to the editor -- then the posting/attribution of copyright would be taken care of during editing.

However, I can give you a couple of small pointers regarding modifying the submission form. The templates themselves are located in templates/author/submit, and are titled according to the step they relate to. I believe there have also been some recent conversations on the forum about adding metadata fields, such as viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2731. You shouldn't have to modify the database schema, but you will have to modify more than just the template files, as can be seen in Alec's example.

If you have any other questions, please let us know.

Cheers,
James
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Re: A few questions on integration and customization

Postby charlener » Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:34 pm

De-lurking...

I think when I installed OCS a year and half ago we had a similar issue concerning additional submission fields (not necessarily metadata, though). I would probably now recommend supplementary files - if you can convince submitters to not to forget to include them - as the work I had to do involved modifying templates and code all over the place - both on the reviewer and submitter side - to actually see the information, plus adding fields to the database (see http://electroniclibrarian.org/ocs/index.php/erl/2009/presenter/submit/1, page 2, of this submission process). It's such that I'm afraid to upgrade because I'm certain it'll break all this... :(

On the other hand, what future options, if any, will there be to actually add in fields like what I hardcoded? I would say that most of the other features in OCS have matured to the point that I would begin this painful upgrade if that actually existed...but at the moment our conference's pieces are scattered all over the place, which isn't too maintainable but still works.
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Re: A few questions on integration and customization

Postby jmacgreg » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:58 pm

Hi charlener,

We would encourage you to upgrade to 2.1 if possible -- you will find that 2.1 is a substantial improvement over 2.0, and you will be well-poised to stay up to date with future releases. If you have made changes to your database, be wary of the upgrade process as the 2.0->2.1 upgrade will strip new database fields from tables unless they're also included in the database descriptor. Before doing anything, make sure you have everything -- database included -- backed up.

OCS' database storage has been overhauled to allow new fields to be added without requiring database changes; however, although we are planning on altering the UI to allow for easier addition of metadata fields, this has not happened yet. You should be able to make a diff of your current install vs. a stock OCS 2.0 install, and possibly merge those into your upgraded 2.1 install, or at least use the diff to work from.

Cheers,
James
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