Cardiff University wanted to be able to publish an online academic journal which could be fully searchable and browsable, without requiring HTML skills to maintain the content. They wanted an understated design which would be suitable to an academic journal and would allow the illustrations to come to the fore.
A dedicated content management system maintains information about authors, issues, sections, and articles (entered using FCKedit), so that the journal can be browsed through various routes.
The various pages of the journal are ‘template’ pages, where the template is filled with information held in the database (rather like a mail-merge), rather than separate HTML pages. This guarantees consistency across the journal – the template determines the formatting, rather than it being done separately for each page – and also means that all internal links are automatically generated, so there is no risk of ‘dead’ links.
Holding the journal in a database in this way also facilitates ‘smart’ search functions – restricting searches to certain types of information, and specifying date ranges – and, perhaps most importantly, enables the person managing the journal to avoid involvement with HTML formatting.
Also very important for the site was to have ways of viewing the images in high detail, without creating performance (or copyright) issues. For this, Zoomify is used to be able to view the images in great detail.
The site was developed with PHP + MySQL/PDO, and can be seen at www.jois.cf.ac.uk.