The New Tainacan: Alpha release

We are happy to announce the release of the very 1st version of the new Tainacan. Now you can install a digital collections repository directly from your WordPress panel, with an easy one click install process!

It’s a super early release, not yet intended for use in production, but rather intended to be shared with the community and, hopefully, to attract more people interested in using it, testing it, giving us the precious feedback, and (why not?) helping us with the code.

In this post I will give you a quick overview of how it works and its main features. As you can check out in the road map, only the very basics are implemented so far. (nevertheless, lots of things can be done already!)

As soon as we release the Tainacan default theme, we will publish another post and put out some demo videos!

Quick overview

Once installed, you will see a new menu item in your WordPress panel, called (surprisingly..) Tainacan. Click on it to manage your repository.

Create a collection

The first thing you will want to do is to create a new Collection. Click the “New Collection” button and configure its basic information, such as name and description.

Screenshot showing the user interface upon clicking on "New Collection". The menu gives you two options: creating a "Blank collection - Choose your own metadata" and "Dublin Core (Not Ready)", which is grayed out.

You will notice that when you click the button to create a new collection, the option to use a preset, such as Dublin Core, is still disabled. We are working on it for the very next version. We left it there only to show that it will exist.

Configure your collection

Navigate the top menu to set your collection up.

Items is where you will spend most of your time browsing and managing items.

Screenshot showing the Items page under the "Desenhos de um livro" collection.
The items page. Filters will be displayed on the left hand sidebar once they are configured.

Settings is where you configure your collection. We will cover this in detail in future posts and documentation.

Metadata is where you will set up which metadata items this collections will hold. You are free to choose whatever you want. In the future, when you use a preset, you will see that the metadata items will be automatically populated, but you are still be free to add new fields, change their names, configure wether they are required or not, private or public, and many other options. (Note: even if you did not choose, for example, a Dublin Core preset, you will still be able to map your metadata to that, and other standards.)

Screenshot showing the Metadata page. It shows the phrase "Edit Metadata of Desenhos do livro: Uma seleção de pássaros do Brasil e do México". There's a list of Metadata already created, such as Name ("Nome"), Description ("Descrição") and Binomial nomenclature (here referred as "Nome Científico"). On the right, there's a list of available Metadata types, such as Text, Textarea, Date, Numeric, Selectbox, Relationship and Category.
Choose from the list of available metadata types on the right the ones you wish to use to create new metadata for your collection

In the Filters screen you will choose, from all the metadata you’ve set up, the ones which will be used as filters in your faceted search.

Screenshot of the Filters page, asking the user to edit filters for this collection. On this screenshot, there's no filter provided, and on the right there's a list of Metadata available for use.
Choose which metadata of your collections should be used as a filter.

Finally, in the Events screen you will be able to see the history of everything you, and other users, are doing in this collection. This feature is still a bit experimental, but it works. 😉

Screenshot of the Events page, showing every action performed by all users with permission to modify that collection.
Access a history of every action performed in this collection.

Add items

Back to the “Items” screen, click “Add new” to create a new item.

Add new item screen

On the right hand side, you will see all the metadata you’ve configured, and on the left side you will be able to add the actual Document, to set a thumbnail and to upload attachments.

The Document is the item itself. It can be a file of any format, an URL (to a youtube video, for example), or a text.

Tainacan will try to find the best way to display the document depending on its type. For example, if it is an audio file, it will embed a player. If it is a PDF document, a PDF reader. Also, it the document is an URL, it will generate embeds for most of the popular platforms, such as youtube, twitter, tumblr and so on, using oEmbed.

An item with a PDF document. Metadata were collapsed on the right

Manage taxonomies

Tainacan also gives you the ability to manage and use Taxonomies. They can be used across all your collections as controlled (or uncontrolled) hierarchical vocabularies.

Each term in each taxonomy has its own name and description, as well as its own URL where you will be able to browse items from different collections that share this same classification.

Managing terms of a taxonomy

How it will look like for the general audience?

Ok, you have your beautiful collection, you can browse it via a nice faceted search, classify it with your taxonomies, but all this is happening only in your administration environment. What about the public visualization?

Everything marked as published can be accessed by any visitor, despite the theme you are using in your WordPress installation. We will soon release a specially configured Tainacan theme, that will add specific features for a full experience of the possibilities offered by Tainacan. But, in the mean time, you can use it with any theme, and your collections and items will be displayed in a simple way, depending on how your theme looks.

If you are using the default WordPress theme, the list of collections will look like this.

Collections list in the default WordPress theme

And once you visit your collection, your items will be displayed in the same fashion as blog posts are displayed, because that is all this default theme can offer.

How WordPress default theme displays the items (not really great)

When you visit an item, Taincan will fetch all its metadata and display it.

The item page in the default WordPress theme. Displays all item details

But its important to notice that all your URLs are sound and fixed. You have an URL for your collection, for your items, and even for terms in your taxonomies. In the picture above, the terms MPB and Samba, from the taxonomy “genre”, are hyperlinks to a list of all items tagged accordingly, despite the collection they are in.

If you browse a little more, you might find other themes that display differently. Here are a few examples.

Metro CreativeX theme displays items in a gallery format, which works pretty well for this albums collection
Hitchcock also displays items as a gallery. The background image is grabed by the collection cover image or, in this case, by the term image. This is the page displaying all terms in the Samba genre

The main idea is that, if you already use or like any WordPress theme, it will be very easy to adapt it and add all the features Tainacan can offer, such as the faceted search for example. Here is an example with another free theme.

That’s it for now. There is so much more we want to show, but we will make it in future posts, very soon.

Any feedback or inquires are very welcome.

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