Curation Note 6: Upgrading Site and Tagging Media

Activity Summary: 

  • Purchased Business upgrade for site; chose domain name
  • Added MediaTagger plug-in, created tag search form, created and assigned tags to images
  • Updated Research page with three total search functions: tag search, a keyword search bar that locates content across site and media descriptions, and the accession log (embedded .pdf file)


This session has been tedious and slow, but ultimately productive. The session had to begin with purchasing an upgrade to gain access to plug-ins in WordPress to allow for the more robust functionality I want to have, including tagging individual media items and including audio files. It costs $300, so it has been an expense I have been somewhat reluctant to purchase. I hope to obtain some additional funding from Florida Atlantic University, which has recently added a NTT funding award, but it will have to be a reimbursement if awarded. Once I purchased the upgrade, there were some administrative steps to complete before the site could be fully activated, which took some time, but the upgraded site changes the appearance if the site as new features are activated. I spent a significant amount of time trying to understand the new functions and then address some of the issues it presented. The first problem was what would happen when users clicked on the artifacts images. In a previous note, I demonstrated how I carefully linked each artifact image to an attachment page that displayed the description from the metadata, a key function of the archive. However, after upgrading a new “carousel” display function was applied, which redirected users to a carousel display (images against a black background without the metadata visible unless users navigated to the comments from a small link at the bottom of the screen) instead of the attachment page. I spent time trying to locate a solution on my own, but despite my best efforts to toggle settings, I was unable to disable the carousel feature. I finally reached out to the WP experts in a help chat, and the support staff was able to go into the site on their end and disable the carousel to restore the previous view I had established. 

Once I had gotten past the frustration of the display, I had the chance to select a new domain without the “wordpress” brand name in the address. I chose and I am pleased with the simplicity of the address and the less commercial connotation of the .org designation.

Then I was able to add plug-ins for functionality. I was easily able to add a plug-in to allow me to embed .pdf files, which makes the Accession Log more readily accessible and integrated into the site. I was also relatively easily able to add a plug-in called WP Search Extender, which allows me to add a search bar to the site that will allow users to enter keywords that will generate results from media metadata in addition to the text on the pages. These changes are reflected in the current iteration of the Research page.

However, the most significant challenge I had was with using a plug-in that would allow me to tag media, to add specific tags to individual images. In the image metadata, there is no field to add tags, only captions and descriptions. If I want to give users an opportunity to see artifacts from across multiple family collections, I would need some way to give tags to media. Online research brought me to a plug-in called MediaTagger, which had some video tutorials and seemed to work the way I wanted. However, when I went into WP to search for this plug-in, it was not listed in the available plug-ins, and there was not a clear substitute from the plug-ins that were available. I spent a good bit of time trying to work with a plug-in called Media Library Assistant, which seemed to allow for tagging of media, but it seemed to be designed more for organizing media in the WP administrative section, to sort and group media uploads, without a clear way to add a tag search function to the site itself. I went back to the web and found that I could still download the plug-in from the community boards on, but it had not been updated for several years and might not be compatible with the new version of WP. I decided to try using it anyway, and found instructions for downloading the plug-in as a zip file and then upload and activate it on my site. At first, it was really not working at all, and I was about to give up, but I was able to do some additional research on the error message I was receiving. Apparently, the upgraded site I was using was automatically using a newer web publishing framework called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). To the best I can understand, this AMP technology was not compatible with the plug-in I wanted to use. I was able to do more research to find a way to disable the AMP function from the WP site, which seemed to make the plug-in run effectively as intended. The appearance of the tag search page is still not ideal, and I think the code is not working perfectly with the theme I am using as the appearance of the tag search is not visually as clean and modern looking as the rest of the site. However, the function is there even if the aesthetic is not ideal, which is another example of balancing the ideal vision with the practical realities of digital design.

Upgrading Site, Adding Functionality to the Search Page, and Tagging Media:

Follow-up on Curation Note 5 Next steps:  

  • Media tagging and search page functions
    • I was able to complete the tagging for images only and update the search functionality on the Research page. I was not able to tag audio files because the .wav file format is not supported by the MediaTagger plug-in.
  • Determine if it is possible to add cross-references between artifacts
    • With the upgrade, it is now possible to add links to descriptions. This would certainly make for a more interconnected site, and is something I would like to work toward. I would love to be able to connect the content to audio files, for example, but it is a way of adding archival depth that represent a significant investment of time where other aspects need prioritization.
    • There is another significant investment that could be done adding “related artifacts” on attachment pages, a way to jump from one artifact to the next—maybe a “view previous artifact” and “view next artifact” to go between accession numbers as well as embedding links to show similar content. I think these things are possible, but not necessary for a functioning site. It would be further ways of enhancing the arguments I want to make, to push users toward certain ways of understanding, and it is worth exploring.
  • Adding links to external sites with additional information about culture associated with the artifacts
    • Again, a more robust site with additional information about the culture is possible, and would help me achieve my overall goals of using the archive for cultural transmission and identity strengthening, but vetting sites and determining where to link out is another time-intensive task.
  • Add images of field notes to 2017.SOU.022 (Portuguese soup)
    • Completed. Added images to site and accession log.

Next Steps:

  • Edit and prepare audio files.
  • Determine how to display audio files in exhibit and load media files.
  • Tag audio files.
  • Transcribe audio files.
  • Continue developing interconnectivity in exhibit and external links.


  • Funding implications for digital work
  • Accomplishing and reaccomplishing as upgrades and changes have ripple effects
  • Instability of digital objects as technology advances and earlier versions lose support and code becomes obsolete or incompatible
  • Ideal function versus practical ability (ability of both site and designer knowledge)
  • Time investment
  • Layering functionality; needs versus imagination
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