The CERES Exhibit Toolkit helps you securely store your digital collections and then create websites and curated exhibit pages using WordPress. This lets you create dynamic and customizable web pages based on digital objects securely stored in the DRS. By storing those digital objects in the DRS, CERES assures that the collections used in the exhibits, with all associated metadata, remain preserved and available to projects and end users in the future.
Use CERES to:

  • Preserve and publish long-term digital collections of primary source materials using Northeastern University Library’s Digital Repository Service, a secure digital archive
  • Explore and integrate other digital collections, like the Digital Public Library of America
  • Create long-term online research portals and exhibits that combine contextual scholarly narratives with special interactive features
  • Promote classroom assignments incorporating topics in archives, digital preservation, and the creation of online scholarship, where students contribute exhibits to a long-term cumulative space


How It Works

The Digital Repository Service (DRS) is a Fedora/Samvera (formerly Hydra) repository that publishes items and their metadata through an API. The Northeastern University Libraries created a specialized WordPress plugin that uses the API to pull digital objects from the DRS into WordPress. This creates dynamic displays where, as item metadata is updated or new items are added to the DRS, that new information is automatically pushed to the WordPress site.

Northeastern University Libraries also created a series of shortcodes, which are customizable chunks of PHP code within WordPress. These shortcodes provide a friendly, clickable interface that lets you not only select items from the DRS to display, but lets you arrange items in many different ways. You can embed pictures within a long text narrative, but also create more visual exhibits such as a rotating carousel, map, timeline, or Pinterest-style gallery.

These functions are pulled together through a customized WordPress theme that gives end-users many typical WordPress design options while giving DSG staff the standardization we need to ensure functionality in the future. To see this framework in action, see the CERES Toolkit section on our Active Projects page.


Documentation and User Guides

Most users find WordPress one of the easier website building systems to learn. While some projects do come to us with prior WordPress experience, the Toolkit is a custom implementation of WordPress that has special features.

We have built an extensive user guide that can help projects learn how to upload collections into the DRS, add good metadata, and then build exhibits in WordPress. We also suggest additional resources that projects commonly use.

  • Learn how to use the CERES Exhibit Toolkit. [ read more ]
  • See other resources for the CERES Exhibit Toolkit users. [ read more ]
  • Visit GitHub to view the CERES WordPress theme and plugin code.


Partner Projects

Through a yearly CFP process, we accept projects to act as pilots for new features for the CERES Exhibit Toolkit. Projects apply with new ideas for development, and we work with them to create new features that will then be usable by the entire CERES community. Through the help of these pilot projects, we expand toolkit customizations in a user-friendly way that benefits all projects. See a full list of participants on our Active Projects page.


CERES Exhibit Toolkit Contributors

Param Ajmera, DSG Research Assistant (Alum)
Kaley Bachelder, DSG Research Assistant
Megan Barney, DSG Research Assistant and Coordinator (Alum)
Lauren Bergnes Sell, DSG Research Assistant (Alum)
David Cliff, Senior Digital Library Developer
Colleen Curtis, DSG Research Assistant (Alum)
Dave DeCamp, NULab Fellow and DSG Research Assistant
Julia Flanders, Director, Digital Scholarship Group
Abbie Levesque, DSG Coordinator (Alum)
Jim McGrath, DSG Coordinator (Alum)
Patrick Murray-John, Associate Director for Systems, Digital Scholarship Group
Greg Palermo, NULab Fellow and DSG Research Assistant
Sarah Payne, NULab Fellow and DSG Research Assistant
Amanda Rust, Associate Director for Services, Digital Scholarship Group
Sarah Sweeney, Digital Repository Manager
Eli Zoller, Web Developer and Designer

The CERES map and timeline features were built and refined by Northeastern graduate students from the College of Computer Science:

Kartik Chanana
Aravind Chinta
Jorge Delgado
Attic Mujeeb Khan
Vrushal Kulkarni
Abhishek Kumar
Sridharan Mahendra
Dharam Maniar
Vishal Rao
Manoj Kumar Sanjana
Harshad Sathe
Nishant Ratnakar Shetty


About the Digital Repository Service

The Digital Repository Service (DRS) is a secure repository system designed to store and share the scholarly work from Northeastern University’s colleges, departments, faculty, and staff. The DRS was developed by Northeastern University Libraries as a tool for the University community to protect the valuable information and data that has been created as part of the University’s research and instructional mission. Because the DRS is built using Fedora, an open source repository system with a user-friendly API, objects stored in the DRS can be accessed and displayed using customized web-publishing tools, like Omeka, Drupal, or WordPress. Learn more about the DRS.

If you don’t think the CERES Exhibit Toolkit is right for your project, but you’re still interested in securely storing project files in the repository, contact